Tiong Bahru and Queenstown properties are amongst some of the oldest housing estates in Singapore. Tiong Bahru is where you'll still be able to marvel at those pre-war, low-rise art deco-style apartments that have been gazetted by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) for conservation, while Queenstown was appropriately named after Queen Elizabeth II to mark her coronation back in the days. Although many may think that the Tiong Bahru estate is inhabited by only the elderly, I cannot emphasize enough how many younger folks and expatriates have been discovering the charms of this old town especially in recent years!

In this Tiong Bahru and Queenstown Property Guide, which is part 3 of the 2016 Property Guide series by GET.com, we will show you the main highlights of the Tiong Bahru and Queenstown areas, tell you how much properties cost in District 3 and the cool things you can expect from living in this district.

District 3 Properties: An Overview

According to Urban Redevelopment Authority, to be considered under District 3, the first 2 digits of the 6-digit postal code must be 14, 15, or 16. It includes general locations like Queenstown and Tiong Bahru.

For urban planning purposes, Tiong Bahru is classified under the Bukit Merah Urban Planning Area by the URA.


A 4-storey art deco-style residential apartment in Tiong Bahru. Image source: Singapore Tourism Board

Tiong Bahru has transformed from an unsanitary area filled with many squatters to an enclave bursting with rustic charm and hipster-esque vibes that are bound to draw any creative soul in!

You'll find more quaint indie boutiques and cafes than your fingers can count with each turn you make in the estate. Plus, you can't dismiss the fact that there is so much fantastic food in Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre alone - in fact, it is touted as one of the best hawker centres in Singapore!

Queenstown is one old town that all, especially foodies, should explore for what it has to offer. You probably have no idea how many stellar local food establishments there are in this central-western town. Known for being Singapore's first satellite town, did you know that its success as a new town then spurred the development of the Buona Vista and Holland Village estates?

Although majority of the dwellers in the Queenstown area belong to the older demographic, this sleepy old town has been reinvigorated with trendy hang-out spots, quaint cafes and restaurants alongside exciting, stylish HDB BTO flat projects among the likes of SkyVille@Dawson and SkyTerrace@Dawson!

You'll find a good range of HDB flats and private condominiums in District 3. Good old HDB flats practically make up majority of the residential properties in Queenstown. Just so you know, property prices in the Queenstown and Tiong Bahru areas are considerably more expensive than those in newer estates like Punggol and Bidadari. But with the great amenities and amazing "flavours" stemming from these charming estates, we reckon the higher prices may be justified if you can very well afford them. There are so much to do and see in these estates, by the way!

Although there are no upcoming HDB BTO launches in the Queenstown and Tiong Bahru areas as of November 2015, a May 2015 Straits Times article shed light that a total of 5,387 balance flats have been offered for sale in estates such as Bukit Merah, Queenstown, Woodlands and Jurong.

Nevertheless, if you're keen on purchasing those captivating older flats in Tiong Bahru, expect to pay top dollars.

For your information, the asking price of a 50-year-old Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) flat along Eng Watt Street in the hipster enclave of Tiong Bahru stood at a colossal amount of $1.2 million. That's a pretty high price tag considering the size and age of these flats.

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Pros & Cons Of Living In Queenstown & Tiong Bahru

Pros:

  • Convenient transportation networks
  • Rustic, old-school vibes
  • Lots of food, entertainment, shopping options
  • Historical significance
  • Good mix of schools in the area

Cons:

  • Relatively high property prices and rents
  • Few new properties in this district

Amenities In Queenstown And Tiong Bahru

District 3 sure doesn't disappoint when it comes to amenities. Singapore General Hospital, Alexandra Hospital and the National Heart Centre Singapore are in the vicinity.

Those who enjoy recreational activities will be happy to know that Henderson Community Centre, Kim Seng Community Centre and Queenstown Community Centre are conveniently located within the area.

