By KK Tong (guest contributor)
Should you buy a condominium, or a landed property? When shopping for private property, buyers may well be torn between these two choices. In Singapore, landed housing is deemed more “elite” as statistics from 2016 show that there are only 75,603 units of landed housing as compared to 301,674 units of non-landed housing. This scarcity of landed homes may attract buyers who deem that landed housing is more exclusive.
However, while landed homes may exude exclusivity, they lack the recreational facilities found in condominiums, such as swimming pools, tennis courts, and gymnasiums. Additionally, condominiums also offer security, unlike standalone landed units.
However, all is not lost for buyers who want both – landed exclusivity as well as recreational amenities.
The solution? Cluster housing
Cluster housing is like a hybrid – it is a group of landed homes sharing facilities like swimming pools and gymnasiums within the development. However, unlike landed units, cluster houses come with a strata title.
As with any type of housing, there are some advantages to living in cluster developments. Besides having security and recreational facilities, the maintenance and upkeep is taken care of by the managing agent, and owners just need to pay a monthly maintenance fee. This takes the hassle out of maintaining the common areas. Dedicated parking, usually for two cars, is also one of the advantages of living in a cluster development. Buyers will not have to battle with their neighbours for roadside parking spaces.
With these advantages, it is not surprising that cluster homes are becoming the accommodation of choice for some buyers.
So what are the possible cluster developments that buyers can consider? For value buys, we will be looking at cluster homes in the districts of 16 to 28 as these are areas in the OCR and hopefully will not cost an arm and leg for buyers. Another criteria included is that these properties should be in the price range of $1.5m to $2m.
Cluster Developments for Comparison
Shortlisted developments we will compare are Kew Green, Horizon Green, The Shaugnessy and Cabana.
Development #1 –Kew Green
Located at Kew Crescent in District 16,Kew Green was completed in 1998 by Far East Organisation.
Figure 1: Kew Green
Development #2 –Horizon Green
Horizon Green was developed by Allgreen Properties. It is located in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 2 and was completed in 2004.
Figure 2: Horizon Green
Development #3 – The Shaughnessy
This is another Allgreen project completed in 2006. Its location is at Miltonia Close in District 27.
Figure 3: The Shaughnessy
Development #4 – Cabana
Cabana was completed in 2015 by Bullion Holdings. It is located at Sunrise Terrace in District 28.
Figure 4: Cabana
Comparing the Cluster Developments
In comparing the developments, we assume that buyers of cluster houses are usually families with school-going children, so having schools nearby is a plus point. As the sizes of these houses are similar, there is no obvious advantage for any one development.In terms of facilities within the community, Kew Green and The Shaughnessy have slightly more than the other two developments. For all four developments, the MRTstation is not within walking distance.
In terms of age, Cabana has the longest lease left, but its major disadvantage is the lack of nearby schools.
Looking at the average PSF prices, there is quite a large disparity, with Kew Green being the most costly, and The Shaughnessy having the lowest prices.
Except forthe district these developments are located at, they are otherwise similar in terms of facilities and surrounding amenities. However, I will rule out Cabana as there are no schools in the vicinity for families. I will probably also rule out Kew Green as the quantum price for an average 3000 sf unit will be about $1.956m. For the same reason, Horizon Green will not be my choice either as it will set me back by $1.73m.
Thus, for value, I will go for The Shaughnessy, simply because the smallest 3,283 sf unit can be had for (just!) $1.405m.