The URA Master Plan: Understand How to Use It For Property Investment

Before getting a new house, the idea of some people of doing their researches on properties will be simply looking through the Facebook pages of their friends who are property agents to look for “good deals”. But for those more tech-savvy Singaporeans, the URA Master Plan (Urban Redevelopment Authority) will be a valuable source for information on what will be in store for the different areas of the city state.

The URA Master Plan is also the official plan for the government’s statutory usage of land for the horizon of the coming 10 to 15 years. Each piece of land in this country will be zoned in accordance to the type of usage it will be for, be it for commercial use, residential use, transportation, etc.

There will be a review for the master plan every five years which will translate to the Concept Plan’s long term broad strategies into more detail plans which will guide the property and land’s development. The plan also shows the density and land use that is permissible for developments in the city state.

The Concept Plan is a guideline for the development of Singapore for the coming 40 to 50 years. Its coverage includes strategic land usage and also transportation. Every 10 years there will be a review on the Concept Plan.

From time to time, the Master Plan might also be amended. The public is advised to look out for the master plan’s approved and proposed amendments as well as the plan that has incorporated the approved amendments.

The SDCP (Special and Detailed Control Plans) supports the Master Plan.  It is control plans for development which include Building Heights, plans for Urban Design Envelop Control, Street Block, Areas for Landed Housing, Waterbodies and Parks that the competent authority published.

It will be definitely an advantage to know ahead of time which estates will be having a revamp or will be having enhancements on their transportation networks for those who are looking to buy a property that will have capital appreciation. But first and foremost, there is a need for learning how to make use of the URA Master Plan.

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Is the 2019 URA Master Plan out already?

The latest edition of the Master Plan which for 2019 draft version was released on 27th of March 2019. Some of the highlights for the 2019 version include:

  • The Marina Bay district and the Central Business District will be redeveloped to add in more options for housing as opposite to its traditional usage for purely commercial.
  • The Bayshore, Dakota Crescent, Tanglin Halt, Queensway and Farrer Park districts are all assigned for future developments for housing.
  • The old Air Base at Paya Lebar will be emptied which will allow approximately a land size of 800 hectares for the purpose of redevelopment to a new township.
  • The stretch of land from Pasir Panjang will begin its redevelopment to the “Greater Southern Waterfront” in the coming 5 to 10 years.
  • Anchors of new potential heritage/leisure sites that include the old railway of Bukit Timah and the defunct power stations at Pasir Panjang.
  • The expansion and enhancement of the downtown heritage/culture/arts district (Fort Canning, Civic District. Bugis, Bras Basah)
  • Approximately 1,000 hectares of land will be reserved for green spaces (nature reserves, parks as well as other natural parklands) and these lands will be redeveloped in the coming 10 to 15 years.

The Master Plan is still a “Draft” version and URA welcomes the public to submit their feedbacks online. If there is any serious objection, the public can write to the Ministry of National Development (MND) Permanent Secretary by 25th of April 2019.

Some of the developments that is in the Greater Southern Waterfront

Avenue South Residence
One Pearl Bank
Corals at Keppel Bay

The accessibility and the navigation of the URA Master Plan

The 2019 URA Master Plan is available on the website of URA.  It can be access from the link here.  Upon going into the link it will bring you to the below page. Then click on the “URA SPACE” that is highlighted in red.

URA Master Plan 2019 Main PageSource: URA

Once the first pop up window that is shown below, click on “CONTINUE” that is highlighted in red.

URA Master Plan 2019 2Source: URA

It will then bring you to the Master Plan as shown below:

URA MasterPlan 2019 3Source: URA

Now that the map is on your computer or mobile screen, you will be able to zoom into any area that is of your interest or you can also search the address of any location by keying into the top left hand corner search bar. You can search by the Mukim (MK) or the Town Subdivision (TS) number.

Search for the address of the selected property and have a look at the type of zoning that is designated to the parcels of land in the neighbourhood. To look at the zonings for the land parcels, select “Land Use Plans” in the pop up menu, then select “Master Plan” in the submenu shown below.

URA MasterPlan 2019 4Source: URA

If a visit to the site is done, it will be good to take note to any empty land parcels that have not been development yet and see how the zoning of these empty plots as this will give an idea to what could, in the future, pop up there.

Also Read: Property Cooling Measures in 2018: Have the Effects Wear Off?

So what are needed to be taking note of after entering the address of the property in the URA Masterplan?

The plots of land that are adjoining or in the vicinity of a property will impact on the potential residence’s livability and its value. The colour on each land parcel is corresponded to a specific category of zoning which will define the type of usage designated for the land parcel.

To know what each colour represents, you can click three dots that are on the right side of the search bar, which will pop up a submenu, then click on “Legend”.

URA MasterPlan 2019 5Source: URA

Transport Facilities
The availability of transport facilities can impact greatly on the price of the property. This especially true if the MRT station is situated just walking distance away. It will also be good to check out the website of LTA to know what transport facilities is being constructed. The effect of having an upcoming MRT station nearby will have higher positive impact on the value of the property as compared to having a future LRT station or bus interchange. Do take note that for any bus interchange/MRT station that is integrated with a shopping mall, it will be usually zoned under commercial/residential so it will be blue in colour on the masterplan’s map.