Transportation is a breeze with the multitude of bus services meandering through the area coupled with MRT stations including Tiong Bahru, Redhill, Outram Park, Queenstown, Commonwealth. Havelock MRT station will serve residents when the Thomson-East Coast Line is completed.

With schools like Zhangde Primary School, Queenstown Primary School, Gan Eng Seng School, a couple of secondary schools, the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Global Indian International School and MDIS (Management Development Institute of Singapore), there is no lack of educational institutions in the Tiong Bahru and Queenstown areas.

You can enjoy your retail therapy at Tiong Bahru Plaza, the delightful boutiques peppered all over Tiong Bahru, Anchorpoint, Alexandra Central Mall, IKEA Alexandra and Concorde Shopping Centre. Queensway Shopping Centre is a great choice for fitness buffs as it carries established brands and is famously known as the sports' mall of Singapore!

Staunch Christians can get their hands on a wide selection of Christian literature, Bibles and media at SKS Books Warehouse while those keen in maintaining a lifestyle centred around organic and macrobiotic foods and health supplements can get your supplies at Nature's Glory.


Pearl's Hill City Park is a hidden oasis of tranquillity perfect for park goers to take a short respite from all the hustle and bustle of city life. Image source: National Parks Board, Singapore

Keeping fit should be everyone's thing, right? Places where you can do so in District 3 include Tiong Bahru Adventure Playground, Tiong Bahru Park, The Southern Ridges, Queenstown Swimming Complex, Queenstown Stadium, Delta Sports Complex, Sports Lifestyle Centre and Pearl's Hill City Park.

Good Food To Try In Queenstown And Tiong Bahru

Oh boy, food choices are endless in Queenstown and Tiong Bahru. For tasty yet affordable hawker fare, you have fabulous options like Commonwealth Crescent Food Centre, Mei Ling Market & Food Centre, Tanglin Halt Food Centre, Alexandra Village Food Centre, Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre, and Redhill Market & Food Centre. Now, you can't blame a Sengkang resident for being jealous, can you?

You know the food is well worth your calories and time when you have Singapore's PM Lee queuing 30 minutes for the famed chicken wings from Yan Fried Bee Hoon at Redhill Market & Food Centre. Yes, he was in the queue by himself, in case you are wondering.

Other amazing hawker food that you ought to try in the Queenstown area include Hong Kee Congee and Henry Chicken Rice at Commonwealth Crescent Food Centre, Shanghai Dim Sum at Mei Ling Food Centre and Tanglin Halt Original Pancake at Tanglin Halt Market.


Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre, a famous landmark of in Tiong Bahru. Image source: Singapore Tourism Board

Jian Bo Chwee Kueh, Hui Ji Fishball Noodles and Yong Tau Foo, Tiong Bahru Fried Kway Teow and Ru Yi Vegetarian Stall are just a few famous stalls that you got to try when you're at Tiong Bahru Market & Food Centre!

Those who appreciate hard-to-find meats and cheeses will have a ball of a time browsing the selection available at Foodie Market Place, a gem in Tiong Bahru that stocks gourmet grocery any home cook who enjoys the finer things in life will love.

Cool Chill-Out Spots In Queenstown And Tiong Bahru

As rustic and fascinating the Queenstown and Tiong Bahru areas are, there are plenty of lovely places that you can visit to take your mind off stresses from the daily grind.


The expansive interior of Tiong Bahru Bar. Image source: TBB

Tiong Bahru Bar, or TBB as it is affectionately called, is the biggest nightlife spot in quirky Tiong Bahru. This massive 4000-sq-ft space tastefully designed with exquisite dark decor and plush armchairs exude that chill vibe any drinker would appreciate. This no-nonsense bar has a sizeable range of shots and beers while boasting a more modest selection of cocktails.

For those with an insatiable appetite and fondness for craft beers, you need to visit Thirsty Craft Beer Store for its massive range of craft beers and ciders stemming from over 200 labels! By the way, they have a total of 5 outlets in Singapore, so I guess it's not an exaggeration to say they're indeed very well-loved!

