Hougang – Secretly Central

Hougang, often locally referred to as Au-Kang, used to be a backwater farming community with a small population of Teochew-speaking pig farmers. The name itself is a reference to its geography at a river’s end.

Block 460 Hougang Avenue 10. HDB. Picture: iProperty

Once just forested land, Hougang is now a heavily populated residential zone that houses multiple MRT stations, malls, and a bus interchange. While the neighbourhood might not be referred to as “central”, it is actually extremely well connected.

To give you an idea of how well-connected it is: Hougang borders Sengkang, Geylang, Serangoon, Bedok, Toa Payoh, Paya Lebar, and Bishan.

The HDB Situation

HDB, Hougang. Picture: iProperty

It’s no stretch to say that Hougang is dominated by HDB flats. After all, the latest estimates show that there are approximately 54,328 HDB units in the zone, with 179,500 people living in them.

While there are units sizes ranging from Executive to 1-room HDB units in Hougang, a large majority of these 54,328 units are 4-room HDB flats. Built in the 80s, Executive flats are larger than the standard 5-room HDB flats, built for people that did not wish to upgrade to private residential property.

HDB, Upper Serangoon Road. Picture: iProperty

These Executive flats were large, ranging from 140-145 square metres and are now heavily coveted due to the fact that the HDB had stopped constructing units of such large sizes since the introduction of Executive Condominiums.

Hougang’s Executive flats are costly, but not without good reason. Besides the large floor plates, the units are generally near a good number of primary and secondary schools. Additionally, their proximity to the MRT and bus interchange add a premium to the price tag.

When taken in together, a 140 square metre Executive flat located 5 minutes from Hougang MRT can fetch an asking price of $750,000, or about $480 psf. A 980 square foot 4-room flat in a similar location, on the other hand, might ask for a ballpark of $400,000 to $450,000. This breaks down to about $408 to $459 psf.

Not a bad price range for such a well-connected neighbourhood.

Private Condominiums aplenty, but look out for potential en blocs

While it’s not yet a plague in Hougang, a good number of private condominiums have sprouted up in the last 3 years, with developers moving quickly to snap up empty lots. New condominium launches include Riverfront Residences, Stars of Kovan and The Tembusu.

Transaction prices have ranged from $600,000 for a 1-bedroom unit to $2.5 million for a 5- bedroom apartment at the 1472-unit Riverfront Residences project, which is expected to obtain TOP in 2022.

The development is a huge one, with 9 individual blocks of 17-storey units. At a per square foot range of upwards of $1200, these premium units are coveted, with over half of the units already sold out at these high prices.

Rio Vista, Condo. Picture: iProperty

Hougang’s centrality has also seen a good number of successful en bloc projects, with some of the most recent ones being the $629 million en bloc of the 336-unit Florence Regency development to Logan Property and the $575 million en bloc of 286-unit Rio Vista development to Oxley-Lian Beng.

Amenities and connectivity

Hougang is served by two MRT stations: Hougang MRT and Kovan MRT, both on the NEL. This places Hougang within 20 minutes to Orchard Road.

Hougang also has a bus interchange that has buses running to all parts of the country.

Shopping and entertainment. Heartland Mall. Picture: iProperty

The bus interchange is also linked by an underground connection to the MRT station and its connecting Hougang Mall. Residents that are staying near Kovan MRT are served by Heartland Mall. Both malls have abundant dining and shopping options, and more importantly, supermarkets for groceries.

Shopping and entertainment. Hougang Mall. Picture: iProperty

Like other residential estates, Hougang was built to be self-sufficient. The aforementioned malls, MRT stations and bus interchange afford convenience to residents.

There is also a park near Hougang Ave 8, developed under the theme “Family Leisure”. This park has multiple fitness areas and playgrounds built for active recreation, as well as open lawn areas for families to have picnics or fly kites.

Paths are also created for strolls and a plaza area is available for group exercise activities like Tai Chi. Add the community centres, sports hub and health care facilities, and you can easily recognise the neighbourhood’s self-sufficiency.

A Secret Gem

Hougang is often ignored for its more popular cousins like Serangoon or Bishan, but it’s actually one of the best places to be in.

Self-sufficient, well-connected and comparatively affordable, Hougang should be on your radar if you’re looking for a place to set up home and raise your family.

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