Singaporeans to pay premium price for waterfront public housing

By Hasnita A Majid, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 19 March 2007 2137 hrs

SINGAPORE : Singaporeans are expected to pay a premium price for waterfront public housing in future.

Under the PUB's Active, Beautiful, Clean (ABC) Waters Programme, Singapore's waterways will be developed to bring people closer to the water.

But property agents say the private property market may not be too affected by the change.

Punggol resident Koh Lin Wei can expect more than just a quiet walk along the Punggol River in the near future.

With a proposed floating wetland area, a community club and sports hub, and a fruit park on the opposite bank, the area is expected to be bustling with activities.

"As a new estate, we have hardly any activities for us here. So with this new build up, I think it's a very good idea. I personally enjoy water sports so I'm looking forward to more activities. And of course with a growing family, I hope to have more activities for the children rather than just for teenagers and adults," says Punggol resident Koh Lin Wei.

Also waiting eagerly for the development is undergrad Ma Kwun Kit, a dragon boat enthusiast.

"Every Sunday, I used to travel to Kallang for dragon boating but if they start to have dragon boating here, I can come here for training instead of Kallang," says Ma, also a Punggol resident.

Residents can give their feedback to the PUB on the transformation they'd like to see, as the waterways near their homes are developed under the ABC Waters Programme.

This effort will not only beautify the area, but likely raise their property profile also.

"I do admit that waterfront housing comes with a premium price. For example in our neighbouring countries, it's the rich who stay by the rivers, waterways and ocean. If we have this now in Singapore, I would expect the prices of these properties to be higher than properties in areas not fronting the waterfronts," says Chris Koh, director of Dennis Wee Properties.

But he says private property like condominiums will still be popular, as buyers also go for the prestige which comes with private housing.

And there's also the question of location.

"There are some people today who buy for the views but at the same time, they buy because it's near their work, schools, parents. So, location still plays a vital part," says Koh.

He says it is a good move by the government as it gives residents a variety of housing options. - CNA /ls