Valentine’s Day is coming, which means it’s the BTO season again! This February 2020, the Housing Development Board (HDB) has announced some 3,020 build-to-order (BTO) flats to be launched in 2 areas: Sembawang and Toa Payoh.
The two are quite different: Sembawang is a quiet, non-mature estate. Prices are low because there isn’t much around yet — everything is still “under construction”.
In contrast, Toa Payoh is a bustling, mature estate. Prices are relatively expensive because it’s super convenient — there are wet markets, minimarts and other amenities at every turn.
Taking into account your budget and lifestyle, which should you pick?
HDB BTO launch Feb 2020 overview
Here’s an overview of the 2 HDB BTO launches for Feb 2020:
|Sembawang BTO, Canberra Vista||Toa Payoh BTO, Toa Payoh Ridge & Kim Keat Ripples|
|Price (2-room Flexi)||$89,000 to $141,000||$90,000 to $184,000|
|Price (3-room)||$117,000 to $210,000||$351,000 to $446,000|
|Price (4-room)||$272,000 to $320,000||$395,000 to $666,000|
|Price (5-room)||$350,000 to $406,000||–|
|Price (3Gen)||$355,000 to $411,000||–|
|New flats available||1,620||1,400|
|Flat types||2-room Flexi, 3-room, 4-room, 5-room and 3Gen||2-room Flexi, 3-room and 4-room|
|Nearest MRT station||Canberra MRT||Caldecott MRT, Braddell MRT and Toa Payoh MRT|
Note: The application deadline is 17 Feb 2020, 11.59pm. You can apply on the HDB website here.
Let’s start with Sembawang, the young, non-mature estate that holds a lot of promise. The government has announced many developments that are to be completed within this decade, which could make Sembawang a great place to live in.
Sembawang is known for being one of the cheaper, more affordable areas in Singapore, but without the crazy reputation of its next-door neighbour (sorry, Yishun).
For this Sembawang launch, Canberra Vista, there are also all 5 flat types (2-room Flexi, 3-room, 4-room, 5-room and 3Gen) for you to choose from.
And then there’s Toa Payoh, which I expect to be the more popular of the two.
Generally, Toa Payoh wins on all fronts, except for price. It’s in a good location (central Singapore) and is super convenient with many nearby amenities, but $666,000 for a 4-room flat is nuts.
This launch is split into 2 plots of land – off Toa Payoh Rise and off Toa Payoh East. The first one (Toa Payoh Ridge) is near Caldecott and Braddell MRT, while the second one (Kim Keat Ripples) is about 1.4km from Toa Payoh MRT.
For Toa Payoh, there are no 5-room and 3Gen flats.
Sembawang Feb 2020 BTO — Canberra Vista
|Canberra Vista (Sembawang BTO) fact sheet|
|Official HDB map||Download the Canberra Vista map here|
|Road name||Canberra Drive, Canberra Link|
|Unit mix||2-room Flexi, 3-room, 4-room, 5-room and 3Gen|
|Nearest MRT||Canberra MRT (750m), Sembawang (1.5km)|
|Nearest major supermarket||Giant Hypermart at Sembawang Shopping Centre (1km), NTUC Fairprice at Sun Plaza (1.7km)|
|Nearest shopping malls||Sembawang Shopping Centre, Sun Plaza|
|Nearby schools||Sembawang Primary School, Canberra Primary School, Canberra Secondary School, Wellington Primary School, Endeavour Primary School|
|Nearby amenities||Sembawang Public Library (1.7km), Canberra Community Club (1.5km)|
Okay, we all know that Sembawang isn’t the sexiest residential district out there… but there’s no doubt that it’s slowly gaining popularity. Many young couples and families are starting to see lucrative investment potential in Sembawang, particularly the Canberra area.
That’s because of the upcoming developments in the area, like Canberra MRT station, Canberra Plaza, Sembawang Hot Springs Park, Bukit Canberra sports and community hub and the North-South Corridor expressway. Many of these are still under construction, but most of them are expected to be up by this year (except the North-South Corridor, which will be ready by 2026).
Because these developments are still new, the new Canberra Vista BTO prices remain quite affordable. You can get a 4-room flat from just $272,000, which is great. If you get the biggest 3Gen unit, it’ll only cost $411,000, which is even cheaper than most 5-room flats elsewhere.
All that considered, the February 2020 Sembawang BTO launch seems quite an attractive one. Especially since the new flats will be just a stone’s throw away from Canberra MRT and Plaza, making it relatively accessible.
If you find the Canberra amenities insufficient (since they’re newly opened), you can head to the main Sembawang central, where Sembawang MRT, Sun Plaza, Sembawang bus interchange and the Sembawang Public Library are. It’s only 1.7km away, which is a 3 minute drive or 20-minute walk. You can probably also take a feeder bus ride if you’re lazy.
