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Neighbourhood Estate Guide: Will Sengkang Be The Next Supertown In 2030?

Meet Sengkang, Singapore’s newest GRC.


We bring a series of Neighbourhood Round-up articles to showcase each town for its charm and attractiveness as a place to work, live and play. In this article, we highlight Sengkang New Town.

In its short 25 years of development as a town, Sengkang has been fraught with complaints over the lack of childcare centres and communal spaces. Is there a turnaround to this situation given the verdict from the 2020 General Elections saw the newly formed Sengkang GRC “hammered” blue for the next five years?

What does the future hold for Sengkang and its residents?

 

History

Sengkang takes its roots from an area once called Kangkar and was the harbour for a fishing village along Sungei Serangoon during the early 20th century. In Chinese, Sengkang means “prosperous harbour” whereas in Malay, it means “to choke or block”. From the mid-20th century, the area was mainly used for rubber, pepper and pineapple plantation and was largely left undeveloped till the early 90s.

Sengkang New Town started to take shape in 1994, as it was carved into seven subzones. The subzones are Anchorvale, Compassvale, Fernvale, Sengkang Town Centre, Rivervale, Sengkang West and Lorong Halus North.  The town was planned with the intention to house over 96,000 private and public housing units. Based on the 2018 figures, around 67,115 HDB units have been constructed; and, with roughly 240,000 people residing in Sengkang, makes it the fourth largest town in Singapore by dwelling size.

 

Business Activity

More high-tech jobs will be created closer to home at Sengkang West via the wafer fabrication industry. With the phased development of the Sengkang West Industrial Park, there will be more jobs and opportunities created for residents in the North East region. It will also create a pool of potentially high-skilled tenants for the homeowners in the area.

Next, we have the Seletar Aerospace Park, an integrated aerospace industrial park built around the Seletar Airport. It supports a vibrant aerospace industry cluster of over 60 Multi-National Companies (MNCs) and local aerospace enterprises. These MNCs and local enterprises employ over 6,000 professionals. The Seletar Aerospace Park is within a 30-minute bus ride and half that journey time via driving from Sengkang Bus Interchange, making Sengkang an attractive choice for housing amongst these professionals. More jobs are expected to be created with further developments within the Aerospace Park, together with the operation of the civilian terminal which can handle up to 700,000 passengers a year.

The other major project that is expected to create more jobs closer to home in Sengkang, is the Punggol Digital District. When ready from 2023, it is expected to create over 28,000 digital economy jobs in the fields of cyber security, data analytics, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IOT). The Punggol Digital District will incorporate a business park, the Singapore Institute of Technology’s new campus as well as community facilities. This could bode well for the young demographic of Sengkang jobseekers as they make the transition to the future economy.

Accessibility

Apart from the feeder bus services, residents at Sengkang have an alternative mode of travel around the town via the Sengkang Light Rapid Transit (LRT). It consists of 14 stations linking the East and West sides of the neighbourhood to the Sengkang MRT and Bus Interchange.

Furthermore, the Sengkang MRT station which is part of the North East Line (NEL), connects to six other MRT interchanges. They are Serangoon (Circle Line), Little India (Downtown Line), Dhoby Ghaut (North South and Circle Line), Chinatown (Downtown Line), Outram Park (East West Line) and Harbourfront (Circle Line). Furthermore, residents are also able to reach Orchard Road and other central areas within a 45-minute train ride for work, school and play.

The town of Sengkang is next to the Tampines Expressway (TPE), making it easily accessible for motorists to get in and out of the town via several arterial roads such as the Sengkang East Road, Punggol Road and also via the Sengkang East Drive.

In October 2017, a new bus service 110 was introduced for the residents at Compassvale and Anchorvale, connecting them to the Sengkang Sports Complex, Sengkang General Hospital, and more importantly, to all four Terminals at the Changi Airport. As the Changi Aviation Hub gets further developed, this could provide a demand catalyst for property prices in Sengkang to rise; If not, it will still be advantageous for the residents looking to work and play at the Changi Airport.

