Living Near Malls in Singapore: Pros and Cons to Consider

·7-min read

Living near malls in Singapore are great for those who are a big fan of convenience, especially if you're within walking distance to one. You have access to a chock-full of amenities such as retail, entertainment, dining and essentials.

Sure, nowadays most things are just a click away, what with GrabFood, Redmart and the likes, and malls are bracing themselves for less business due to COVID-19 closures. But nothing beats having literally 99% of what you need at your doorstep—groceries, personal care, meals, miscellaneous items and even bubble tea!

That said, this hyper convenience may come with certain trade-offs. For example, your area might be livelier than most, constantly filled with the hustle and bustle of shoppers. Is this still better than living in a less populated (aka 'ulu') area like Seletar and Punggol?

Let’s weigh the pros and cons to help you decide.

More Singaporeans Want to Live near Shopping Malls

Well, if you’re still wondering what the majority of people in Singapore think, the verdict is out.

According to our PropertyGuru Consumer Sentiment Study H2 2020, one of the top two priorities for homebuyers following COVID-19 is the proximity to F&B outlets and malls (61% of respondents). This is perhaps due to us spending more time working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of buying a property simply for investment or thinking that “it’s just a building, so let’s buy somewhere cheap”, we're spending money on homes that are bigger and close to amenities. We're looking out for things like places with good sunlight and ventilation. Even better if our home gives us easy access to nature and parks.

We also came across this Reddit thread that shows (jokes and unrealistic answers aside) that many tend to focus on convenience when it comes to location, transportation and amenities. Yes, even though this thread was made three years ago.

Do Shopping Malls in Singapore Affect Property Prices?

But wait, does living near a shopping mall—aka convenience—come with a hefty price tag? If many in Singapore are prioritising living near shopping malls, it must mean that they’re willing to pay more for that convenience, right?

1. Consider Integrated and Mixed-use Developments

The ultimate convenience that trumps living near a shopping mall is living right on top of it. Enter integrated and mixed-use developments, sometimes featuring a mall, residences, office space and even transportation hub all rolled into one seamless compound.

Let’s look at some integrated/mixed-use developments in Singapore and their prices:

Development

Area/District

Current psf

Median district asking price psf on PropertyGuru (Q1 2021)

Le Quest (2021)

Bukit Batok/D23

$1,412.12 to $1,860.47

$1,366.12

Wallich Residence (2016)

Tanjong Pagar/D02

$2,648.90 to $5,530.74

$2,569.17

Stars of Kovan (2020)

Kovan/D19

$1,615.07 to $1,859.23

$1,369.79

Guoco Midtown (2022)

Beach Road/D07

$2,265.86 to $3,610.76

$2,665.04

The Wisteria (2018)

Yishun/D27

$1,063.83 to $1,366.12

$1,113.86

As you can see, the psf prices of integrated/mixed-use developments are typically above the average psf price of the same district. That’s because you’re literally living on top of amenities such as F&B, hair salons, clinics, supermarkets and more.

As these integrated/mixed-use developments tend to be private condominiums, the next best thing if you can’t stomach the high psf prices is to aim for resale HDB flats in mature estates that are close to amenities and perhaps the MRT station or the neighbourhood’s main shopping mall.

2. Consider the Relation Between the MRT Effect and Malls in Singapore

Speaking of MRT stations… Did you know that property prices tend to be 10% to 15% higher for units closer to the MRT (and major shopping malls tend to be close to or directly linked to the MRT)? This is termed the 'MRT Effect'.

In our PropertyGuru Singapore Property Market Index Q2 2021, the findings remained consistent: MRT accessibility remained a key priority. And with new MRT stations coming up such as the Thomson-East Coast Line (completion: 2024), Jurong Region Line (completion: 2028) and Cross Island Line Phase 1 (completion: 2029), more of us will be living within 10- to 15-minutes to our nearest MRT station in the next decade.

So, to answer the question “Do shopping malls affect property prices in Singapore?”, yes, properties near amenities such as shopping malls cost a premium. As for the MRT effect, even as MRT stations are being built in the coming years, being even nearer to an MRT station would still be positive for your property’s value in the future (why stay 15 minutes’ walk from an MRT station when now you can stay just 5 minutes away?).

Is It Good to Live near a Shopping Mall in Singapore?

This can get a little subjective, depending on your individual preferences. To get an idea of the general sentiment towards living near shopping malls in Singapore, we asked Andrew Nair, Associate Division Director of ERA Realty Network, to share his observations.

According to Andrew, while tenants and future buyers appreciate the convenience that living near shopping malls brings, cons include the huge crowds and noise, not to mention possible heavy traffic in the area and parking might be an issue.

The property buyer will need to analyse his or her reasons for buying. Is it for investment or as a home?

“If the buyer is buying for investment, it will be an advantage if they are looking for a property near a mall. However, a small number of our clients like to have the peace and quiet associated with a property that is away from the hustle and bustle,” he says.

He adds: “Buyers are generally willing to offer more for the convenience. To be frank, most buyers understand that the price [of a property close to a shopping mall] will be higher, and that they will be paying a premium for this ‘privilege’.”

Should I Get a Property near a Mall in Singapore Then?

Here at PropertyGuru, we can help you make better-informed decisions (but we can’t make those decisions for you).

As Andrew mentioned, it depends on the purpose you’re buying the property for (investment or own-stay). It also depends if you’re of the majority who appreciate convenience over noise/crowd, or the minority who would rather live far away from everyone and everything for peace and quiet.

It also depends on your budget. Would you rather pay more for a home near malls in Singapore but possibly pay less for transport, delivery fees and so on? Or would you rather pay less for a home, and you’re okay with planning meals/groceries ahead of time or travelling further out if you need to get something urgently?

Or maybe you can compromise. Live relatively close to a shopping mall, but not super close; and/or choose a neighbourhood where the shopping malls are of the much quieter heartland town centre variety (but packed with amenities) than the overcrowded megamalls that always sport the same big brands.

Finally, remember that amenities don’t always have to be within a shopping mall. For example, in mature estates, there are usually many neighbourhood provision shops and dining options in the heartlands. These also attract traffic, but it’ll definitely be quieter than a mall right next door.

More FAQs about Living Near Malls in Singapore

Why Are There so Many Malls in Singapore?

One reason could be so each town has a central hub for where you can shop for groceries, do work, get food, run errands and be entertained more conveniently.

Where Should I Go in Singapore Mall?

Most people head to the Orchard Road shopping belt but popular malls in near residential areas include JEM and Jurong Point in the west, and PLQ and Tampiness Mall in the east

What's the Biggest Shopping Mall in Singapore?

Vivocity.

Can You Live in a Mall?

You can live in mixed-use developments which are a residential-commercial hybrid. Check out these homes which are right above shopping malls.

For more property news, resources and useful content like this article, check out PropertyGuru’s guides section.

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This article was written by Mary Wu, who hopes to share what she's learnt from her home-buying and renovation journey with PropertyGuru readers. When she's not writing, she's usually baking up a storm or checking out a new cafe in town.

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