Eye on Ang Mo Kio: In the red

Singapore has no shortage of residential estates, what with more than 80 percent of its population living in HDB flats. In this regard, Ang Mo Kio is no exception.

A brief history

Unlike many other mature estates in Singapore, however, Ang Mo Kio as we know it today remained largely undeveloped till the late 20th century, after being mostly uninhabited in the 19th century. It wasn’t till the beginning of the 20th century that settlers started arriving in Ang Mo Kio because of its rubber plantations. This also meant it was called Ang Mo Kio Forest Reserve back then.

The name “Ang Mo Kio” came about only after land was cleared in the area to make way for a village, with the largely Hokkien Chinese immigrants there involved in rubber-planting and tapping. In fact, Ang Mo Kio New Town was once called Cheng San Village, which was a massive rubber plantation.

In the decade between 1922 and 1932, market gardening, as well as pig and poultry farming, became more common in Ang Mo Kio, thanks to the drop in world rubber prices. This proved useful during the second World War, when the Japanese Occupation caused many to move to the estate to take up farming as a form of livelihood.

Steady progress

Like most other mature estates in Singapore, Ang Mo Kio has flourished and is today a thriving residential estate of approximately 200,000 residents, as well as a satellite town and urban planning area. It is perhaps best known as a PAP Group Representative Constituency (GRC) under Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Its development started only in 1973, making it the seventh new town to be built in Singapore (the estate also has seven neighbourhoods). Just a decade later, the town’s design won the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) Outstanding Buildings Award. Three years later, the tetrahedral skylight feature at the Avenue 1 swimming complex won it the 1986 SIA Architectural Award.

As a mature estate, Ang Mo Kio today not only is home to HDB flats but also private residential projects, with certain pockets of land having been cleared to make way for new housing developments.

Everything at your doorstep

With one bus interchange, one hospital, one park, two MRT stations, four shopping malls and over 20 schools, Ang Mo Kio is undoubtedly a highly convenient estate in which to live.

Agnes Goh, Executive Adviser at Knight Frank Property Network, says: “In my opinion, Ang Mo Kio is attractive because of its mature infrastructure: a wide range of school choices, ranging from primary to tertiary education, including reputable primary schools like CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School, Ai Tong School and Catholic High School.

“It also has a well-established transport network connecting to all parts of Singapore — two MRT stations (Ang Mo Kio and Yio Chu Kang), and a fully air-conditioned bus interchange directly connected to the MRT station and a large shopping mall, AMK Hub. Ang Mo Kio is also within close proximity to a few expressways, which means its residents can travel to other parts of Singapore conveniently. Its central location also allows residents a fast commute to town, as well as to Woodlands for visits across the causeway.”

In addition to the aforementioned features, Ang Mo Kio has plenty of amenities catering to residents’ convenience and well-being: Thye Hua Kwan Hospital, Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic and Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. There are a large number of markets and food centres as well, and three other malls besides AMK Hub: Djitsun Mall, Broadway Plaza and Jubilee Square.

At the same time, Ang Mo Kio is rather close to a few international schools, such as Lycée Français de Singapour (Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3), the Australian International School (Lorong Chuan) and the Singapore American School (Woodlands), making the area attractive to expatriates who have school-going children.

New and next

In addition to the Ang Mo Kio and Yio Chu Kang MRT stations already serving the estate, Ang Mo Kio will see two more stations, Lentor and Mayflower, both on the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL). This means residents can enjoy direct commute to key employment nodes like Shenton Way, Maxwell and Orchard.

A new North-South Expressway will also cut travelling time from Ang Mo Kio to the city, and a 20 km cycling path, the longest in any residential estate in Singapore, is to be in place by 2018.

Furthermore, three Integrated Programme (IP) schools will form a new junior college in Ang Mo Kio in 2017, and a brand new Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic is scheduled for service in 2018.

Fair warning

Though its existing and upcoming developments make Ang Mo Kio a generally attractive place to live in, Goh warns: “Do expect some inconvenience due to construction works for the upcoming infrastructure. However, given the benefits and convenience which residents can enjoy for years to come, I believe it will add value to Ang Mo Kio and the properties in the estate.”

Bright future

The outlook for the estate is generally positive, due to the existing amenities that already makes life relatively easy for its residents, as well as its upcoming infrastructure that promises to make day-to-day living even more comfortable and convenient.

Goh says, “Personally, I feel that the value of the private residential sector in Ang Mo Kio has potential for even better growth, given the limited supply within the mature estate. There hasn’t been any new property launch or land release within Ang Mo Kio for the past year, while neighbouring estates like Yishun have seen only a few.

“Property values in Ang Mo Kio are likely to remain stable, with positive, steady growth, thanks to its well-established infrastructure. The major new developments coming its way will also strengthen the property value in Ang Mo Kio.”