Housing

Let us now look at the affordability and the investment potential on the housing in Sengkang.

We shall first compare the affordability of public (HDB) housing in Sengkang. We can do this by looking at the median prices achieved for 1st Quarter 2020 at Sengkang compared across all towns in Singapore.

Table 1: HDB Resale Housing Price

HDB Resale Housing Price
Location 3 – room 4 – room 5 – room Executive
Sengkang Median Price 340,000 425,000 480,000 565,000
Median Price Range For All Towns In Singapore

(1st Qtr 2020)

225,000

– 380,000

335,000

– 703,000

405,000

– 817,500

528,000

– 850,000

 

Chart 2: HDB Resale HeatMap for Sengkang

Source

From the above Table 1 & Chart 2, we have the following observations about the HDB prices in Sengkang: –

  1. The prices for 3 – room HDB flats in Sengkang are gravitating towards the higher range of the median prices in Singapore. This could be due to factors such as the flats being newer as compared to 3-room HDB flats in other areas.
  2. Whereas, the prices of 4 – room, 5 – room and Executive apartments are relatively closer to the lower range of the median prices in Singapore.
  3. Based on the HeatMap, the prices in Compassvale are the highest based on a per square foot price basis. This is followed by, Fernvale, Anchorvale, Sengkang Town Centre and finally, with Rivervale being the cheapest location in Sengkang.

Therefore, we can see that the HDB prices in Sengkang do present an affordable option for those looking for 4 – room or bigger flats, given that the prices are closer to the lower spectrum of the median price range and also considering the relatively longer lease remaining compared to other mature towns.

Next, we shall look at the prices of private properties (excluding executive condominiums) in Sengkang.

Chart 3: HeatMap for Private Property Prices in Sengkang

Source

From the HeatMap, we can observe the prices for condominiums are within the green zone of the price range, making it comparatively more affordable to own a condominium in Sengkang.

Similar to our observations from the HDB HeatMap, the median prices for private properties also follow the same price pattern with Compassvale being the relatively more expensive subzone in Sengkang at $1386 (psf) and followed by Fernvale ($1,265 psf), Anchorvale ($1,007 psf), Sengkang Town Centre ($1,085 psf) and finally Rivervale at $825 psf.

For those, looking at private condominiums, Sengkang does offer a lower entry of purchase.

Finally, we shall look at the increasingly popular housing option (Executive Condominiums) amongst Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs)

Chart 4: HeatMap for Executive Condominiums in Sengkang

Source

Based on the HeatMap on Chart 4, we can see the median psf prices are no longer in the green zone at Sengkang. Moreover, median psf prices in Compassvale and Anchorvale are in the upper range of prices for executive condominiums. With the zone of Rivervale, currently recording the lowest psf prices in Sengkang.

Unlike the HDBs and Condominiums, buying an Executive Condominium in Sengkang might not offer the best bang for your buck right now.

Education

“A good education is the stepping stone to wealth” – Helen Keller.

In a young estate such as Sengkang, the town is predominately made up of young families. It was estimated in 2019, that around 26% of the 244,000 population in Sengkang were under the age of 19 years old. Furthermore, the age group of 30 – 49 years old represented around 36% of the overall population.

Given this young demographic, options for learning institutions would be a big priority for the residents. In total, there are 6 Kindergarten, 12 Primary schools and 6 Secondary schools.  We have tabled the list of the institutions and their locations for easy reference.