There are also certain setbacks when being too close to a MRT station especially when it is above the ground which likelihood as sounds of the MRT trains stopping and moving off can be heard from the property.

Business 1
Those lands that are zoned for Business 1 are meant for usage of light or clean industry. They will not be disruptive and also can offer job opportunities. For Business Parks, they often comprise of office complexes or building as well as the F&B industries that are there to be serving them. These Business Parks also offer plenty of job opportunities which will increase the appeal of the property for potential tenants or buyers.

Business 2
Those plots of land zoned Business 2 will be used for industries that are slightly heavier. Although these land parcels will not be power plants that spew gas or factories, they will be more disruptive and people tend to choose to live close to them.

In Singapore, it is generally a great thing to have commercial plots close to the property. When there are more plots of land that are zoned commercial in the vicinity of the property, it will mean that there are no shortage of amenities and facilities nearby.

Sports and Recreation
If you or the prospective buyers/tenants like to access to sports and/or recreation amenities, it will be good to have these land parcels zoned as such close by. However, it may not be the best situation to have them just next door to the property as there might be disruptions.

Education Institution
For those parents with school-going kids and wanted them to enroll to schools in the vicinity, it will be great to have many of them nearby. Besides, there are also values in property that is not just in terms of sale but also rental when the property is with 1 km from reputable school. However, do take note properties that are very close or next to schools might experience high level of noise during assembly, dismissal and recess time. This might not pose a problem if the entire household is out for work during these timings.

Health and Medical Care
To a lot of people, it might not be a good thing to acquire property that is very close to land parcels that are zoned under healthcare. These plots of land could be convalescent hospitals, rehab centres, polyclinics, hospitals, etc. However, it is good to understand the size of and usages of these land parcels especially when it is a huge plot e.g. Novena Health City. Areas such Novena Health City will be a large source of employment and they are also appealing to property investors who appreciate the healthcare facilities here in Singapore.

Place of Worship
It will not be a good thing to be situated next to place of worship. It is not appealing to majority of buyer and tenants as there are a lot of disruptions such as smoke from incense, noise from chanting and traffic congestions during religious festivals. Some of the religious buildings might even have columbarium. Certain groups of people might find the “feng shui” close to places of worship not very favourable.

Civic and Community Institution
For plots of land that are zoned under Civic and Community Institution, they can be police station, fire station, old folk’s home or community club. It is generally harmless to have them in the vicinity but not just next door to the property.

If a property is close proximity to greenery it is deemed to be more attractive especially when the said greenery belongs to parks that are well-developed and is well connected to the network of cycling track, an example is the Punggol Waterway Park. However, the prices of properties near to parks might not have growth as compared to those that are near to shopping malls and MRT stations.

Check out these developments that are near to parks

Kent Ridge Hill Residences
Daintree Residence

White Site
Those plots of land zoned under White Site are going through development and usually will become some kind of recreational, residential or commercial space. These will likely to be value-added to their vicinity from the views of the residents and it will be not bad to have them nearby.

Also Read: Best Housing Loan in Singapore: Get the Ideal Mortgage For Financing

So what can be done with the URA Masterplan?

The URA Master Plan will not just give an idea of the zoning for usage of land of a parcel of land but it also tell what is the plot ratio of the land. The plot ratio will give an idea on how densely a parcel of land will be developed into and what is the likelihood if this plot of land will contain any high rise buildings.

All that is needed to be done to check on the plot ratio of a plot of land is just by zooming in. The indicated number of each parcel of land will be the plot ratio. The higher the plot ratio, the higher is the density that this plot of land can be developed into.

If there are plots of land zoned as residential around the vicinity of the searched property presently undergoing redevelopment and these lands have a plot ratio that is high, that might indicate that the views around the searched property might likely to be obstructed.  These upcoming developments will likely to comprise of tall blocks of condominium towers.

For plots of land that are zoned as commercial and with a plot ratio that is high, it will indicate that these plots might be redevelopment into new retail malls which are likely to have positive impact on the prices of those land plots.

It is also possible to find out the highest allowable height for the buildings for certain parcels of land. To check that, just key in the name or address in the search bar and after which click on “Control Plans” then click on “Building Height Plan”

Also Read: Greater Southern Waterfront of Singapore: 7 Known Facts

Does the URA Master Plan have any limitation?

Although the URA Masterplan is a great tool for doing research on property, it does have its limitations.

The URA Masterplan can give an overview of the usage of the surrounding areas of the land, what will be the density like (is it crowded?) and roughly the height of the buildings will get.

But the Masterplan does not provide on the details that pertain to the precise services and facilities in the precinct. There is a huge difference from a factory and a shopping mall or a track for cycling and a bus station.

Brochures and promotional material for new launch developments are typically great sources of information with regards to the future developments around the vicinity. Keep up using the updates from LTA and URA for the development of infrastructures in the vicinity and also look for the local business section on the news for information on upcoming developments like new shopping centres and also land parcel that have being successfully en-bloc.

Having problem doing researches on the URA Master Plan to find the best property to invest in? Contact us now for a non-obligation discussion!

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