New to Singapore, where to live?

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kmnyny
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New to Singapore, where to live?

Post by kmnyny » Sun, 03 Apr 2016 9:27 pm

Hi all
My husband and I recently moved to Singapore and starting the apartment hunt. We are having some challenges landing on a neighborhood.

Priorities:
Budget: SGD 3,000-3,500
Workplace: Raffles Place
Size and/or type of property:
- 600 sq. ft 1-bedroom (or small 2-bedroom) apartment
- Modern condo (although not too large) is preferred. Considering older building but not preferred
- Gym/Pool: required
Car: No
Proximity to transport: Would like to have a maximum 25-minute commute to work (prefer MRT and not bus)
Children: No.
Employer funding: No (paying out-of-pocket)

Nice to have:
Proximity to shops etc: Preference for being close (walking distance) to wet market, supermarket, hawker center. Bonus if there are shops, restaurants and coffee shops.
Access to sport, social, and recreation facilities: We are looking for a mixed neighborhood: locals/HDBs, condos, small apartments, old/new. Older residents mixed with new. New restaurants and shops mixed in with old. We don't need sport/recreation facilities.
Pets: No
Parents/in-laws etc: No

Your current home and commute:
City-dweller?: We are currently city-dwellers and like it but not a deal breaker if the area is quieter.
Current home: Approx. 640 sq. ft 1-bedroom apartment in New York
Current commute times: approx. 30 minutes by subway

The challenge we're facing is that when we find a nice apartment, the area is quite homogeneous. We are looking in Tiong Bahru (our fav neighborhood) but the only condo we kind of like is at a very old condo (Central Green). The apartment is slightly updated but the condo is on the older side. Does any one have any experience with Central Green?

We also are looking at Outram Park but new condos are not very close to MRT, Newton/Novena which is convenient but not diverse and there is not much else in the neighborhood except the condo.

Are we missing any other neighborhoods we should be looking at?

Thank you for all your help.

Singapore Property Search

 

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Re: New to Singapore, where to live?

Post by BBCWatcher » Sun, 03 Apr 2016 11:42 pm

Take a look to see whether the Downtown Line works for your commute (to Downtown MRT station, for example). If so, you could live near Little India MRT station. Parc Mackenzie would be an example of a condo development near that station, and your budget fits. There's definitely a lot to explore in that area.

The area around Lavender MRT station might also fit the bill. Citylights and Southbank are near the station, as examples, and should be within your budget.

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Re: New to Singapore, where to live?

Post by JR8 » Mon, 04 Apr 2016 3:31 am

Just as a placeholder until I've more time later.
Say 20mins on the MRT to Raffles Place casts a pretty wide net. On the NS line Braddell (19m/8 stops) to the north... not many options to the south of Raffles Place, Marina Bay is 'tumbleweed central' for me.
To the west on the EW line, out to Buena Vista (19mins/7 stops). To the east Eunos 18m/7 stops).

That's a lot of options in between and with zero line changes.
[Timing from here...> http://mrt.sg/fare]
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Re: New to Singapore, where to live?

Post by kmnyny » Mon, 04 Apr 2016 7:09 am

Thanks for the responses! Yes, 20 mins does give a lot of options based on purely commute time but we're looking for a more diverse area and much of the options within the 20 mins seem to be more homogeneous. For example, we looked at buena vista and felt it was not a very interesting area but we haven't looked at Braddell and will check that out. Oh, sorry, my 25 minute commute time includes any walking (I have a 5 min. walk after landing at Raffles Place).

I will look around LIttle India. We looked at City Lights but it was too big of a development and we didn't really like all the traffic/highway around Lavender but we will look deeper.

I know, we are quite picky and maybe our expectations can't be met in Singapore but appreciate all your help/suggestions.

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Re: New to Singapore, where to live?

Post by JR8 » Mon, 04 Apr 2016 7:48 am

Maybe you need to define 'diverse'. As IMO even the new arrival who decides they don't want to get into the D10/Holland Village 'wealth' ghetto will find such 'ghettoes' elsewhere. Little India - self-explanatory. And the rest of the country seems to be Chinese dominated.
So if you are in search of 'The Real Singapore', I'm not sure if such exists in a single neighbourhood. It's such a tiny place anyway. Race is an ever-present issue, and they make no bones about it. That'll likely be a surprise if you're from the US. Perhaps Educated/successful vs lessor-educated/poorer is the greater divide. But on your housing budget (quite decent, and you'll certainly happily find what you're after I'm sure) perhaps be wary of trying to go more native than you might find you can end up tolerating after a while. It's a nuanced line I realise...

Those journey times were at the limits, so that defines a large range with everything inside it (of course). And apparently rents are coming down, so the options should be even broader for you...
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Re: New to Singapore, where to live?

Post by BBCWatcher » Mon, 04 Apr 2016 9:08 am

The area around Paya Lebar is fairly "diverse." On the weekends (Sundays in particular) it's a big, mostly Indonesian foreign domestic worker party in/near City Plaza, with many young men mostly from India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh chasing those women. It's the most Malaysian Singaporean area, although there's a big Chinese Singaporean population, too. Joo Chiat is Singapore's first conservation district, and it has lots of "hobby shops" that come and go. There's a lot of construction near the station (so more to come), two big open hawker markets (and a Food Junction inside One KM), two big and modern shopping malls, lots of HDB units and little playgrounds, lots of supermarkets, mosques, etc., etc.