MOE Kindergarten
No Name of School Location
1 MOE Kindergarten @ Anchor Green 31 Anchorvale Drive
2 MOE Kindergarten @ Fern Green 70 Fernvale Link
3 MOE Kindergarten @ Fernvale 1 Fernvale Lane
4 MOE Kindergarten @ North Vista 20 Compassvale Link
5 MOE Kindergarten @ Sengkang Green 15 Fernvale Road
6 MOE Kindergarten @ Springdale 71 Anchorvale Link

 

Due to the demand for certain primary schools, priority is given to Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents living within 1km – 2km, with those living closer to the school given a higher priority. For parents with young children, the decision on the address of their home, may be influenced as to which school they would like to enrol their children. Hence, we provide the list of primary schools with their locations as well for easy reference. Do note ranking below is based on how competitive it is to get into the school and not necessarily how good the school is.

MOE Primary School
No Name of School Location Ranking
1 Anchor Green Primary School 31 Anchorvale Drive 162
2 Compassvale Primary School 21 Compassvale St 154
3 Fern Green Primary School 70 Fernvale Link 172
4 Fernvale Primary School 1 Fernvale Lane 143
5 Nan Chiau Primary School 50 Anchorvale Link 110
6 North Spring Primary School 1 Rivervale Street 144
7 North Vista Primary School 20 Compassvale Link 168
8 Palm View Primary School 150 Compassvale Bow 151
9 Rivervale Primary School 80 Rivervale Drive 121
10 Seng Kang Primary School 21 Compassvale Walk 178
11 Sengkang Green Primary School 15 Fernvale Road 50
12 Springdale Primary School 71 Anchorvale Link 91
*Ranking is based on (2019) Phase 2B remaining places out of the total 185 primary schools

Source

Finally, we also table the list of Secondary schools that are in Sengkang. As entry to a secondary school is decided by the student’s PSLE cut-off point, the decision to be located near a secondary school can only be for the convenience of commute.

MOE Secondary School
No Name of School Location Ranking
1 CHIJ St. Joseph’s Convent 62 Sengkang East Way 44
2 Compassvale Secondary School 51 Compassvale Crescent 88
3 Nan Chiau High School 20 Anchorvale Link 31
4 North Vista Secondary School 11 Rivervale Link 90
5 Pei Hwa Secondary School 21 Fernvale Link 73
6 Seng Kang Secondary School 10 Compassvale Lane 105
*Ranking is based on PSLE Cut off points for 2019 intake.

Source

Recreation

Now let’s look at how you can spend your time doing recreational activities in Sengkang.

The biggest shopping mall in Sengkang is Compass One. Apart from the common dining and shopping options, Compass One also contains many enrichment centres and houses the Sengkang Public Library within its premises. Other than the Compass One mall, there are other smaller neighbourhood malls such as Rivervale Mall and the Rivervale Plaza, which is also part of a wet market, the only one in Sengkang.

Aside from the mentioned mall and plazas, residents can also head down to the Punggol Waterway Point, Seletar mall and the upcoming Sengkang Grand mall, all of which are within a 10-minute drive or a short train ride away.

For nature lovers, they can enjoy the flora and fauna at Sengkang Riverside Park and Sengkang floating wetland. Occupying over 2,400 square metres, the floating wetland is the largest man-made floating wetland in Singapore and it’s great for bird watching and to observe (occasionally) the family of otters. Furthermore, it is a good place to exercise in the 21-hectare park where there are running and cycling facilities.

For more indoor based activities, one can enjoy a splashing time at the Sengkang Sports Centres with its four swimming pools including a sheltered pool and five water slides. There is also an ActiveSG Gym, which is popular amongst the residents. Furthermore, with a world-class hockey stadium next to the Sports Centre, residents can also enjoy watching the hockey league games live.

Master Plan 2019 To Concept Plan 2030

Next, we shall look at some of the proposed plans under the Master Plan 2019 for Sengkang.

Some of the plans that were slated under the Master Plan 2019 for Sengkang town had been completed as at the time of writing.