To go downtown or the central business district, it’s 29 minutes from Canberra to Orchard MRT and 38 minutes to Raffles Place MRT.
For those who drive, Sembawang is currently still inaccessible. The nearest expressway will eventually be the North-South Corridor, but until that’s up in 2026, you’ll have to make do with SLE, which is almost 9km (14 minutes) away via Sembawang Road.
Toa Payoh Feb 2020 BTO — Toa Payoh Ridge & Kim Keat Ripples
|Toa Payoh Ridge & Kim Keat Ripples (Toa Payoh BTO) fact sheet|
|Official HDB map||Download the Toa Payoh BTO map here|
|Road name||Toa Payoh Rise (920 units) and Kim Keat Ave (700 units)|
|Unit mix||2-room Flexi, 3-room and 4-room|
|Nearest MRT||Toa Payoh Rise: Caldecott MRT (500m), Braddell MRT (600m)
Kim Keat Ave: Toa Payoh MRT (1.4km)
|Nearest major supermarket||Toa Payoh Rise: NTUC Fairprice at Toa Payoh Lor 4 (1km)
Kim Keat Ave: Giant Supermarket at Kim Keat Ave (70m)
|Nearest shopping malls||Toa Payoh Hub|
|Nearby schools||CHIJ Toa Payoh, Raffles Girls’ School, Marymount Convent and St Andrew’s Junior College|
|Nearby amenities||Polyclinic, SAFRA Toa Payoh, Toa Payoh Swimming Complex, Stadium and Sports Hall|
As mentioned above, this Toa Payoh BTO launch is split into 2 plots of land: off Toa Payoh Rise and Toa Payoh East, near Kim Keat Avenue. Price-wise, it’s a whopping $351,ooo to $446,000 for 3-room / $395,000 to $666,000 for 4-room.
That makes Toa Payoh quite a premium choice, a “luxury” BTO of sort. So if you’re just looking for a roof over your head, you may not want to pay this much. Additionally, there are no 5-room and 3Gen units, so small families only.
Both of the locations are pretty solid choices, but depending on what amenities you prefer, you may find one “better”.
Personally, I prefer Toa Payoh Ridge — it’s right next to Caldecott MRT and Braddell MRT, so you have access to both the circle and north-south (circle) MRT lines. It’s also a little quieter than the crowded Toa Payoh Central, which I like.
Additionally, it’s near to the Thomson / Marymount area, where there’s a lot of good food (24-hour prata, anyone?).
But perhaps the most notable thing about this location are the good schools located nearby: there’s CHIJ Toa Payoh, Raffles Girls’ School and Marymount Convent. This is a huge deal not just for those planning for their families — “branded” schools within a 2km radius can boost your property value significantly.
The blocks at Kim Keat Ripples are a little less convenient, but still good when compared to other BTO launches. To be honest, I’m quite surprised that HDB managed to squeeze out that much in the already-crowded Toa Payoh.
It’s opposite the polyclinic, and 1.4km from the nearest MRT (Toa Payoh). That’s right about near enough to be convenient, and far enough for some peace and quiet. The map shows that it’ll be near several Chinese temples and a proposed church too, but that’s TBC for now.
Do note that because Toa Payoh is literally hot property, I expect this one to be extremely over-subscribed. Only apply if you’re prepared this “waste” this cycle and wait for the next one if you don’t get a ballot number.
February 2020 BTO launch comparison — Sembawang or Toa Payoh?
Like I said, the 2 launches are dramatically different, and will appeal to very different kinds of home buyers. Here’s a quick rundown of their individual merits, and who they’re the most suitable for:
Sembawang BTO (Canberra Vista)
|February 2020 BTO launch overview — Sembawang|
|Affordable, good investment potential||Relatively inaccessible|
|Less competitive||Developments still under construction|
|Choice of all flat types|
Young couples and families on a budget will appreciate this Sembawang BTO. If you prefer to live in a quiet estate (like I do), then this is also a good choice (it’s far less “happening” than Toa Payoh).
Toa Payoh BTO (Toa Payoh Ridge & Kim Keat Ave)
|February 2020 BTO launch overview — Toa Payoh|
|Near many elite schools||Very expensive|
|Probably good resale value||Very competitive|
|Very accessible||Relatively crowded estate|
|Many nearby amenities and malls||No 5-room and 3Gen flats|
This is perfect for families who are looking to upgrade, and thus have a slightly bigger budget. Most young couples may find this launch expensive, but if you can afford it, it is definitely worth a shot.
There are also no 5-room and 3Gen flats, so it may be a squeeze for big families.
Which February 2020 BTO launch do you think is better and why? Tell us in the comments below.