6 Things to ask to help you decide which one

It is often said that the value of a home boils down to location, location and location, but other attributes come into play as well.

A host of factors must be considered, including thoughtful design, product quality and a conducive living environment, says Ms Alice Tan, who heads consultancy and research at Knight Frank Singapore.

"The value of the residential property is premised on location, and supported by site- and project-specific strengths," she notes.

The Sunday Times offers six top points to look for.

CONSIDER OLDER PROPERTY

Some older projects could be more value for money in terms of space, so do not go all out for new projects, some of which could be quite small.

'' MS CHRISTINE LI, director of research at Cushman & Wakefield.

1. HAVE YOU SHOPPED AROUND?

Ms Christine Li, who is director of research at Cushman & Wakefield, believes now is the time for owner-occupiers to shop around as developers have reduced their price expectations since the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) was introduced in 2013.

The biggest risk is still the state of the economy, so it is vital that you buy what you can afford, thoroughly research the projects and look at comparables.

"Be selective about location as the rental market is expected to be weak over the short term," says Ms Li.

"Some older projects could be more value for money in terms of space, so do not go all out for new projects, some of which could be quite small."

2. WHAT ARE THE AMENITIES NEARBY?

Having a wide array of amenities - dining, shopping, entertainment and recreational facilities - just a stone's throw away is a huge plus, and greatly treasured by owner-occupiers and tenants alike, says Ms Tan.

Chesterton Singapore managing director Donald Han suggests looking for projects with a fairly large land base, near amenities.

"These need not be brand-new developments. Some older developments (as old as 20-30 years) present inherent and intrinsic value... Land values in Singapore, especially when it comes to freehold tenure, never deteriorate over time," he points out.

"There are lots of such properties within the Cairnhill, Newton and Novena enclave that are going at prices well below $1,800 per sq ft (psf)."

Mr Han says buying a prime property is always recommended. In bad times, such properties are the last to come down in price and, in good times, they are usually among the first segments to rebound - as we are witnessing right now.

3. HOW'S THE TRANSPORT CONNECTIVITY?

Homes next to MRT stations are highly sought after and are typically better received by owner-occupiers and tenants than homes with equivalent lease tenures that are farther away from public transport.

"Locations near MRT station interchanges (with at least two lines) bring higher commuting benefits as residents can travel to more places conveniently. There are limited private residential developments in Singapore that enjoy close proximity to MRT interchanges," says Ms Tan.

4. IS THE AREA EARMARKED FOR GROWTH?

Ms Tan advises going for areas earmarked as future growth zones as they are likely to enjoy faster growth in terms of upcoming infrastructure, commercial and residential development.

Such plans, when realised, would be catalysts for business and community activity, which would ultimately enhance the asset value potential of residential properties in these areas.

5. IS THERE ACCESS TO WORKFORCE CATCHMENT?

If you plan to rent out your property, look for catchment areas with potentially ready tenants.

Ms Tan says properties near office and industrial precincts are generally selected choices for tenants who work in these areas.

6. WHAT'S THE DEVELOPER'S TRACK RECORD?

After you buy a home, the last thing you want is to deal with a slew of defects upon collecting the keys.

Ms Li says this is why going for a reputable developer is important, while warning that there has been a spate of defects in recent completions.

She adds that a developer's credentials determine project positioning in terms of the product quality, the design of the common facilities and the living environment. "Developers who are committed to ensuring product quality, creating liveable spaces and promoting environmental sustainability offer properties that are likely to be more enduring and endearing," she notes. This in turn will help ensure that the property stays popular, which will also boost the resale value.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 12, 2017, with the headline '6 Things to ask to help you decide which one'. Print Edition | Subscribe