Are mass-market apartment projects still a good investment?

What can S$2,000,000 get you in OCR

According to the sales volume at prices of up to S$2,000,000 it is clear that OCR homes remain within the reach of most households. About 66.6% of OCR’s new non-landed residential home sales that were transacted in the year 2023 had a price below S$2,000,000. According to caveat figures, the proportion in OCR’s resale home market is even greater, at 88%.

About 62 percent of non-landed OCR units sold for less that $2 million were smaller, between 600 sq.ft. and 800 sq.ft., with 34 percent in District 26 (mostly projects in Lentor estate), and 30 percent in District 23 (Bukit Panjang planning area and Bukitbatok planning area).

About 45 percent of OCR private homes that were resold below S$2million had a size between 900 and 1,300 sqft. Units ranging between 600 and 800-sqft represented 17 percent of the transactions. In the OCR resale market, District 19 (Serangoon Garden Hougang Punggol,) accounted for 21.8 percent of all sales of OCR houses priced below S$2million.

When comparing the differences in price between new units and resale ones, 2023 will show that districts 22, 26, and 17, had the most significant differences. The number of new units sold in District 17 was low, with only 4 transactions at The Shorefront.

The LakeGarden Residences in Jurong and J’den, which are benchmark prices for Jurong’s District 22, were responsible for the staggering 70 percent gap. New launches at Lentor have opened a price gap of 62 per cent compared to District 26 resale.

New benchmarks in the launch of new suburban condos have led to a strong rise in prices. Prices are expected, however, to moderate by 2024.

Entry into the private Housing Market

Many people start looking for a house in the mass segment. This is also called Outside Central Region. Prices for suburban housing are lower than those at the edge of cities and central areas.

In 2023, average unit prices of non-landed, private homes in OCR were S$2,145/sqft (psf) on the primary and resale markets, respectively.

This was due to a substantial price difference – ranging between 18% and 55% – between properties within the OCR as compared with the Rest of Central Region.

Families who are interested in trading up from their Housing and Development Board (HDB), flat to private housing may also be more interested in the OCR segment.

The percentage of purchasers with HDB-addresses accounted, collectively, for nearly half of OCR’s non-landed, new, and resale home sales between 2019 and 2023.

The RCR has a 32% rate of compliance, while the CCR is at 17%.

Has the launch price of OCR condos increased?

The price of OCR non landed private homes has increased in the last couple years. The sub-market index price grew by 13.7% in the year 2023. This follows a 9.3% growth in 2022.

Prices could continue to rise at a faster pace, which would lead to greater resistance from mass-market homebuyers. OCR price increases could be much slower – between 3 to 5 % – in 2024.


In the primary marketplace, the average cost of several new OCR launches exceeded S$2,000 psf last year.

J’den Jurong East reached a new benchmark for average prices of more S$2,400 after it went on the market. Its rapid sales have helped OCR’s home prices to rise in the last quarter of 2023.

Will OCR launch costs increase by 2024 due to this?

This is unlikely since most projects do share the same characteristics that made J’den appeal to buyers.

New OCR Launch Prices will Continue to Average Around S$2,000 – S$2,100 Psf in The Near Term.

Owning a condo is a great way to achieve upward mobility. It also helps build up your capital. Many have made that jump.

Singaporeans are still a majority in public housing but more people have been moving into private condos.

Singapore Department of Statistics data shows that 237.500 households will reside in condos and apartment buildings in 2022. This is up from 139.900 in 2012 by almost 70%.

Resale versus new launches

Resale is the better option for buyers on a budget, or who are looking for larger units. The entry price will also be lower. The buyer should also consider whether or not they are willing and able to accept that the capital gains on older resale units may be slower.

Some factors to consider are a declining rental and building condition. It is also important to consider that if you purchase a home on the secondary market, it will face competition in any subsequent sale from other owners of the same development who may have purchased at a lower cost if they bought directly from their developer.

Even though new launches cost more than resale models, some buyers still prefer them. Aside from more positive capital growth prospects, new launches provide modern facilities such as smart home, wellness and smart-home features. They also have a 99-year leasing period with a defect liability of one year.

More than 1,100 OCR-built new homes are still available as of February 1st. About 45 percent of those are three-bedders, and about 26 percent are units with four bedrooms. Several OCR projects will be available in the market from 2024. This includes Lentoria Mansions and Sora at Yuan Ching Road. Also, the Champions Way project, Tampines Avenue 11 mixed development, Lentor Mansions on Yuan Ching Road as well as other developments.

OCR private homes, with their greater variety and lower prices, remain popular for the mass market.

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