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Where to live? US family with 2 small children

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Where to live? US family with 2 small children

Post by kc13 » Mon, 01 Feb 2016 1:40 am

First, I offer a thank you to everyone who contributes to this forum. I have tried to read as much as I can to help me get a grasp on Singapore before I move here in a few months, but it is still a daunting task. My sincere apologies if I have missed information that may be useful in my search, and thank you in advance for pointing me in the right direction.

I am moving to Singapore this summer with my wife and two kids (5 and almost 3). We are both early 40's and live in a large city now. Currently, we live in a 4-bedroom townhouse outside of our downtown area. We are used to city life and activity, but our area is relatively quiet all things considering. We enjoy having markets, parks and activities for the kids very close, and would strongly prefer to remain closer to the action. For the four of us, we have about 2,000 square feet. We would like to stay close to that same size, but realize that something may have to give and that we may not get everything we are accustomed to. My current commute is about 20 minutes via public transportation, and about 10 minutes via Uber on the days when I am feeling impatient. We are comfortable with and used to public transportation, and plan on giving up having a car. My office is in the Suntec City area, and I would like to keep my commute under 45 minutes.

Our budget is between S$5,000 and $7,000 per month. My employer will likely fund most of this, but we will likely need to contribute as we get to the top end our range.

We are looking for a 3-5 bedroom, preferably with a pool (although that does not seem to be a problem). We are not sure if we need an extra bedroom for potential live-in childcare help. We have also given thought to having an extra bedroom for the many people who have said they would like to visit, although we are currently leaning against that and instead will utilize one or both of the kids' rooms for that purpose.

Ideally, I would like to keep my commute under 45 minutes, and live near a MRT station (although my commute does not need to be on the MRT. The desire to live near a station is to keep options open for my wife and kids to see and do as much as they can.

Equally daunting to us is the choice of schools. Our children have been in montessori, but we are not necessarily wed to remaining in montessori if a great educational opportunity for our children exists. Thus far, the schools which interest us are:

• Dulwich College
• ISS International
• House on the Hill Montessori
• Chatsworth International
• Dover Court
• Avondale Grammar
• Sir Manasseh Meyer Family
• Rosemary Hall Montessori
• Brighton Montessori
• Tanglin Trust
• International Community

As this is a two year assignment initially, our hope is to keep the kids in the same school for the next two years, and keep their commute to under 15 minutes if at all possible. We also would like to live near a market. Living in close proximity to a doctor is less of a priority if we are able to get the rest of our priorities taken care of.

We are considering, but leaning against bringing our dog. We think it might be easier on him to have him stay with family in the States. This decision is built a bit on presumptions about living in Singapore. He can be a bit loud (he is part beagle), which is fine for our neighborhood but may not be for some of the ones we are considering.

We have begun to search, and below are some of the places which have caught our attention:

• The Interlace
• UE Square
• Newton Gems
• The Riverine by the Park
• Central Green

I should add that I am also visiting our office in Singapore this week, so would also appreciate any advice on places and things I should see in person while here.

I greatly welcome any advice, guidance or feedback on our preliminary thoughts. Similarly, please let me know if I've missed the mark in any of my thinking. I hope that I have provided ample information for you to help guide us on our journey. If not, or if there is anything else I can share which may help you answer my inquiries, please do not hesitate.

Many thanks again.


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Re: Where to live? US family with 2 small children

Post by michellell » Tue, 02 Feb 2016 3:40 pm

I can share some thoughts as I currently live in one of the condos you listed (Riverine) and also work in the Suntec area. Keep in mind that I've only been in Singapore for 3 years and some of my observations could be wrong. First of all, not many condos that gives 2000sf of living space for a 4 bedroom. The square footage advertised on the property sites includes balcony space, and some could be quite misleading. Some bedrooms could be very small too - may not fit a US queen size bed. Also the distance to MRT station advertised on . can be misleading. Best thing to do is to see it yourself when you are in town.

As regards to Riverine, it is a nice condo with all the standard condo facilities (gym, pool), also has private elevator which I find quite convenient. You should be able to get a 4 bedroom here within your budget as the rental market is slow now. Each condo does come with a maid room (really a storage room) and a tiny bathroom for maid. Depending on which side your condo is on, the view is fantastic - you can see the new stadium, Kallang River, Marina Bay, Singapore Flyer, Suntec etc. It's easy for public transportation with 2 bus stations within 5 min walk, and 2 MRT stations within 10 min walk where you can also find super markets and eateries. Both of the MRT are on the green line, which could be a downside depending on where you want to go. The condo is a bit "lonely" in Singapore standard - it's next to the river and the park all by itself. The residents in the building are probably a third or half Caucasian. Due to the proximity to Geylang, some consider the surrounding area unsafe at night. However I think the "unsafe" in Singapore standard is relatively safe in US standard. :) For you to go to work from Riverine, you can take the bus or MRT -it's a shorter walk to the bus station, but you'll have to walk from Beach Road cross a bridge to get into Suntec. Fastest way with the MRT will be getting off at City Hall (3 or 4 stops depending on you get on at lavender or Kallang) and walk the underground passage to Suntec. Both will require 5-10 min walking and takes about the same amount of time (I'd say 30 min max). The green line could be quite crowded in the morning though if you hit the rush hour.

Suntec is a very accessible location so transportation won't be a problem for you wherever you choose to live. There are also restaurants, shops, supermarkets, movie theatre right in Suntec City Mall and the connecting Marina Square Mall.

Hope I answered some of your questions.

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Re: Where to live? US family with 2 small children

Post by zzm9980 » Tue, 02 Feb 2016 4:54 pm

Look at the East Coast. Areas such as Marine Parade, Tanjong Katong, Joo Chiat. I live in this general area, work next to Suntec, and my commute is about 15-20 minutes by bus. Multiple routes from that area all go to Suntec in the same amount of time (routes 10,14,16,196, and more).

East coast is also relatively quiet for Singapore (but still less than you'll be used to), has a large number of local markets, shopping malls, parks, and most importantly, the beach which is one giant park.

My place is 1400sqft and I pay about half your max budget. However, about 4-500 of that is two private outdoor decks, so the inside feels much smaller. Based on that, I think your budget will allow something that big assuming you can find it. Most units will be a lot smaller.

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Re: Where to live? US family with 2 small children

Post by RedRidingHood » Wed, 03 Feb 2016 10:20 pm

I would suggest looking at condos along the downtown line eg: The Sterling, Maplewoods etc. it takes 20 minutes or so on downtown line to suntec city and these places are near to good schools such as Dover, Tanglin and many more at turf city. They are also near to holland village for your wife, and along the old railway line - lots of greenery and walking paths. These places are also cheaper than those nearer to the city.

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