Properties promoting ‘live, work and play’ gain popularity in Singapore
Homebuyers want homes that they can customise to meet their multifaceted needs.
Hybrid working has changed the way Singaporeans are choosing their homes. Today, homebuyers in the Lion City are no longer looking for just “sanctuaries of rest,” but are searching for “hubs of productivity and recreation.”
“Buyers are increasingly drawn to properties that embody the ‘live, work, play’ ethos, where spaces seamlessly transform from workstations by day to leisure zones by night,” Wu Chin Whee, senior manager for Livethere Residential at Savills, told the Singapore Business Review.
Given the change in their lifestyles post-pandemic, Singaporeans also want to have an ability to customise their space, wanting homes that have expansive living areas, flexible spaces, and adaptable furniture.
Apart from flexible homes, Singaporean homebuyers also prefer developments that offer green spaces.
“Eco-friendly elements such as enhanced indoor air quality, natural lighting and green spaces are well sought-after [by homebuyers],” said Wu, adding that condominiums and HDB developments now have many sustainability features.
Wu said the preference for developments with green space was driven by the Singaporeans’ “heightened awareness of overall well-being and the tangible advantages that green spaces offer.”
“As this consciousness deepens, sustainable attributes are now basic elements many would expect in a property development,” he added.
Donald Lin, senior associate director at OrangeTee & Tie, had a similar observation, saying a lot of developers are already incorporating greeneries within their properties.
“This actually enhances the homeowners’ lifestyle from their hectic work life. They see things like a sky garden, terraces with lots of greenery. These are places where the children or even seniors can relax,” Lin, one of this year’s Real Estate Luminaries Under 40, said.
Homebuyers prefer being near the city, but they also want to enjoy the serenity offered by green landscapes, said Wu.
“Today’s property buyers in Singapore prioritise a balanced lifestyle in their property choices. They are drawn to the vibrant pulse of urban living,” said Wu.
“Properties near MRT stations, bus interchanges, shopping malls, F&B, and parks remain highly sought after. The proximity to good schools is also an important consideration for families aiming to provide the best educational opportunities for their children,” Wu added.
Lin echoed this sentiment, observing that a large number of homebuyers in Singapore are around 28 to 45 and are young families.
“[For] people within this category of demographics, their next concern is schools for their children so we see a lot of transactions in District 15 Katong and Dakota areas recently because there are many good schools there,” Lin said.
After location, Lin said, buyers look into how much privacy a development offers, citing LIV@MB as an example.
“LIV@MB has two towers of residential blocks whereby distances between the blocks are quite far away,” he said.
Features of a property is only one of the many factors that homebuyers consider when choosing a home.
Wu said homebuyers would check whether or not there is capital gain from the property, as well as good projections for the rental yield.
Prices, of course, are also a main consideration for buyers.
Wu said mass-market private residential properties in the Outside Central Region (OCR) typically range from $1m to $2m. In the Rest of Central Region (RCR), average prices of units can go from $1.5m to $3m.
Lin said price in relation to location also bears weight in the preference of homebuyers.
“We have recently seen a lot of transactions ongoing in the Core Central Region (CCR). Reason being there have been significant increments in pricing for the other regions such as the Rest of Central Region, whereas CCR has been maintaining relatively low [pricing] in the past 10 years,” Lin said.
“The current attitude towards buying that a lot of my clients have in mind is, ‘Since I’m paying this X amount, why not go for something more premium since the difference is not that higher between regions,’” he explained.
It’s noteworthy that buyers can expect more returns from properties in the CCR in terms of rental yield and capital appreciation.
As the real estate market becomes more competitive, Wu underscored that it will be important for agents, firms, and sellers in general to work on how they present their properties.
“Keep the property in immaculate condition and ensure it is decluttered to emphasise spaciousness. A freshly applied coat of neutral-toned paint can not only enhance the space, but also broaden its appeal to a diverse group of potential buyers,” he said.
He said sellers must also consider leveraging digital tools in property transactions.
“Investing in high-quality virtual tours and professional photography can elevate online listings, giving potential buyers an insight into the property from the comfort of their homes,” Wu said.
“Additionally, a well-produced video walk-through offers a dynamic and immersive experience. By maintaining the property in impeccable condition and effectively utilising technology, sellers can stand out in this competitive market, attracting the attention of potential buyers,” he added.
Wu said sellers must also partner with trusted agents to ensure credible listing.
“Many buyers highlight the challenge of fake listings on portals, making searches tedious. Partnering with a trusted agent simplifies this journey, ensuring a targeted property selection without the hassle of numerous agents or irrelevant listings. The agent’s expertise is vital in tailoring choices that meet the buyer’s needs,” he said.
For his part, Lin advised sellers to proceed to transact, instead of wait longer, when the price is at or slightly higher than market value, so that they do not lose out on opportunities for their next purchase.