Older families more ready to wait for Tengah flats

Members of the public and HDB staff looking at the Tengah exhibition at the HDB Hub in Toa Payoh.
Members of the public and HDB staff looking at the Tengah exhibition at the HDB Hub in Toa Payoh.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The exhibition on Singapore's newest Housing Board town, Tengah, drew curious visitors to the HDB Hub yesterday.

In many cases, the reactions of the would-be buyers were linked to how old they were.

For young couples looking to buy a flat soon, the new town in the west seemed too distant - both in terms of location and completion time. But older families were more willing to wait for Tengah to be developed.

Designed as a "forest town", Tengah's first batch of flats will be launched from 2018 onwards, meaning that the first residents will be able to move in only several years later.

The town will boast a 5km-long forest corridor and Singapore's first car-free town centre.

Despite its attractions, some found the wait too long.

"A key consideration for young people is the immediacy of the projects itself, rather than something that's not even being built yet," said trainee lawyer Gerald Lim, 27.

Marketing professional Ellie S., 27, said it was hard to plan properly when flats would be ready for occupancy only many years down the road. "Some flats take four years to build after the launch," she added.

Instead of waiting for Tengah estate's flat launch in 2018, some couples are eyeing flats that will be available earlier.

"I am looking for a place that is ready for me to sign up for now - 2018 is too far to wait because there are flat launches every year," said Mr Mohd Kader, 26, an accountant who is looking for a flat with his partner. He also felt the place was too far away from the centre of town.

Tengah residents will have bus stops within 300m of their homes. But the Jurong Region Line, which will serve Tengah, is estimated to be completed only in a decade's time.

Others did not see such factors as hurdles.

"We were intrigued by the car-free town centre and wanted to find out more," said Mr Pek Kay Hong, 52, an engineer. "One of our children might go to NTU when they are older, or in the future, all of them might work in this area."

Older people who are not in a rush to buy a flat see Tengah estate as an exciting opportunity.

Said Mr Foo Sang Chong, 49, who is working in the oil field industry: "This is a dream area for me, with all its greenery and eco-friendly living."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2016, with the headline 'Older families more ready to wait for Tengah flats'. Print Edition | Subscribe