Don’t pay over the odds for a blocked view

Homebuyers paying premiums for panoramic views are being urged to check local development plans to ensure their lookout remains unblocked.

(Property under construction: Image courtesy of Think Stock)

Many buyers covet high-floor apartments with views of the city skyline or the sea front but find new developments spring up nearby, obstructing both the breeze and view. 

For instance, residents at the BAYSHORE near East Coast Park used to enjoy sea views, but most of the units there are now blocked by Costa Del Sol. Silversea in the same area, due for completion by the end of 2014, is also likely to block the views of some apartments. 

To avoid disappointment buyers are being warned to do their own research before agreeing a sale or rental.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) 2008 master plan on the URA website indicates plans for Singapore’s land use and development over the next 10 to 15 years. It is updated every five years, with the next version expected in 2013. 

By checking the plan and the gross plot ratio given for sites surrounding an existing development, buyers can see whether any projects are proposed to spring up next door. 

The master plan indicates whether an undeveloped land parcel, for instance, might be earmarked for residential, commercial or mixed-use development. The gross plot ratio also determines how intensively the land can be used. For example, a ratio of 1.4 allows developers to build up to five storeys. 

In addition to this it’s wise to check the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme on the URA website, which lists the land parcels the Government puts up for sale every six months.

Doing this will help buyers determine if the price they are paying – for what could be just a temporary view – is worth it. 

Mr Colin Tan, research head at Chesterton Suntec International, said buyers should press their agents about upcoming development sites in the area when viewing properties. 

“Agents might tell you that plans might be a long way off but buyers can’t take them at face value and should do their own research instead,” he added. 

He pointed to 38-storey condominium, Sky Habitat, in Bishan as an example. At the moment, the recently launched project seems to have uncluttered views but there is an empty plot next to it that is likely to be developed for homes in future. 

Mr Tan added,  “If you’re beside an empty piece of land, you should assume that it’ll eventually get developed and very likely to the same height as your project, especially if both are on the same side of the road.”