Eye on Serangoon: A central stronghold

Rich in culture and character, the urban planning area of Serangoon has something for everyone. We explore the various attractions of the entire precinct, and contemplate the future of its residential market.

 Cheryl Marie Tay

Mention Serangoon to any Singaporean, and he will likely think of Serangoon Gardens, Chomp Chomp Food Centre and Little India. After all, we Singaporeans do have an almost obsessive relationship with our food.

In reality, this large region, with approximately 73,000 residents and over 21,000 HDB flats, has much more to offer. According to the Singapore Department of Statistics, it comprises a total of seven sub-zones: Serangoon Central, Serangoon North, Serangoon North Industrial Estate, Seletar Hills, Upper Paya Lebar, Lorong Chuan and of course, Serangoon Gardens. The Circle and North-East lines also pass through the area via Serangoon MRT station.

So what can one find in its different sub-zones? We have the answers.

Serangoon Central

Serangoon MRT station, serving both the Circle and North-East lines, is located in Serangoon Central. The train station is connected to the nearby bus interchange, which is part of the lowest floor of Nex, the largest shopping mall in the northeast region of Singapore.

Apart from the usual eateries and shops, Nex’s tenants include FairPrice Xtra and Cold Storage, both of which are open 24 hours. It also features a rooftop SkyGarden with KidzPlay, a children’s playground, and Singapore’s first mall-incorporated dog park, K9 Park. Not far from Nex is the Braddell Heights Community Club.

Schools in the vicinity include Zhonghua Secondary School, St Gabriel’s Secondary School and Nanyang Junior College. There is also Serangoon North Village and Estate which, despite its name, is situated in Serangoon Central. It consists of HDB flats and a shopping area, Central Plaza, which features a 24-hour NTUC FairPrice supermarket.

Serangoon North / Serangoon North Industrial Estate

Serangoon North is a residential estate (mostly HDB flats), with at least five pet stores near Avenue 1. It also has a Chinese physician, NTUC FairPrice supermarket, Serangoon North Police Post, SingPost office and several eateries.

Here, one can find the Serangoon North Community Centre, Hwi Yoh Community Centre Sheng Siong Supermarket. Rosyth School, St Vincent de Paul Kindergarten and Masjid Al-Istaqamah are also in the area.

There is another side to Serangoon North, one with several industrial estates. This means residents working in those estates can enjoy a short, stress-free commute to work daily. Some of the industrial estates in Serangoon North are ST Microelectronics Asia Pacific, Mapletree Industrial ad Seagate Technology International.

Seletar Hills

Seletar Hills is a mainly residential estate with condominiums and landed homes (mostly semi-detached and bungalows) in the vicinity, as opposed to the HDB flats more commonly found in Serangoon North. It is a peaceful area with much greenery and not much human traffic, but with a good variety of amenities to enjoy.

New condos in the estate include Seletar Park Residence and The Greenwich, while retail developments such as Seletar Mall and Greenwich V provide for residents’ shopping and dining needs. The nearby Seletar West Farmway is a good place for animal lovers considering a pet, and the nearest train station is Yio Chu Kang MRT, on the North-South Line.

Upper Paya Lebar / Lorong Chuan

Upper Paya Lebar has a mix of office and industrial buildings, and private homes. Some condo projects in the area are Suites @ Paya Lebar and Kensington Square, and Oxley BizHub.

The area is also home to a number of Protestant churches, namely, Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church, Bethany Independent-Presbyterian Church, Bethany Presbyterian Church, The People’s Bible Church and Logos Christian Church.

Schools in the Lorong Chuan area include St Gabriel’s Primary School and the Australian International School Singapore. It is served by the Lorong Chuan MRT station on the Circle Line.

Serangoon Gardens

Easily the most popular zone in the estate, Serangoon Gardens is perhaps best known for its F&B outlets and landed homes. Despite it being tucked away, with only one main road (Serangoon Garden Way) leading inside, it attracts residents and non-residents alike, thanks to the variety of food options there, mostly located in Serangoon Gardens Circus.

There is a tennis and squash centre on Burghley Drive, and the Serangoon Gardens Country Club on Kensington Park Road. The area also has a sizeable expatriate population, partly because of nearby international schools like Lycée Français De Singapour.

Maju Avenue is home to myVillage (formerly called Serangoon Garden Village), a retail establishment that adds to the dining and shopping options in the area.

Satiated in Serangoon

It’s impossible to talk about Serangoon without mentioning the varied and delectable cuisines available there. One of the most popular spots is Serangoon Road, which runs through none other than Little India. Here, eateries such as Muthu’s Curry, Sakunthala’s Food Palace, Gayatri Restaurant and Jaggi’s Northern Indian Cuisine serve up flavourful Indian food; the latter’s signature dish, murgh makhani (butter chicken), is a crowd favourite for its tender chunks of chicken drenched in rich, creamy gravy.

Serangoon Gardens features a host of cafés such as Arbite, Little Wimbly Lu and The Plain Jane, which offer both sweet and savoury dishes like waffles and pasta. The famous Chomp Chomp Food Centre’s many hawker stalls sell everything from fried carrot cake to seafood. Just across the road is RK Eating House, an Indian-Muslim coffee shop responsible for the thickest, most indulgent sup kambing (mutton soup) I have ever tasted.

Seletar Hills is home to Seletar Hill Restaurant, which serves Szechuan and Hunan cuisine and Jalan Kayu Prata Café, an Indian-Muslim café. Near the café is Sunset Grill & Pub, which has gained fame locally for its intimidatingly spicy buffalo wings, whose spiciness is rated all the way up to level 35; finish one serving and you will be photographed for the pub’s Hall of Fame.

A place to call home

Needless to say, Serangoon is attractive not just because of its shopping and dining options, but its family-friendly vibe. Schools like Rosyth School, Nanyang Junior College and international schools, as well as the variety of housing types, mean families can live comfortably in Serangoon.

Timothy Chen, Senior Realty Advisor at Knight Frank Property Network, says: “Serangoon will always have great appeal amongst buyers and tenants. Serangoon Gardens (for instance) has developed into an estate with an identity of its own, much like Holland Village and Sixth Avenue, and therein lies its charm. It is a culturally significant area in the landscape of Singapore, especially within the central region where it’s located.

“Obviously, the homes themselves have great value, with their freehold nature and the estate’s central location. Additionally, it is well served by public transportation, and (residents have) access to all the amenities. I think the appeal of owning a home in a place like Serangoon Gardens is that you get to be a part of not just your home, but of this historic neighbourhood.”

Prominent condo projects such as Kingsford Waterbay and 183 Longhaus are also situated in the area. The former is a 99-year leasehold condo at Upper Serangoon View featuring an astounding 1, 157 residential units. The latter, says Chen, “is located in a great estate and is walking distance from all the restaurants and bars of (the) Upper Thomson estate”.

A lucrative market

Homeowners in the area who intend to sell have much to gain. Chen says the only thing they need concern themselves with is making their homes presentable for potential buyers.

Home buyers are advised to do their research. “Know the prices of similar homes in the area to give you some perspective. Aside from that, it is important to know exactly what you are looking for.”

Chen predicts that “the demand for homes in the area will keep prices buoyant in the. In some rare cases, some homeowners might sell at a loss, but I do not feel that reflects the state of the market for as a whole. Most owners in the area have strong holding power to ride out this current slow market.”

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