IKYU is a high-end Japanese restaurant that offers the best and purest sake in their sophisticated premises. If you like, you can dine there and order your preferred sake to go along with your meal!


Look how popular Coq & Balls is even when the sun is hanging high in the sky! Image source: Coq & Balls

True to its quirky name, Coq & Balls has a fun, laid-back vibe that makes you feel right at home. Armed with an impressive menu of spirits, craft beers, ciders and cocktails, it is not difficult to see why it helms the status of being one of the most popular bars in Tiong Bahru.

On the contrary, if you fancy a mean cuppa roasted to perfection, Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee at Stirling Road, Forty Hands at Yong Siak Street, and Flock Cafe at Moh Guan Terrace are fantastic places to start.


Where else in Singapore can you find quality Italian food under $10 besides Ah Bong's Italian? Image source: Ah Bong's Italian

Don't forget to fill your tummy with glorious food from Ah Bong's Italian at Eng Hoon Street, PoTeaTo at Yong Siak Street, Tiong Bahru Bakery at Eng Hoon Street and PS. Cafe Petit at Guan Chuan Street when you're out soaking in all that hipster-ness while exploring the quirky Tiong Bahru area!

I don't know anyone who doesn't enjoy Korean food, so here's an option for you if you belong to the same camp as me. Enter Bigmama Korean Restaurant. This restaurant at Kim Tian Road serves up authentic Korean homestyle food that will tickle your taste buds. Oh, they adhere to a strict no-MSG policy, too.


Happy scoops of luscious homemade ice-cream sitting atop freshly made waffles at The Milky Way. Image source: The Milky Way

Of course, you can have your homemade ice-cream and eat it, too, at a cozy little cafe nestled in charming Tanglin Halt. The Milky Way is unpretentious the way it is. Indulge in quality ice-cream and buttery waffles while you're loading up on your well-deserved treat!


A beautifully plated dish of pork belly in Kakuni style from Immanuel French Kitchen at Salut Coffeeshop. Image source: Miss Tam Chiak

Salut Coffeeshop is a hidden gem at Bukit Merah. It makes a pretty good place to chill with your homies while indulging in affordable gourmet food. Expect to find craft beers, French duck confit and German pork knuckles at this no-frills kopitiam in the heartland, minus the premium price tags that never fail to haunt you at fine dining restaurants!


The very quaint storefront of independent bookstore BooksActually. Image source: BooksActually

BooksActually and Woods In The Books at Yong Siak Street are two independent bookstores that will appeal to anyone who loves books. BooksActually specializes in Fiction and Literature, while Woods In The Books specializes in picture books for all ages. These are the two stores that I can't wait to spend a lazy afternoon at when I make a trip down to Tiong Bahru!


An artsy snapshot of the backyard of nana & bird at Chay Yan Street. Image source: nana&bird

nana & bird is a multi-label boutique that stocks specially curated local and international labels. Expect to find an exquisite select range of products for women, kids and the home. The coolness level is off the charts here! What makes this place even more special is the fact that you can sip a hot cuppa while shopping, and no one's going to shoot you that dreaded look of disapproval.

Strangelets is another charming little gift shop on Yong Siak Street that you should visit if you're in the area. Don't be alarmed if this eclectic store feels more like a gallery when you step foot in there. This quaint hideout on Yong Siak Street is where designers, philosophy, objects and projects congregate. Those who have a thing for quirky knick-knacks will love Strangelets!

Kid-Friendly Places In Queenstown And Tiong Bahru

For those who aren't aware, you can explore both Queenstown and Tiong Bahru through their respective heritage trails to learn more about these neighbourhoods and let the wondrous sights and sounds captivate your inquisitive nature. I reckon these trails present a good opportunity for adults and children alike to be more aware of the places they live, work, and play in. Look them up online and you'll find the accompanying guides in a jiffy!

