How much does it cost to live near the top primary schools in Singapore?

PHOTO: Pixabay

No matter how much the MOE tries to tell Singaporeans that "every school is a good school", the fact remains that many parents stop at nothing to get their kids into what they perceive as the top primary schools in Singapore.

When there are too many students trying to get into a school, the school will run a ballot, which is basically a lottery. At this point, the only thing that can give your child an edge is if you live within 2km of the school. In fact, the nearer the school, the better your odds.

That's why parents have been known to buy homes near "good" schools years ahead of time. (Some have also lied about where they live and have even gone to jail for cheating the school this way!)

And, thanks to kiasu parents and our meritocratic culture, property prices around these schools have often reached stratospheric realms. Let's have a look at how much it costs to buy a home near one of these coveted schools.

TOP PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN SINGAPORE & NEARBY PROPERTY PRICES

We've selected a handful of top primary schools in Singapore and checked out the prices of the nearby residential properties:

Top primary school Area Cost of nearby HDB flat (4-room) Cost of nearby condo (3-room)
Nanyang Primary School Bukit Timah $600,000 / $626 psf $1.9 million / $2,600 psf
Tao Nan School Marine Parade $520,000 / $549 psf $1.5 million / $1,352 psf
Ai Tong School Thomson $718,000 / $556 psf $1.4 million / $1,059 psf
Maha Bodhi School Ubi $370,000 / $409 psf $1.2 million / $953 psf
Rosyth School Buangkok $458,000 / $457 psf $1.07 million / $1,469 psf
Henry Park Primary School Holland $598,000 / $638 psf $1.58 million / $1,378 psf
Nan Chiau Primary School Sengkang $548,000 / $547 psf $900,000 / $1,227 psf
Rulang Primary School Jurong $329,000 / $291 psf $1.25 million / $1,344 psf
Fairfield Methodist School (Primary) Buona Vista $533,888 / $605 psf $1.1 million / $1,187 psf
Nan Hua Primary School Clementi $780,000 / $470 psf $960,000 / $1,259 psf
Methodist Girls’ School Bukit Timah $650,000 / $1,119 psf $1.4 million / $1,871 psf
Anglo-Chinese School (Primary) Bukit Timah $500,000 / $455 psf $1.7 million / $1,773 psf
River Valley Primary School River Valley $900,000 / $836 psf $2.3 million / $2,250 psf

In the following sections, we'll jump into each school and survey the property prices of residences within the 2km radius.

NANYANG PRIMARY SCHOOL (52 KING'S RD, SINGAPORE 268097)

Nanyang Primary School is right in the middle of Crazy Rich Asians territory - the prime District 10 Bukit Timah neighbourhood. Think massive houses, swanky condos and cars everywhere.

In fact, this area is basically a stretch of elite schools: Nanyang Girls' High School, Methodist Girls' School, Chinese High School, Hwa Chong Institute and National Junior College are all in the vicinity.

The advantage of this area is that the residential properties around tend to be landed homes and condominiums with not too many units. This means fewer residences which means the odds that there're young parents living in the area fighting for a spot at Nanyang Primary School are lower.

The bad thing about this is that property prices tend to be quite high here. Again, this whittles down the competition but it also makes things costly for you.

Property name Type Distance from school Property price
2 Queen’s Road 4-room HDB 0.27 km $568,868 / $581 psf
6 Farrer Road 4-room HDB 0.9 km $590,000 / $602 psf
The Asana 3-room condo 0.4 km $1.55 million / $2,719 psf
One Duchess 3-room condo 0.7 km $1.9 million / $2,154 psf
King’s 8 5-room cluster home 0.4 km $7.8 million / $1,965 psf

TAO NAN SCHOOL (49 MARINE CRES, SINGAPORE 449761)

Tao Nan School is a school that steeped in the Chinese culture. A member of the Hokkien Huay Kuan, an SAP (Special Assistance Plan) school with Gifted Education Programme, it is considered to be one of the best schools in the East.

Its campus is located in the Marine Crescent neighbourhood, so if you gunning for a property near Tao Nan School you will also be living near to Marine Parade, Katong, and the East Coast Park. Such a prime location translates to expensive properties, but still, not as crazy as the Bukit Timah area.