These includes plans such as the Oval@Seletar Aerospace Park, where 13 colonial bungalows have been refurbished into a family and lifestyle destination combining heritage charm and verdant greenery. There are multiple Instagram-able locations including the garden domes at the Summerhouse, Camper van at the Wheeler’s estate and the playground at Oval, to name a few. Not only is this a place for a quiet and romantic venue for dining, there is also a heritage trail and cycling routes to explore Seletar’s rich history and unique scenery.

Another project in the master plan that has been completed in 2018 is the Sengkang General Hospital (SKH) and the Sengkang Community Hospital (SKCH). With the opening of the SKH Campus, a total of 1,400 beds are added to the national healthcare capacity. The integration of SKH and SKCH within a single campus allows patients to receive a “one care plan, one patient experience”, with seamless transition of care from initial diagnosis and treatment to rehabilitative care. This enhances the access of the residents staying in the northeast, to quality healthcare services.

For young families, there had been a growing concern on the bottleneck for places at childcare centres. To alleviate the issue, four new large childcare centres offering spaces for roughly 2,000 children will be opened by 2020. With the opening of these new centres, the residents at Sengkang will have more quality and affordable infant care and childcare options. These centres are located at Fernvale Community Park, Along Rivervale Crescent, along Sengkang Central and along Fernvale lane.

In a bid to boost the retail space at Sengkang, the upcoming Buangkok integrated development (Sengkang Grand Residences & Grand Mall) that is expected to be built by 2023, will be the first of its kind to integrate the Buangkok MRT station, a bus interchange, a community club, hawker centre, childcare centre, community plaza and a retail mall. This will create more communal space and vibrancy to the area. Furthermore, residents will also have more affordable dining and shopping options.

Finally, as part of the Greater Rustic Coast project, a 50km Coast to Coast trail linking a belt of parks, beaches and nature attractions that stretches from Lim Chu Kang, will connect to Seletar and Sengkang all the way to Changi. This will add to the leisure activities the residents can partake in, safely.

 

Election Promises

With the conclusion of the 2020 General Elections, the Ministry of National Development (MND) issued a statement on the formation of the Sengkang Town Council with the creation of the Sengkang GRC.

Additionally, as part of the Worker’s Party election pledge for Sengkang, they promised to push for more neighbourhood shops and spaces and to create more dedicated paths for bicycles and PMD. Furthermore, they also intend to relieve the bottlenecks in childcare centres, by having more childcare centres in Sengkang. As there are no firm plans on how this will be done, any such development undertaken by the Worker’s Party will be an addition for the residents.

 

Summary

Criteria Ratings Remarks
Pedigree  Average A relatively benign history as a fishing harbour and plantation area.

Though it is a new town with around 25 years in the making, it will see further development as more amenities and lifestyle destinations are added in the coming years ahead.

Accessibility Very Good Quick and affordable public transportation is available in the form of rail transportation that links residents to their neighbourhoods and to other key commercial nodes in other towns. Residents are also able to connect to the major expressways enabling quick and easy connectivity to other parts of the town.
Affordability Good In terms of public housing, the median HDB prices in Sengkang for 4RM and above are closer to the lower range of overall HDB median prices but also offer a long remaining lease.  Private condominiums in Sengkang also offer good value as the prices are still within a lower PSF price.
Schools Above Average There had been a shortage of childcare centres for a long time, however, by 2020, over 2,000 more places will be added to alleviate the bottleneck issues. There are currently a good number of primary and secondary schools within the town.
Recreation Good There is a Sports complex and many parks and cycling trails built around the town as part of the rail corridor, making it easy and safe to engage in leisure activities. Moreover, more shopping malls and plazas are being added within a short travelling distance that will give residents more affordable dining and shopping options.
Investment Potential Very Good There are multiple major economic projects under development near Sengkang, such as the Sengkang West – Wafer Fab, Punggol Digital District and the Seletar Aerospace. These opportunities will create a growing demand for housing in Sengkang as the workers would prefer to stay nearby. Moreover, it can also lead to an increase in demand for rental spaces benefiting homeowners.

 

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