When it comes to real estate, you’ll often hear that towns in the core central region (CCR) and rest of central region (RCR) offer better investment opportunities than towns in the outside central region (OCR) due to their accessibility to amenities and major nodes of employment.
It comes as no surprise that prime estates like Bishan, Clementi, and Queenstown are also among the most expensive housing estates in Singapore. Despite the lower price tag, some towns in OCR, particularly Jurong West in Singapore’s far-flung west, are no slouch in terms of investment potential. In fact, the prices of HDB resale flats in Jurong West saw strong growth (3RM: 27%; 4RM: 20%; 5RM: 18%) from 2021 to 2022.
Despite the setback of the failed Kuala Lumpur–Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, the self-sufficient satellite town of Jurong West is currently undergoing major transformation as the largest business district outside the central region. This is a rare chance for young homebuyers to get a piece of Jurong West’s long-term vision and growth, which could even outpace the growth in existing prime estates.
History – A Blue Collar Town Built As The Manufacturing Hub Of Singapore
Before its development as a housing town in the 1970s, the Jurong area was a mangrove swamp with some plantation farms, including fish and prawn ponds, and crocodile-infested rivers.
In the early 1960s, it was earmarked as Singapore’s first industrial estate based on the recommendations of the United Nations Industrial Survey Team. Chosen for its vastly state-owned undeveloped land and for its deep coastal waters, the Economic Development Board (EDB) and subsequently the Jurong Town Corporation (JTC) oversaw the development of the estate with investments totalling $178 million in fixed assets and the creation of over 6,500 jobs by 1967.
To attract labour for the industrial estate, JTC initially developed around 10,000 units of flats at Taman Jurong by 1975. Another housing hub, at Boon Lay, previously known as Peng Kang, was also developed in the 1980s.
With the formation of the Housing Development Board (HDB), Jurong West was further developed as a housing town by craving out 9 subzones: Boon Lay, Chin Bee, Hong Kah, Jurong West Central, Kian Teck, Safti, Taman Jurong, Wenya, and Yunnan. It is currently home to over 250,000 residents and more than 75,000 HDB flats.
Business Activity – The Future Second CBD Of Singapore
The West remains as relevant today as it was initially envisioned in the 1960s. As the country’s largest manufacturing hub, it contributes around 20% or over $100 billion of the country’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs over half a million workers.
By 2050, the town’s importance as an economic hub will be fully realised with the growth of three new employment areas – Jurong Lake District (JLD), Jurong Innovation District (JID), and Tuas Port.
Source: Jurong Lake District
Jurong Lake District
The Jurong Lake District (JLD) is expected to be the largest business district outside of the Central area in the next two decades. The 360-hectare site will have flexi-use sites interspersed with business parks.
Given its proximity to other major employment nodes like Tuas Port and One-North, including Singapore’s top two universities, it could be a hub for businesses keen on cutting-edge R&D and those that provide business and professional service to the maritime and high-value industries.
By 2040 to 2050, it’s expected that JLD will provide 100,000 new employment opportunities and 20,000 new homes.
Jurong Innovation District
The Jurong Innovation District (JID) is planned as an advanced manufacturing industrial district that will be home to a manufacturing ecosystem of R&D centres, technology partners, training providers, and Factories of the future.
Companies such as SATS Food Hub, Siemens, Shimano, Bosch Rexroth, and A*STAR have setup a base at the 620-hectare site, and eventually, the JID will provide over 95,000 new jobs.
Singapore’s consolidated container port activities at Tuas Port leverage advanced automation and more efficient processes, enabling them to handle 65 million TEUs when fully operational by 2040. This is more than double the volume of 37.5 million TEUs handled in 2021. There will also be 66 berths spanning 26 kilometres capable of handling the largest container ships.
Accessibility – Better Rail Connectivity Coming Soon
Jurong West is accessible by both rail (the East-West Line consists of four stations – Lakeside, Boon Lay, Pioneer, and Joo Koon) and two major expressways: the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) and the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE).
Residents can also look forward to the Jurong Regional Line (JRL), Singapore’s seventh MRT line. When fully completed by 2029, it will not only improve connectivity to other towns such as Choa Chu Kang and Tengah in the west but also put 60,000 more households in Jurong within a 10-minute walk from a train station.
The Jurong Lake District will also be accessible via the Cross Island Line (CRL) in addition to the JRL. This will connect residents to major employment nodes like the Punggol Digital District and Changi Airport and education hubs in the West and Central regions under 45 minutes.
Source: Jurong Lake District
Housing – Among The Cheapest HDB Towns, But For How Long?
Housing in Jurong West is generally seen as more affordable than other housing estates, as they were mainly intended for workers at the Jurong industrial area. Amenities are also few and far between, with lesser connectivity to other parts of the island, making them less attractive to the majority of the population.