Property name Type Distance from school Property price
61 Marine Drive 4-room HDB 0.27 km $552,000 / $589 psf
45 Marine Crescent 4-room HDB 0.9 km $520,000 / $549 psf
Villa Martia 3-room condo 0.5 km $1.5 million / $1,352 psf
448 @ East Coast Road 3-room condo 0.7 km $880,000 / $1,543 psf
Kelly Villas 5-room terrace House 1 km $3.9 million / $1,560 psf

AI TONG SCHOOL (100 BRIGHT HILL DRIVE, SINGAPORE 579646)

Ai Tong School is also a member of the Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan and an SAP school like Tao Nan, and is one of the top schools in Singapore. The school is flanked by HDB blocks and landed properties.

The nearest major mall is at least 2 km away, either Bishan Junction 8 or AMK Hub. In several years, though, you'd be able to enjoy staying within a walking distance from Bright Hill MRT station (TE7) on the Thomson East Coast Line. The TEL will connect to Orchard, Outram Park and Marina Bay.

Property name Type Distance from school Property price
406 Sin Ming Avenue 4-room HDB 0.3km $478,888 / $529 psf
406 Sin Ming Avenue 4-room HDB 0.3km $478,000 / $528 psf
The Gardens at Bishan 3-room condo 0.7km $950,000 / $1,103 psf
Thomson Impressions 3-room condo 0.4km $1.35 million / $1,767 psf
Fulton Hill 5-room semi-detached house 0.18 km $4.68 million / $1,238 psf

MAHA BODHI SCHOOL (10 UBI AVE 1, SINGAPORE 408931)

Maha Bodhi School is founded by the Singapore Buddhist Federation, and so largely regarded as a "Buddhist" school.

Nonetheless, despite the big Buddha sitting right in front of the parade square, it's actually considered a good school to many parents (Buddhist or not) as it manages to churn out high PSLE scorers year after year.

As far as properties near good schools go, the Ubi area around Maha Bodhi is relatively affordable as it's not really near any major MRT station or major mall. There is a Ubi station within walking distance on the Downtown Line, but the surrounding areas are still mostly industrial parks and manufacturing factories.

In fact, there are only 2 notable condominiums within walking distance: Euhabitat at The Navian along Jalan Eunos. If you are looking for a landed property, you'd have to look to Kembangan.

Property name Type Distance from school Property price
341 Ubi Avenue 1 4-room HDB 0.2 km $368.000 / $407 psf
339 Ubi Avenue 1 4-room HDB 0.25 km $368,000 / $407 psf
Euhabitat 5-room condo 0.65 km $2.59 million/ $766 psf
The Navian (2020) 4-room condo 0.5 km $1.36 million / $1,528 psf
Lorong Marzuki 5-room semi-detached house 1.1 km $5.58 million / $2,232 psf

HENRY PARK PRIMARY SCHOOL (1 HOLLAND GROVE ROAD, SINGAPORE 278790)

Like Nanyang Primary, Henry Park Primary School is located in another District 10 neighbourhood of landed properties, landed properties and more landed properties.

HDB flats - heck, even condominiums - are pretty hard to come by within the 2km radius. This property mix means high prices but less competition. That's either very good or very bad news, depending on how rich you are.

Property name Type Distance from school Property price
18 Dover Crescent 4-room HDB 1 km $600,000 / $606 psf
27 Ghim Moh Link 4-room HDB 0.95 km $866,000 / $925 psf
Parksuites 3-room condo 0.2 km $1.49 million / $1,896 psf
Glentrees 3-room condo 0.06 km $1.95 million / $1,448 psf
The Sierra 4-room condo 0.5 km $1.6 million / $1,549 psf
Grove Drive  5-bedroom terraced house 0.5 km $6.2 million / $2,053 psf
Regent Villas 4-room HDB 1.15 km $2.88 million / $1,365 psf

NAN CHIAU PRIMARY SCHOOL (50 ANCHORVALE LINK, SINGAPORE 545080)

Nan Chiau Primary School is in the Sengkang area. The nearest thing to civilisation is Sengkang MRT, a 10-minute walk away.