Ah, the library. I'm not leaving it out because the library is a fantastic place for children to cultivate the good habit of reading voraciously from young. I may be biased just because I love reading but it is undeniably a wonderful way for children to grasp languages and cultivate their creativity especially with the massive selection of Fiction books available. The Queenstown Public Library is located on Margaret Drive, so I guess it's time to pry the glaring iPads or computer screens away from your kids already?

How Much Do Properties Cost In Queenstown And Tiong Bahru?

We dug through government data to find out the minimum and maximum per square foot (PSF) prices of private properties, as well as the median price of a resale 4-room flat in this district.

Minimum PSF: $740 at Pearl Bank Apartment
Maximum PSF: $2,474 at Echelon
Median price of a resale 3-room flat in Queenstown in Q2 2015: $380,000
Median price of a resale 4-room flat in Queenstown in Q2 2015: $655,000
Median price of a resale 3-room flat in Bukit Merah in Q2 2015: $376,000
Median price of a resale 4-room flat in Bukit Merah in Q2 2015: $615,000
Median price of a resale 5-room flat in Bukit Merah in Q2 2015: $783,000

*PSF figures for apartment and condominium transactions between Oct 2012 - Oct 2015 are pulled from URA.
*Median prices of resale flat(s) retrieved from CNA.

Note that if you're buying an HDB flat with loan from HDB, your downpayment must be 10% of the purchase price or market valuation, whichever is lower. The remaining amount will then be your loan amount from HDB.

If you're buying an HDB flat with a loan from the bank, your downpayment must be 20% of the purchase price or market valuation, whichever is lower. When borrowing 80% from the bank, your loan tenure cannot exceed 25 years.

If your loan tenure is above 25 years (but not more than 30 years), note that you can only borrow 60% from the bank. In both cases, the sum of the loan tenure and age of borrower at the time of applying for the loan does not extend beyond the retirement age of 65 years old.

Similarly, if you're buying a private property with a loan from the bank, your downpayment must be 20% of the purchase price or market valuation, whichever is lower. When borrowing 80% from the bank, your loan tenure cannot exceed 30 years. If your loan tenure exceeds 30 years (up to a maximum of 35 years), note that you can only borrow 60% from the bank! In both cases, the sum of the loan tenure and age of borrower at the time of applying for the loan does not extend beyond retirement age of 65 years.

Beautiful Homes In District 3


Artist's impression of Highline Residences, a new condominium strategically located in the heart of Tiong Bahru, along Kim Tian Road. Image source: VIPNEWLAUNCH


Artist's impression of the swimming pool area at Commonwealth Towers, a new luxurious condominium that has recently launched in the Queenstown-Commonwealth area. Image source: thecommonwealthtowers

Useful Tips For District 3

If you're one who embraces living in an ultra laid-back neighbourhood that's brimming with character and hipster vibes (in addition to a zillion amazing food options), District 3 may very well be suited for you. Neighouring districts are District 1 (see Marina Bay guide here) and District 2 (see Tanjong Pagar guide here).

Thinking of buying a unit or two in those luxurious condominiums and apartments but can't help but worry about how cumbersome it is to find out which home loan package should you take up? Fret not. You can compare the lowest rates for new and refinance home loans using GET.com's Home Loan Genius tool in a matter of seconds!

Also, if you happen to be a resident living in this area, it'd be great if you could get in touch with us via contact@get.com as we'd love to feature you and your experiences in our article.

New & Refinance Home Loans in Singapore

Best Fixed Rates
Maybank1.85%>
Hong Leong Finance1.88%>
BOC2.10%>
SBI2.15%>
Best Floating Rates
Maybank1.70%BOARD RATE>
CIMB1.73%SIBOR>
RHB1.75%BOARD RATE>
Singapura Finance1.78%BOARD RATE>
Find the Right Home Loan