In that area the condos/apartments above One KM are in a good, central spot for tapping into that diversity and within your budget -- and far enough away from the current construction, especially if you're not facing it. The walk to the station (Circle Line entrance in particular, connected indoors to the East-West Line) isn't too far, and you've got a Cold Storage in the basement with a Fairprice not too far away.

By the way, why the opposition to a bus ride to/from work? If you're looking for diversity, you're not going to see it inside a train tunnel -- and the tunnel starts between Kallang and Lavender MRT stations on the East-West Line. (The Lavender and Little India suggestions are all tunnel routes to/from work near Raffles Place/Downtown.) I have a choice, and invariably I choose the bus. It's generally easier to get a seat, and I actually get to see a bit of the world.

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Re: New to Singapore, where to live?

Post by maneo » Mon, 04 Apr 2016 10:58 am

BBCWatcher wrote:Take a look to see whether the Downtown Line works for your commute (to Downtown MRT station, for example).
The Downtown Station on the Downtown line is a 5-7 minute walk underground from Raffles Place.
So, you can include some of the condоs along the Downtown line in the search.

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Re: New to Singapore, where to live?

Post by maneo » Mon, 04 Apr 2016 11:39 am

For some newer condоs near the Stevens MRT station, you could consider 3 Balmoral or Cyan.
This area should be more diverse than Tanglin/Holland Village.

If you can handle a couple of MRT line changes, The Foresta@Mt. Faber or Skyline near the Telok Blangah station might be suitable.

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Re: New to Singapore, where to live?

Post by kmnyny » Mon, 04 Apr 2016 11:49 pm

Hi all

Thank you for all your responses. Very helpful.

Re: defining diverse. We didn't mean racial diversity when we said "diversity" (although that's ok if the area is also racially diverse). As we mentioned, we were looking for a mix of new and old HDBs, low rises and condos. We wanted old shops and cafes mixed with new (yes, some would say hipster) which is why Tiong Bahru was high on the list. So it's less about going "local" or finding the "real Singapore" and more about a desire for a less homogeneous neighbourhood in every respect. This is what we're used to and like the variety to match our mood so maybe that's something to let go of since we're no longer in NYC.

And re: bus. Maybe it's because I come from New York but the bus is the worst way to commute there. When I'm commuting, my whole objective is to get to work as fast and efficient as possible. Yes, I agree it's a way to see life but that isn't the mode I'm in when I need to get to work. Maybe the buses are fine here? I'll have to check that out since that opens up so many options. Hoping the bus works for me.

Thanks again to all. I'll look into some of these suggestions

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Re: New to Singapore, where to live?

Post by JR8 » Tue, 05 Apr 2016 3:08 am

Ok, got it, I think :)

Re: Tiong Bahru I came upon this FWIW -> http://travel.cnn.com/singapore/life/ti ... od-980850/

Something with a similar style (IME) might be Joo Chiat 1/2-way out up the east coast. Probably a slightly longer MRT journey, but I haven't specifically x-checked that, but the same kind of mixed neighbourhood and 'hipster'/mixed scene and some good one-off eateries and bars. And up JC way would feel less ultra-urban, more light and space, and closer to the beach and coastal walks etc.

I remember in NYC/NJ how buses were considered for... those who couldn't afford more comfortable means. It's not like that in SG, it's more about practicality. If a bus is faster than MRT it's worth considering. Esp so if an MRT commute would involve long walks or connections.
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Re: New to Singapore, where to live?

Post by x9200 » Tue, 05 Apr 2016 3:32 am

maneo wrote:For some newer condоs near the Stevens MRT station, you could consider 3 Balmoral or Cyan.
This area should be more diverse than Tanglin/Holland Village.
Actually Holland Village area is amazingly diverse. You have there very old and brand new HDBs, quite streets with restaurants and eating centres swarming with tourist. Busy streets and just steps away huge areas packed with landed properties, very quiet and very impressive if you realise their size (really big) and the distance from the city center. There are large green areas nearby including Botanical Gardens, and popular among expats places like Dempsey Hill.

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Re: New to Singapore, where to live?

Post by kmnyny » Thu, 07 Apr 2016 8:29 am

Thanks all for your suggestions. We're exploring many of the suggested areas and I'm hopeful we'll find a place soon.

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Re: New to Singapore, where to live?

Post by maneo » Sat, 09 Apr 2016 9:15 am

x9200 wrote:
maneo wrote:For some newer condоs near the Stevens MRT station, you could consider 3 Balmoral or Cyan.
This area should be more diverse than Tanglin/Holland Village.
Actually Holland Village area is amazingly diverse. You have there very old and brand new HDBs, quite streets with restaurants and eating centres swarming with tourist. Busy streets and just steps away huge areas packed with landed properties, very quiet and very impressive if you realise their size (really big) and the distance from the city center. There are large green areas nearby including Botanical Gardens, and popular among expats places like Dempsey Hill.
With the definition of "diverse" being "mix of new and old HDBs, low rises and condоs," I would have to agree.

Tiong Bahru and Joo Chiat have also become quite vibrant.
Lots to choose from - good luck with the search.

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