As such, Jurong West ranks among the cheapest estates based on the median HDB prices for each of the different flat types. This bodes well for budget-minded home buyers. Another selling point is the size of the HDB flats in Jurong West, which are slightly bigger for the older flat types. Despite its categorisation as a non-mature town, many flats were built in the 1970s and 1980s that are generally larger in size, including the highly coveted multi-generation flats.
|Median Resale HDB Prices|
Source: HDB Resale Statistics Q4-2022
For the more affluent homebuyers, Jurong West also offers a choice between executive condominiums and private condominiums that are relatively cheaper in Price per Square Foot (PSF) than other estates.
|Yunnan||Taman Jurong||Boon Lay Place|
|$961 PSF||$1,165 PSF||$802 PSF|
|Yunnan||Taman Jurong||Hong Kah|
|$1,155 PSF||$1,246 PSF||$1,401 PSF|
Source: EdgeProp (Based on transactions from Jan 2022 – Jan 2023)
With Jurong West set to undergo major rejuvenation and transformation, more Singaporeans may be attracted to work, live, and play here. Current and future homebuyers could see better capital appreciation and rental demand once these major projects are completed in the next two decades.
It could also be a catalyst for the redevelopment of older housing developments (both HDB and Private), with selected residents benefiting from SERS or enbloc in the future.
Education – Home To NTU
Despite its label as an industrial town, there are plenty of learning institutions sited at Jurong West. For young parents, having access to Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDCs), also commonly referred to as kindergartens and primary schools, would be a top priority. In this regard, Jurong West provides ample options. There are four kindergartens, along with 11 primary schools, 10 secondary schools, and the prestigious Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
Here is a list of the MOE schools in Jurong West.
|Name of Kindergarten||Location|
|MOE Kindergarten@ Frontier||20 Jurong West Street 61, S648200|
|MOE Kindergarten@ Jurong West||30 Jurong West Street 61, S648368|
|MOE Kindergarten @ Shuqun||8 Jurong West Street 51, S649332|
|MOE Kindergarten @ Westwood||1 Jurong West Street 73, S649188|
|MOE Primary School|
|Name of School||Location|
|Boon Lay Garden Primary School||20 Boon Lay Drive, S649930|
|Corporation Primary School||31 Jurong West Street 24, S648347|
|Frontier Primary School||20 Jurong West Street 61, S648200|
|Jurong West Primary School||30 Jurong West Street 61, S648368|
|Lakeside Primary School||161 Corporation Walk, S618310|
|Pioneer Primary School*||31 Jurong West Street 91, S649037|
|Rulang Primary School||6 Jurong West Street 52, S649295|
|Shuqun Primary School||8 Jurong West Street 51, S649332|
|West Grove Primary School||1 Jurong West Street 72, S649223|
|Westwood Primary School||1 Jurong West Street 73, S649188|
|Xingnan Primary School||5 Jurong West Street 91, S649036|
|*Will be relocated to Tengah area. No admission for P1 Registration from 2021 to 2024.|
|MOE Secondary School|
|Name of School||Location|
|Boon Lay Secondary School||11 Jurong West Street 65, S648354|
|Fuhua Secondary School||5 Jurong West Street 41, S649410|
|Hua Yi Secondary School||60 Jurong West Street 42, S649371|
|Jurong Secondary School||31 Yuan Ching Road, S618652|
|Jurong West Secondary School||61 Jurong West Street 65, S648348|
|Juying Secondary School||33 Jurong West Street 91, S649038|
|River Valley High School (Secondary)||6 Boon Lay Avenue, S649961|
|Westwood Secondary School||11 Jurong West Street 25, S648350|
|Yuan Ching Secondary School||103 Yuan Ching Road, S618654|
|Yuhua Secondary School||35 Jurong West Street 41, S649406|
|Name of School||Location|
|Nanyang Technological University||50 Nanyang Avenue, S639798|
Recreation – A Nature Lover’s Haven
Even though the Jurong Bird Park, which has long been one of the mainstay attractions at Jurong West, will be relocated to Mandai, the town still offers residents a mix of both nature and modern recreational facilities that rival any other town in Singapore.
For instance, residents can also enjoy the lush lakefront greenery and native fauna at Jurong Lake District (JLD), which will have over 100 hectares of park and greenery and a 70 hectare lake with more than 10 km of active waterfront, besides the many other neighbourhood parks.
Residents can also look forward to attractions like the Jurong Lake Gardens, the redeveloped Chinese and Japanese Gardens by 2023/2024, and the new Science Centre by 2027. There are also plans to build a first-of-its-kind integrated Tourism Development at JLD that will make it a lively and vibrant town in the years to come.
|Pedigree||Average||It was built in the 1960s to be Singapore’s main manufacturing hub, and its importance has not waned over the years.|
|Accessibility||Average||Currently, connectivity to other parts of the island may not be desirable. However, with JRL and CRL, public transportation access to other key hubs will improve.|
|Affordability||Good||It ranks among the cheapest housing estates across all HDB flat types (at least for now).|
|Schools||Good||There are sufficient school options across the various levels for school-going children, including NTU, which could be a catchment pool for student tenants.|
|Recreation||Good||A town for nature lovers, Jurong West has various parks and offers fun activities for those who like outdoor activities.|
|Investment Potential||Very Good||Unlike other towns in Singapore, Jurong West has one of the best growth catalysts due to the large investments to build economic activity at JLD, JID, and Tuas Port and improve accessibility through the JRL and CRL. These investments would raise the profile of Jurong West as a town to live, work, and play.|
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