This is primarily an HDB estate area so there are mostly flats and ECs with a smattering of condos. Because there are so many HDB flats around the school, your best bet is to get those as close to the school as possible if you want to beat the competition.

Property name Type Distance from school Property price
275C Compassvale Link 4-room HDB 1 km $500,000 / $516 psf
321B Anchorvale Drive 4-room HDB 0.22 km $438,000 / $447 psf
333D Anchorvale Link 4-room HDB 0.26 km $490,000 / $495 psf
Rivercove Residences 4-room condo 0.8 km $934,800 / $975 psf
Riverbank @ Fernvale 4-room condo 1.2 km $1.058 million / $1,117 psf
La Fiesta 4-room condo 0.54 km $1.75 million / $1,076 psf

RULANG PRIMARY SCHOOL (6 JURONG WEST STREET 52, SINGAPORE 649295)

Jurong's top primary school, Rulang Primary School, is located less than 10 minutes from Lakeside MRT. Apart from lots of HDB flats and a few condos, there's not much around the school.

Property name Type Distance from school Property price
346 Kang Ching Road 4-room HDB 0.7 km $389,000 / $354 psf
414 Jurong West Street 42 4-room HDB 1 km $329,000 / $291 psf
185 Boon Lay Avenue 4-room HDB 0.8 km $530,000 / $417 psf
Lakeholmz 4-room condo 0.53 km $1.31 million / $1,023 psf
Caspian  3-room condo 0.44 km $1.28 million / $1,282 psf
The Lakefront Residences 4-room condo 0.4 km $1.8 million / $1,470 psf

FAIRFIELD METHODIST SCHOOL PRIMARY (100 DOVER RD, SINGAPORE 139648)

Fairfield Methodist School Primary at Dover Road is considered one of the good schools, so good that there is a Parent Volunteer (PV) programme where parents volunteer just so they can register their children in an earlier phase. They need to contribute 40 hours of their time for at least one year.

The school is affiliated to Fairfield Methodist School Secondary School, located right next to the primary school.

The nearest MRT is one-north and the campus is flanked by INSEAD Business School, Grade A offices at one-north, ACS' campus and a few HDB blocks. Available HDBs for sale are located further than available condominiums. With HDBs fetching up to $925 psf and condos fetching $1,560 psf, this area is definitely not an everyday man's hood.

The Dover/Buona Vista neighbourhood is a good place to be based at as there are many tertiary education institutions around. By some version of osmosis, your child may get influenced to go to nearby NUS as well.

Property name Type Distance from school Property price
27 Ghim Moh Link 4-room HDB 0.77 km $866.000 / $925 psf
18 Dover Crescent 4-room HDB 0.82 km $600,000 / $606 psf
The Rochester 3-room condo 0.6 km $1.89 million / $1,560  psf
Dover Parkview 3-room condo 0.58 km $1.11 million / $1,187 psf
Heritage View 4-room condo 0.45 km $1.5 million / $1,290 psf

NAN HUA PRIMARY SCHOOL (30 JALAN LEMPENG, SINGAPORE 128806)

Nan Hua Primary School is located in the heartland area of Clementi. Actually, it's temporarily located at West Coast Road, but it'll be moving back to 30 Jalan Lempeng in Dec 2019.

Because you need to have lived within vicinity of the school for at least 30 months, we'll be looking at the area around the original location of the school instead of the holding site.

All around the school are HDB flats, though there are a few condos and landed homes. This mix of property types means quite a big range of prices as well.

Property name Type Distance from school Property price
Whistler Grand 4-room condo 0.8 km $1.19 million / $1,240 psf
Twin Vew (2022)  4-room condo 1 km $1.56 million / $1,055 psf
115 Clementi Street 13 4-room HDB 1.2 km $880,000 / $552 psf
333 Clementi Avenue 2 4-room HDB 0.8 km $560,000 / $565 psf
311B Clementi Ave 4 4-room HDB 0.52 km $928,000 / $1,077 psf
Faber Hills  4-bedroom bungalow 0.4 km $10.6 million / $903 psf

METHODIST GIRLS' SCHOOL (11 BLACKMORE DR, SINGAPORE 599986)

Methodist Girl's School is definitely one of the top schools, just by the virtue of the network you will be plugged into when you register your child here. The school is surrounded by condominiums and landed properties.

