In today’s short-attention-span world with many different things vying for your attention, those who want to stand out have to resort to certain “tactics.”
So if a real estate ad wants to grab the attention of real estate hunters like me, the words “fire sale” or “undervalued” should do the trick. (Unfortunately, they are rarely justified as they tend to be used indiscriminately!)
Another phrase that catches the eye is “one of the cheapest areas of land ownership in Singapore” which first caught my attention to the teacher housing estate and led me to walk early one morning. weekdays to visit the houses.
(Note: The houses here – a total of 256 according to 1968 records – are a mix of freehold and 999-year leaseholds – almost as good as the freehold, dating from 1885.)
The first word that comes to my mind once I walk into the teachers’ housing estate is “extended” (or “extensive.” On a larger scale here, from the greater distance between the houses to the houses themselves. .
The roads are so wide that they seem more spacious than many prime areas of Bukit Timah (think Mount Sinai) and even some areas of the GCB that I have visited.
While the teachers’ subdivision only includes townhouses, these terraces are larger than some semi-detached houses I have seen! (Inter-decks are approximately 1,600 to 1,800 square feet while corner decks are larger at 2,000 square feet +.) To get a feel for yourself, you can watch this YouTube video that i found someone driving the estate.
When visiting MacPherson Garden Estate, I could immediately understand why it was often on the list of the cheapest freehold landowners in Singapore (many houses require a significant amount of work and / or are small in size. – some less than 1000 square feet and barely wider than my arm span!) but with the teachers’ subdivision it was different.
Although I could see that most of the houses are old – they still have the original architecture (and therefore may not have maximized their plot ratios). But they don’t look run down, and the grounds are both comfortable and popular.
(In fact, 2 reviews on Google indicate that a lot of “rich” people live in the Teachers’ Housing – I’m not sure why this is relevant to a Google review, but it’s not a comment I would have expected from ‘a neighborhood that frequently makes the list of the cheapest freehold real estate in Singapore!)
Because the house is built on a slope, one side of the basement opens onto the garden (or yard), allowing light to flood the house.
It also allows a 2nd entrance to the house to be built, which is perfect for multigenerational families: different generations can come and go (or receive guests) as they please, while preserving their privacy.
No need to explain to your parents why you are dating again when you have been past the threshold of adulthood a long time ago. (Or vice versa, elderly parents can go out more often to have kopi with friends without overly worried kids keeping them too much.)
If you don’t need that much space, the house’s “semi-detached” structure also allows it to be a double-key property and rent out either the lower or upper part. (Personally, I would prefer to live on the top floor, as upstairs neighbors can be noisy, especially if they have young children.)
The area is very old school and charming: it reminds me a bit of the area of Sembawang Beach which I visited some time ago and fell in love with. It is true that there is no sea or beach here (no fumes from industrial Malaysia) but there is a lot of open green land, a huge playground, and a nice, quiet setting.
(The Teachers’ Subdivision is about a 20-minute walk from the Lower Pierce Reservoir, which is perfect for nature lovers.)
Also, the ride here was much, much shorter, so living here would definitely be a lot more convenient than near Sembawang Beach!
It was also a very easy drive from central Singapore – straight roads and little traffic despite the rush hour. I can see myself living here.
As I was touring the Teachers’ Housing Estate, it seemed to me that one thing I really struggle with about apartments in Singapore (besides being crammed like sardines) is compliance.
Due to the rules of the estate, apartments can be quite simple (you need – and you might not get – permission to change your doors, windows, build your own roof terrace, etc. )
Land houses, on the other hand, allow you the freedom to truly express yourself and build a home that not only suits your lifestyle but that you love as well.
This is especially true at Teacher’s Housing Estate, where many homes are bursting with personality.
For history buffs, here’s some information on Teacher’s Housing Estate – I won’t repeat it in this article as I guess you’re here to learn more about the property rather than the history. In short, Teacher’s Housing Estate was started by the Teacher’s Union in the 1960s and completed in 1967 to provide affordable land housing for teachers at the time, which is why the roads are all named after philosophers and teachers. famous:
- Avenue Munshi Abdallah
- Omar Khayyam Avenue
- Kalidasa Avenue
- Tagore Avenue
- Iqbal Avenue
- Tu Fu Avenue
- Li Po Avenue
A large playground can be found in the estate and was just modernized in 2018. (In 2004, the government also modernized the teacher subdivision as a whole for $ 1.2 million.)
There is a row of shops in the area that provide basic services, from an old-fashioned bakery to a pet shop, laundry service, a pizzeria and even a church! It makes your life easier if you have a restaurant nearby, and according to Google the food at La Pizzaiola is good: 4.4 stars out of 5.
You’re also just a short walk or drive from several restaurants, such as Casaurina and Sanpachiro Curry (four-minute walk), and a 14-minute walk from Sembawang Hills Food Center.
The newly built MRT Lentor, which opened earlier this year, is an 11-minute walk away and will be the site of a new mixed-use development, so you can expect more stores to be built in the future. (A supermarket or two would be very handy!)
(Yio Chu Kang Road), it’s not noisy at all – I couldn’t hear the traffic even when I was in the row of houses near the main road.
- There is only one primary school (CHIJ St Nicks) within the coveted mile, which might explain why the neighborhood is so peaceful! In fact, we drove past the playground several times in an hour and it was only used by a group of elderly residents.
- I really, really love this area, but someone I know who has made a lot of money in real estate warned me that the teacher’s housing estate is extremely wet, due to its location in a valley , which would cause his business to deteriorate extremely quickly, so something to think about there. If anyone has ever lived in a damp house, please share in the comments below!
- Note that properties built on slopes may suffer from slope failure after a while, so you may wish to have a structural contractor / engineer check the stability of the slope and foundation of the house!
- One side of Teacher’s Housing Estate is bordered by the Meadows at Pierce freehold condo. Interestingly, her penthouse sells for about the same price as a corner patio here!
- If you’ve been following my home search series, you’ll find that I love properties that are set in the midst of open green spaces. Teacher’s Housing Estate certainly ticks the box but unfortunately in Singapore open spaces rarely last as most are unprotected. If you look at the master plan below, you will notice many large empty residential plots around the Teachers’ Subdivision, some with plot ratios of 2.1 (which means new developments will be high rise and very noisy / slow to build). 2 plots of Lentor Hill have just been released this year so I don’t know how long residents will have before they start living in the middle of a huge construction site.
The Teachers’ Housing Estate is linked to Sembawang Beach as the preferred land area so far, but there are some things that need to be carefully considered, such as humidity and slopes.
Also, recent prices have gone up – there are only 2 inter-decks for sale at around $ 3.5 million and if you look at the square footage table below the average price after 2020 appears to be more. High than before which I guess is due to Covid and the newly opened MRT / increased accessibility.
(A current listing for sale, for example, only sells via video and will only allow views after you’ve made an offer to buy! When the market is so hot that property sellers have so much power, I think it is better to be careful.)
Nonetheless, I will definitely be recording this on my property watch list, along with Jalan Loyang Besar Condos and Sembawang Beach Houses.
again next week when I head off to visit another of the areas that frequently populate the list of ‘cheapest freehold estates in Singapore’!
This article first appeared in Stacked houses.