Friday, November 19, 2010

Choosing Fernvale HDB over Esparina

This post is in response to sgbluechip's post on Esparina

For me, I'm eligible for the Esparina. In fact, it's right behind my parents' HDB. So I probably know that area very very well.

While I blogged a little bit about the Esparina before, I decide not to go with it in the end. The reasons:

1) Price. A 5-rm HDB costing $326k at Fernvale is much cheaper. Not only is it cheaper, it is also bigger. The price per square foot is lower.

2) Location. The Fernvale HDB I paid an option fee for is also walking distance to the Jalan Kayu eating belt. It is also near a 24 hrs NTUC supermarket and Koufu eating place. While it is not near any MRT, it is just beside Fernvale LRT, which connects to SengKang MRT. A bus stop distance away is the Greenwich mall that is being built currently. For drivers, the place is just beside TPE, very near to CTE and SLE.

3) HDB restrictions. Buying an EC entails the usual HDB restrictions. All restrictions are gone only after 10 years. With this consideration, I would think a HDB is more worth it.

4) Facilities. Anchorvale swimming pool and gym are just beside this HDB. A new and big shopping mall is in the planning documents just 5 mins walk away, although I don't think it will be built anytime soon.

5) Potential Rental. Greenwich is being touted as a good investment by the property agents because it is near the upcoming Seletar air base, and hence will be easily rented out in the future. Well, this HDB is 2 bus stops nearer. While it might not be as luxurious as the Greenwich Condominiums, all it means is that if ever I were to rent it out (3 yrs to build + 5 years Minimum Occupation Period = total 8 years later), it would be cheaper.

Also, I went with this Fernvale HDB over the Punggol WaterFront because
1) I don't believe in the waterfront. To me, it's just a marketing gimmick, and it might not even succeed. If the river isn't done up properly, mosquitoes and probably a stench will linger around that area.

2) Punggol is nearer to the sea. With the upcoming seletar air base, if any planes were to fly over, it would fly over Punggol, or so I thought.

3) While it is very near Punggol MRT, it is still on the far end of Singapore. Not like Fernvale is any better though, but Fernvale is still very near to 3 major expressways.
The above are my little considerations

The above are my small thoughts and considerations in choosing Fernvale HDB over any executive condominimum. On top of that, I would probably need the extra money (savings) to fund some of my ideas, be it successful a not.


  1. my opinion is based solely on your description of fernvale (not aware of the details of esparina). my significant other stays at the begonia mimosa area which is at the other end of jalan kayu, close to greenwich. because of the expressway expansion programme, they cut off a lot of trees that initially lined the expressway, leading to the private estates off the expressway (about 250 to 300m away at least, based on the map on gothere.sg) to be quite noisy due to the motor activity on the expressway. i would say that the noise at fernvale would be worse... i understand that soundproofing materials will be used for some projects where they are very near high motor activity roads and expressways, but such materials are only useful to a certain extent for flats located on the lower levels and not for the high level flats.

  2. Hi Raelynn,

    Thanks for leaving your input! My girl stay nearer to Greenwich too, just beside. Begonia Mimosa is not very near the HDB where I chose. While it is near to the expressways, it's still sufficiently far away not to hear the cars.

    The block I chose is near to the Esso station, and faces Fernvale LRT. I expect it to be rather quiet.

  3. i know where that is. i think its ok. The koufu sucks really. and you don't get to be Drizzt's neighbour lol

    Investment Moats.com

  4. Haha Drizzt. That koufu is ok la, I eat there quite often.

    But more often than not, I spend a lot on food elsewhere to eat with my gf. We spend on food rather than on overseas tours :)

  5. I had a similar experience in 2000. To buy an EC or to buy a HDB 5 room flat. Didn't have enough money to buy the EC then but still bought it by borrowing about 10k from my mother. Think the 5 rm punggol flat has gone from 270+k to 400+ k, cannot recall which block now. The EC has gone from 450k to 750k. Overall, if can afford and plan to have kids, the EC may be a better choice for own stay since the kids will love the pool.

  6. Hi financialray,

    While that is true, a 5-rm HDB cost $325k while an EC cost $750k. The absolute appreciation of an EC could probably be more than that of a HDB, but percentage would probably be about the same.

    That said, the psf price of a condo is usually so much higher than a landed property. If I have the $$, I would probably think of a terrace first.

    I can afford the EC at the moment, but I would rather use the extra cash to try out some ideas at the moment :)

  7. Hmm, well property seems to be pretty highly priced these days. $650 to $700 psf seems to be the norm these days, which really worries me. Either it means that we have reached a permanently high plateau (a.k.a. this time it's different!) or everyone is earning much more than before. And I mean way more......haha

    Oh well, just some Saturday rambling, you are free to ignore me. :)

  8. If you have the extra cash, put it in property, be it EC or terrace, as you are buying to stay. Over time, a property will turn out to be a surprisingly good investment. A landed property for own stay is definitely a wise decision over the long term. My wife and I however prefer to have security of a condo as we are the paranoid type.Also kids just love the pool which is so convenient if u live in a condo.If eligible for EC and qualify for grant, even better. Your EC will be privatised after 10 years, so price is only up, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

  9. Hi JW,

    I am pretty sure affordability is not an issue for you. All the factors are personal preferences but end of the day is what quality of life you seek and money should be secondary in that aspect. I recall you had written a short article on being a millionaire scrooge and from the way you are calculating every decision, i can't help but to think you delayed gratification is kinda overdone here.


  10. Hi MW,

    I believe this is due to the recent rate of population explosion from people immigrating into Singapore.

    However, as time goes on, there's a limit to how many newcomers we can allow. Add on to the rate of which condos are coming up all the way to 2013, I foresee a downward pressure on the prices of condos in time to come, perhaps about 5 years.

  11. Hi financialray,

    I guess my current strategy is to have a cheap HDB to fall back on should I fail in my endeavours :)

    My cash and networth position is still too small to take on the huge commitment required by an EC at the moment. :(

  12. Hi City Blues,

    Thanks for commenting. Affordability is still an issue. A monthly loan repayment of probably at least $1.5k for the EC will still be rather tough to swallow.

    I have to take into account my "riskier" plans; I can't afford to have a big liability before I have start my publishing, or eventually, a tuition centre, or something different.

    My eventual aim is still a landed property, but I want to try something before that. Taking baby steps at a time.

  13. Good luck to you, my friend. If you are successful with your tuition centre, count me in as an investor. See your point of view now. Good to have HDB as a first property too. Sure to go up too. You have to work hard in your own business.

  14. Hi financialray,

    thanks! I have a few ideas that I will be starting as soon as next month. :)

  15. The HDB is a good first step towards becoming a landlord :)

    The usual upgrade path for most people... HDB owner -> HDB landlord plus Condo owner. HDB rent will subsidize the Condo installment.

    BUT HDB location is important .. Have your done a profile of who the renters for your HDB will be? ;)

  16. Hi Wealth Journey,

    I looked far ahead. Expecting pple working in the future Seletar air base, if any.


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