Approximately 2km down Bukit Timah Road from MGS are a number of secondary schools and tertiary institutions for your child's next steps after primary school: Hwa Chong Institution, Nanyang Girls' High School, and National Junior College.

Property name Type Distance from school Property price
115 Clementi Street 13 4-room Executive HDB 1.7 km $880,000 / $552 psf
2 Toh Yi Drive 5-room Executive HDB 1 km $1.05 million / $668 psf
The Cascadia 3-room condo 0.44 km $1.825 million / $1,843  psf
Mayfair Gardens 3-room condo 0.65 km $1.43 million / $1,899 psf
Holland Green 5-room bungalow 0.8 km $4.04 million / $915 psf

ANGLO-CHINESE SCHOOL PRIMARY (50 BARKER RD, SINGAPORE 309918)

Anglo-Chinese School Primary is located at the periphery of Bukit Timah, at the end of Bukit Timah Road that is closer to Novena. As such, the private property prices here are not as crazy as what you'd find surrounding Methodist Girls' School, but they easily fetch at least $1,400 psf. Living in this area, your child is conveniently located to secondary and tertiary schools.

Don't confuse ACS Primary with Anglo-Chinese School (Junior), which is located at Winstedt Rd. Both schools are known to be prestigious, but the main technical difference is that ACS Primary has a GEP programme.

As for HDB flats near ACS Primary, most of the available flats now are at Ah Hood Road, but that would put you out of the 1km radius and just within the 2km radius.

Property name Type Distance from school Property price
103 Ah Hood Road 4-room HDB 1.5 km $699,000 / $550 psf
Soleil @ Sinaran 3-room condo 1 km $2.16 million / $1,097 psf
The Peak @ Cairnhill 3-room condo 1.1 km $3.4 million / $1,858 psf
Newton Edge 3-room condo 0.95 km $1.95 million / $1,509 psf
One Mount Rosie 4-room condo 0.4 km $4 million / $1,400 psf
Barker Road 5-room semi detached house 0.3 km $8.1 million / $3,162 psf

RIVER VALLEY PRIMARY SCHOOL (2 RIVER VALLEY GREEN, SINGAPORE 237993)

River Valley Primary School is at the edge of Orchard Road, so it's no surprise that it's one of the most expensive primary school to live near. It's mostly atas condominiums here, with a few clusters of HDB flats in old estates.

Honestly, it's pretty hard to avoid bleeding money if you're trying to get your child into River Valley Primary. You can see from this list that the properties closest to the school are all condos priced at $3 million and up for a single unit. Ouch.

The old HDB flats may be cheaper, but they're also much farther away.

Property name Type Distance from school Property price
6A Boon Tiong Road  4-room condo 1 km $820,000 / $762 psf
Martin Modern 3-bedroom condo 0.25 km $3.19 million / $2,937 psf
8 St Thomas 3-bedroom condo 0.25 km $3.33 million / $2,960 psf
Riviere 3-bedroom condo 0.3 km $3.02 million / $2,652 psf
Emerald Hill Conservation Area 3-bedroom hosue 1.3 km $6.7 million / $2,437 psf

OTHER FACTORS FOR PRIMARY SCHOOL REGISTRATION

Proximity is one big factor when balloting for a primary school spot, but there are other factors involved. Take note that you don't necessarily own a house near the school, a rental address will do as well. We've heard people who would take extreme measures such as rent an empty apartment just to have an address near their desired school.

If you already have one child in the school, you can register under Phase 1, which almost guarantees your child a spot.

If you are alumni at the school, your child will stand a higher chance as you can register under one of the earliest phases, Phase 2A(1). Thank your own parents for this!

Affiliations to churches, temples, associations or parent volunteers also matter.

Unsurprisingly, citizenship is also a major card. If it's an oversubscribed school, Singaporean citizens will be admitted first ahead of PRs, no matter how near you live to the school.

This article was first published in MoneySmart

Purchase this article for republication.

SERVICES