Renting in Singapore, Buying in Singapore, General

Jurong: How it’s shaping up to become Singapore’s 2nd CBD

January 10, 2016
It was only recently that Jurong received a lot of attention

It was only recently that Jurong received a lot of attention

Of all the areas in Singapore, Jurong is probably the one undergoing the most dramatic changes. The URA master plan highlights the sheer amount of government dollars being poured into this place, as part of a critical infrastructure plan. That’s good news to property buyers who are getting in on the ground floor, snapping up properties there before they skyrocket:

A brief summary of the area

For a large part of Singapore’s history, the eastern side of the island (Katong, Marine Parade, Tampines, etc.) has been considered an affluent area. Back in the 1800s, it was the place for our rich colonial masters and their seaside villas. From the 1950s onward, it was associated with wealthy expatriate enclaves and Singapore’s growing upper middle class.

By contrast, areas in the west, such as Jurong, were more working class.

It was – and still is – the industrial heart of Singapore. It’s home to flatted factories and chemical and power plants, and residences there originally catered to the workers in these industries. Right up till the 1980’s, there the property was considered “cheap” to buy and live in. It wasn’t glamorous, and amenities were sparse.

But over time, It’s undeveloped spaces gave rise to something you’ll struggle to find in central or eastern Singapore: park land.

The Jurong Bird Park, Chinese Garden, and fantastic views of the Jurong Lake district contrast sharply with the glass and concrete landscape that dominates most of Singapore.

Then around 2008, it was transformed by announcements in the URA master plan.

The Jurong Gateway

The URA master plan aims to develop the area into two parts: the Jurong Gateway, and Jurong Lake.

Jurong Lake is a lifestyle hub; like us on Facebook and we’ll give you the rundown on that in a later part of this series. For now, we’re focusing on the Jurong Gateway.

The Jurong Gateway is an area of 70 hectares, centralised around the Jurong East MRT station. It is intended to be nothing less than a second business district, to complement the existing Central Business District (CBD.) The URA has announced it will be the biggest commercial hub outside the city centre.

This is a critical infrastructure issue: at present, the amount of traffic moving to and from the CBD may not be sustainable, given a rising population.

There’s significant pressure on the train service, as there’s a massive rush of people crowding into the CBD all at the same time. It’s a miracle if the trains don’t break down.

In order to make Jurong Gateway a viable alternative, it is being built up with half a million square metres of office space, 250,000 square metres of retail space, and hotels that will provide easy access to places like Jurong Bird Park.

This has seen a rush of property buyers into the Jurong area. And as, it wasn’t previously a hotspot, many of its existing properties are considered undervalued, in light of the amenities being built.

Key highlights of the Jurong Gateway are:

  • A cluster of major malls
  • Expectations of rising capital gains and rental income
  • Establishment of the High Speed Railway
  1. A cluster of major malls

Jurong Gateway and the connected Jurong Lake have access to several major malls, including JEM, IMM, and Westgate.

While Orchard continues to dominate with luxury goods, these malls are home to most major retail chains. Unless they regularly shop at Luis Vuitton or Patek Phillipe, most Jurong residents never have to go to town to buy what they want.

It also means it is far less “dead” than its old image would suggest, and as the population builds up we can expect the malls to see a growing range of tenants.

  1. Expectations of rising capital gains and rental income

This is true for both commercial and residential properties. The writing is on the wall: the government is pumping money in to encourage businesses, retail, and a new hotel zone to create a tourist hotspot.

One of the first residential developments in Jurong Gateway, the creatively titled J Gateway, sold out in record time in 2013.

For estimates on prices and rental yield, check out the listings on 99.co. We can put you in touch with people who know the specific property you’re referring to.

Even if you don’t like the area as a place to live, there’s no denying that it’s one of the more solid investment choices right now.

  1. Establishment of the High Speed Railway

The High Speed Railway (HSR) is a project to connect Singapore and Johor via a special train service. Completion is expected to come in 2022.

The HSR will provide easy access to Malaysia for Jurong residents, and it will be of especial interest to Malaysians who work in Singapore (of vice versa.) While it’s still a long way off, the HSR is expected to give surrounding properties a big boost in value once complete.

Overall, it allows investors a chance to get in on the ground floor.

The quiet, sleepy image of Jurong is about to vanish, and fast. Investors are already seizing the property with long term plans, and more Singaporeans are taking the idea of an “alternative CBD” seriously. Expect to see the next big property rushes coming from this end of the island, especially when cooling measures are lifted.

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