Allure of a nearby oasis
WHILE the skyscrapers and sparkling structures that make up the urban jungle of modern Singapore may be beautiful, more prospective home-buyers are setting their sights on homes that bring nature closer to them.
That means lush greenery, tons of plants, flowers, water features and landscaping.
Property consultants and developers told My Paper that the overall environment a development provides is a hugely important factor, followed by whether it is near an MRT station.
Buyers want to live in a place that offers them tranquillity and privacy, said Mr Lim Yew Soon, managing director of EL Development.
To get around the limited space and still cater to home-buyers, developers try to work in more green spaces and water bodies to reduce the impact of units facing each other, he said.
"Any open space between dwelling blocks will be used as a pool, for landscaping or facilities such as pavilions or playgrounds, to increase the attractiveness of a project," said Mr Lim.
Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at SLP International, said it's human nature to want to be near greenery, so landscaping is part of a development's selling point.
"If you look around and everything is grey, like in Hong Kong, it's not mentally healthy...Greenery is also used as a shield, providing exclusivity and to reduce noise, especially when the building is near expressways," he noted.
Apartments in the Draycott area, Anderson Road and Balmoral, for instance, offer "the best of both worlds" because they are close to the city centre and yet serve as a "private green oasis" for residents, he said.
Property developer City Developments Limited said it is committed to investing between 2 per cent and 5 per cent of total construction cost to green innovations.
It is always striving to bring unique and functional green features to home-buyers, said its spokesman.
Its executive condominium Lush Acres, which will be completed in 2016, will have a bloom-filled garden and an Agri-Cube Hydroponic Farm, which allows the growing of herbs - such as Italian parsley, peppermint and sweet basil - without soil.
Mr Li Jun, general manager of Qingjian Realty (South Pacific) Group, noted that buyers have become "more discerning" and look for developments that "bring them a relaxing and quality lifestyle".
So all its developments create "a harmonious space through balancing the infrastructure and greenery", which gives buyers a sense of belonging and ownership of the place that they live in, he said.
A bonus would be if the property is in proximity to spots that still remain rustic and untouched.
That is the reason why more developments are coming up in the Sengkang, Punggol, Kallang and Bukit Timah areas.
Nature lovers with homes in Sengkang and Punggol will have easy access to the Punggol Waterfront Promenade and Punggol Reservoir. There are unhindered views of Sungei Serangoon and wetlands, and the Riverside Walk features exercise stations, cycling and jogging tracks.
One can also enjoy the rich biodiversity there, and spot waterside birds such as the Collared Kingfisher.
Upcoming developments in Punggol and Sengkang include Lush Acres, La Fiesta and Ecopolitan. There's also Jewel @ Buangkok, which will feature a hydrotherapy pool and an adventure corner for kids.
Kallang is paradise to sports enthusiasts, and has unbeatable views of the river. Expected new developments include RiverBay.
Bukit Timah is a charm because of its abundant greenery. With Bukit Timah Hill and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve in the area, it gives residents solitude and a sense that they are away from the city. New developments include Eco Sanctuary and Hillview Peak.
For more on the developments that will bring you closer to nature, turn to pages 16, 18 and 20.