Mature versus non-mature estate: Which is better for families?

BrandInsider
Jul 3, 2017

When evaluating a potential new home, numerous things come into play for families. For many, one overarching way of approaching the issue would be considering between mature and non-mature estates.

Here are some instances of how the two stack up:

Price

Certainly, homes in mature estates tend to be more expensive due to the availability of amenities in the vicinity. Prices of homes in such areas could be about 10 per cent to 15 per cent higher than their non-mature estate counterparts.

As these estates also tend to have more existing stock, new housing options in these areas are typically limited in quantity as well.

Where more affordable choices exist, they are often hard to get. For example, at the sales exercise for Build-To-Order flats that closed on May 24, four-room flats at Geylang’s Dakota Breeze project drew more than 3,100 applicants for about 670 units, or about five buyers for each unit.

As for executive condominiums, most are in newer estates. However, a select few are in mature estates – such as Hundred Palms Residences in Yio Chu Kang Road.

Lifestyle and amenities

On this note, homes in mature estates stand out. Such neighbourhoods would often be abundant in the following: shopping centres, Safra clubs, MRT stations, coffeeshops and eateries, wet markets and supermarkets, big parks, cycling and jogging tracks, schools and childcare options, as well as leisure options like sports halls/football pitches. This is because as the population in these areas developed over time, the Government saw fit to introduce these amenities. In contrast, many of the newer estates are much more lacking in this regard.

These amenities also make the area suitable for families of all ages. For instance, mature estates would often have more social and leisure options for elderly folk. Older or retired family members would enjoy congregating at community clubs for lessons or games during the week, or even just look forward to hanging out with friends at the local coffeeshops.

For working adults, shopping and dining options in the area would make it extremely convenient for them to secure household necessities or get dinner on the way home. Sports and leisure options in the area would also allow them to get in that morning workout, or work off the stresses of the day in the evenings.

For families with children, it goes without saying that the childcare or schooling options in the area would be much appreciated; in addition, the clubs and malls in the vicinity would provide them a plethora of enrichment as well as entertainment options.

Schools

It is of note that mature estates tend to have the more renowned schools. For example, the Hougang/Serangoon North area is home to Rosyth School and Xinmin Primary School. As the Singapore education system gets increasingly competitive, parents view it as all the more important for their young children to get a good foundation – and edges such as proximity to a good primary school certainly do not hurt.

Even post-primary, mature estates seem to have more of the share of the good schools. This is likely due to the same reasons as the abundance of amenities – these estates simply evolved first, with education options part and parcel of their development.

Potential for price appreciation

Prices of ECs in mature estates appreciate much more than those in non-mature estates, a study by OrangeTee last year revealed.

It found that while prices of ECs tend to catch up with condo prices following the five-year and 10-year marks (fulfilment of the Minimum Occupation Period and at privatisation respectively), projects that stood out as particularly profitable were three – Bishan Loft, The Dew and Nuovo. These are in Bishan, Bukit Batok and Ang Mo Kio – all mature estates. They recorded estimated gains of about 166 per cent, 123 per cent and 120 per cent respectively, upon privatisation.

At the end of the day, housing values are about location, location, location. One need not worry about the difference between 99-year leasehold and freehold properties, for example, if the location is good – a developer would always be willing to pay to top up the lease for a choice en bloc site. Given the better amenities offered by a mature estate then, the evidence does seem to be in favour of opting for one.