Which type of property would be better suited for your children? A condo unit or HDB flat?
Is Your Child Better off Living in a Condo or HDB?
A home is more than the four walls and roof that create a space for you to sleep and eat. It is essentially a family-oriented property and the one place children spend the most time in—more so than the other occupants of the house. That’s why children are the top-most priority when it comes to buying a home.
As the central space where a child learns to live, how can you ensure that the home you choose to buy meets your child’s changing needs as he or she grows and matures?
There are two types of housing that most families own in Singapore: an HDB flat and a condo apartment. Each has its pros and cons, which we’ll break down for you in this article, with the children’s needs in mind.
A well-located home is a well-connected one, which is beneficial for the upbringing of a child. The amenities and accessibility of a specific property drive up its value in the market, and will inevitably attract parents who are willing to spend on a home with excellent connectivity. Some key considerations with regards to location include:
- Proximity to good schools
- Proximity to social, shopping, and recreational centres
- Condo facilities and neighbourhood amenities
Proximity to good schools
Most of Singapore’s reputable educational institutions are located near condos—or shall we say, condos are built explicitly near elite schools—because of its impact on a family’s lifestyle. It can also be noted that financially-capable families can sustain years of excellent education for their children.
Four condos near top schools for children of different ages include:
- Sophia Hills: Near School of the Arts (SOTA), St Margaret’s Primary School, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, and Stamford Primary School
- Jervois Privé: Near Crescent Girls’ School, Alexandra Primary School, Queenstown Secondary School, Gan Eng Seng Primary School
- Leedon Residences: St Margaret’s Secondary School, Nanyang Primary School, and ACS (International) School Singapore
- Royal Green: Nanyang Girls’ High School, Methodist High School, Hwa Chong International School, Hwa Chong Institution (High School Section), and National Junior College
Dive Deeper: Family-Friendly Condos Near Schools in the Core Central Region (CCR) - District 9 and 10
However, it is also true that condos, especially upscale ones, are located in secluded areas. Most developers will assume that its residents can afford private transportation and drive their vehicles. This, in theory, might make it easier to drop off and pick up the children from school. But being picked up at a particular time can also mean the children will not be able to join their friends in after-school activities like playing in the playground and more.
On the other hand, HDB flats are generally closer to public transportation—from bus stops to MRT stations. (Do note that this could also mean higher monthly rent.)
Proximity to buses and MRT stations can make it easier for children to go to their schools independently, especially if parents cannot commit to dropping off or picking them up every day. Plus, they can enjoy more time with their friends after school.
Proximity to social, shopping, and recreational centres
Apart from being the more affordable option, HDB estates are also more accessible to local amenities. Staying in an HDB flat will bring you closer to heartland malls, where children can acclimate more quickly to Singapore’s local culture. HDB’s racial quota ensures a diversified community within the individual blocks, as well as neighbourhoods. And with about 82% of Singaporeans living in HDB flats, there is no doubt your children will get the right amount of exposure they need to the city’s cultural melting pot.
Weddings at void decks, Chinese dragon dances, karung guni uncles and aunties shouting from below your block, are just some of the local flavours that make living in Singapore more interesting. These experiences will help children relate to their classmates and practice empathy, a significant value that will be beneficial to them when they enter adulthood and the workforce.
The more expensive HDB resale flats tend to be located in mature areas as well, surrounded by supermarkets, hawker centres, and malls.
On the other hand, upscale condos are located near world-renowned amenities—one of the main reasons they tend to go for more than a million. The Orchard shopping district alone houses luxurious brands and Michelin-starred restaurants, not to mention the other high-end amenities surrounding centrally-located condos.
Social accessibility, in this case, boils down to your financial capability and the kind of lifestyle you want to bring your children up in.
Condo facilities and neighbourhood amenities
But in terms of recreational centres, HDB estates are now up to par with the number and quality of facilities within condos. Playgrounds, multi-purpose courts, swimming complexes, and parks are within walking distance of both types of property. The only difference would be usability.
Amenities within HDB estates tend to be more crowded than condo facilities. Of course, this also depends on what time you want to use these amenities: As everyone’s home from school or work, shared communal spaces become more crowded toward the evening. You’ll probably find the amenities unpopulated at an earlier time, but without guarantee. (Remember to check and follow the new safe-distancing guidelines for Phase 3 of re-opening in Singapore.)
However, it is easier to book amenities in newer condos as it leverages technology. There are mobile apps where you can secure a date and time to use clubhouses or the gym, and even call for maintenance. (Take this with a grain of salt as there are condos with a higher population density.)
Plus, with condo facilities, you have the bonus of going for a swim or playing tennis without having to commute.
When it comes to finding a home for your family, your neighbourhood’s safety matters, not only do you want to consider proximity to the schools your child would attend, but you also want to consider the surrounding area of the property.
As a gated community, condos are comparatively safer than HDB estates. Most condos now use facial recognition or thumbprint technology to access entry gates or lobby lifts. But apart from these, condos have an extra layer of protection—security guards. You can pinpoint them quickly. In formal attire, they patrol the grounds of a condo to regulate its facilities and residents.
There are also resident committees, made up of condo residents, and externally-employed condo management teams who ensure that the dogs are leashed, swimming pools are clean, and decks are dry. And as children are known to be rough with their toys, security will also ensure that they don’t destroy the equipment in playgrounds by watching over such areas.
Apart from that, security guards also monitor the footage of CCTVs littered around the estate.
But there are several CCTVs around HDB estates, as well; its footage is as good as that of a condo’s.
You can even monitor a neighbourhood’s safety by checking the neighbourhood’s current crime rates online. Or take a walk around the area to get a feel for where you might live next. You might even want to reach out to the neighbours or observe them. Friendly neighbours are an upside when deciding where to live.
3. House size and layout
Whether you already have children or are only planning to grow your family, a bigger home may be the better choice. For those with a budget, you will have to weigh the pros and cons of having a condo lifestyle or enjoy the larger space you will get with an HDB flat:
You may appreciate a large storage space for your children’s toys, even a designated playroom where they can play and be as loud as they want while you have relative peace elsewhere in the house. Or you may appreciate living with facilities right outside of your doorstep.
If you’re planning on watching your kids grow up in the house or intend to grow your family, you’ll have to ask if the home is big enough to accommodate future needs.
Another factor to consider is the floor plan. It should match your family’s lifestyle. For example, if you want to sleep close to your infant, be sure that your bedroom is on the same floor as your child’s. Or if you prefer having your baby sleep in your room, make sure the room is big enough to accommodate a crib and everything else you might need.
Key things to look for are the size of the kitchen and dining area, number of bedrooms, and bathrooms.
Are the kitchen and dining areas big enough to accommodate everyone? Would you have enough space to invite extended family and friends over?
While the number of bedrooms is significant, the number of bathrooms is an equally important factor. Many children might not want to share bathrooms—or you may decide that you don’t want to have to share a bathroom with a couple of teens.
There is no denying that many factors set condo units and HDB flats apart, which is why there are varied preferences across the board among property transactors. If you want personalised real estate advice from a professional, call us at +65 6886 9009 to get in touch with our Super Agents.
If you liked this article, check out What To Expect When You Engage Ohmyhome Condo Seler Agent Services.