Are good views worth the premium? Here's a short study on 6 different condominiums

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Most of us know that units with a better view (which also tend to be higher-floor units) come at a premium. But this is also one of the features that’s hardest to quantify. How much would a future buyer for a better view of the nearby park pay?

Is this a $50,000 premium, or a $100,000 premium? It’s not possible to isolate and identify the exact value of a good view; but what we can do is compare the appreciation of high-floor, best-facing units:

The three most desirable views/facings

In general, these can be divided into:

  • Waterfront views
  • Greenery/scenic views
  • Low density/unimpeded views

A fourth category, pool views, also exists – this is for homeowners who want to overlook condo facilities like pools, BBQs, and so forth (some prefer people-watching, like we tend to do on park benches). We haven’t explored pool views here, as there usually isn’t a premium/significant price boost for the lower floor units where this is possible.

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Waterfront views

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These are not necessarily sea views, and can refer to any large body of water. Costa Rhu, for example, faces the Kallang River as one of its key selling points. Lake Grande is another example, where the waterfront view is of Jurong Lake.

Perhaps the most famous areas for waterfront properties are District 4, which includes Sentosa, and famous developments like Reflections at Keppel Bay, and the East Coast districts like 15 and 16 (many condos here, like Bayshore Park, face East Coast beach).

Greenery/scenic views

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Bukit Timah is the best-known area for this, with condos like The Raintree having a good view of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, and Guilin View being literally named after its best feature.

However, condos near reservoir parks – such as Forest Hills near the Seletar Reservoirs – can offer similar scenic views. Some condos, such as the Interlace, also have good scenic views because they’re located close to designated “green belts”.

Low density/unimpeded views

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The advantage of being in a low-density area is not isolated to the view. Low-density areas also tend to see less traffic, and nearby amenities tend to be less crowded. That said, the view in low-density areas is known for being clear and unimpeded. Condos like Goodwood Residence have no nearby buildings looming over them, so residents can see clearly in all directions.

How much do these views affect appreciation?

For practical comparison, we have picked out two projects for each type of view.

We’ve then tracked average appreciation over time, based on the unit views. Note that because this is based on the average, it does not take into account factors such as the state of renovations, or the floor level of the unit.

Greenery view

Projects Face Condo Opposite Inner-Facing Greenery Facing
Avg Quantum Gains Avg per cent Gains Avg Quantum Gains Avg per cent Gains Avg Quantum Gains Avg per cent Gains
Foresque Residences $55,563 4.44 per cent -$32,416 -2.07 per cent $44,875 3.77 per cent
The Skywoods $96,711 7.24 per cent $105,320 8.92 per cent

Landed view

Projects City View Inner-Facing Landed View
Avg. Quantum Gains Avg. per cent Gains Avg. Quantum Gains Avg. per cent Gains Avg. Quantum Gains Avg. per cent Gains
D’Leedon NA NA $100,773 5.82 per cent $129,574 7.36 per cent
Principal Garden $152,643 13.51 per cent NA NA $302,657 17.27 per cent

Sea View

Projects HDB-Facing Inner Facing Sea View
Avg. Quantum Gains Avg. per cent Gains Avg. Quantum Gains Avg. per cent Gains Avg. Quantum Gains Avg. per cent Gains
Flo Residences $109,183 14.47 per cent $121,499 12.69 per cent $53,913 6.77 per cent
Skyline Residences NA NA $32,813 1.94 per cent $102,500 3.24 per cent

Key points to note

1. Foresque Residences is the only property to show a loss for inner-facing units

At the time of launch, the inner-facing units – even on higher floors – were priced with the same premium as units with greenery views. It’s telling that this resulted in a drop of around two per cent in value, as opposed to the 3.77 per cent gains for units with green views.

That said, note that inner-facing units for all other developments still saw positive gains on average. In fact, for Flo Residences, inner-facing units saw gains of around 12.7 per cent for inner-facing units, compared to gains of just around 6.77 per cent for sea view units. This can happen if the premium paid for better views is too high (limited room for further gains).

You can also think of it as under pricing by the developer due to the supposed “negative” traits. Developer pricing isn’t always perfect, and this is sometimes where you can score better gains if identified correctly.

2. Buyers seem to care less about facing other buildings, compared to inner-facings.

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For Flo Residences, units facing the nearby HDB blocks saw the highest average appreciation – up to around 14.5 per cent, and outperforming the sea view units.

For Foresque Residences, units facing the opposite condo actually beat the greenery-view units by a slim margin; up 4.4 per cent, whereas the Chestnut Park facing units were up just 3.77 per cent.

However, inner-facing units fared the worst for all the developments we tracked. This isn’t too surprising, as a far away HDB or condo block is not as bad as looking into your neighbour’s kitchen/air-con ledge.

3. Sea view units may see the slimmest range and potential for appreciation, because they tend to be at the highest premiums

To no one’s surprise, sea views are generally the most in-demand. This is because the market tends to associate them with luxury or higher-end properties; from Sentosa Cove to Marina Bay, it’s mainly sea view condos that carry the most prestige.

As such, the premiums for top-floor, sea view units can be as high as 20 per cent. This isn’t always great from an investment perspective, as this means you’re counting on the view being as significant as, say, having an MRT station nearby, or having freehold status.

Just note that if you are paying an absolute premium for a sea view unit, you’d want to make sure that it will remain unblocked for some time to come. There’s nothing worse than paying for a sea view only to realise that a new development will be blocking it in the future.

4. While sea views are generally the most preferred, Principal Garden shows that landed views may sometimes be underrated

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Based on our comparisons above, the projects with landed views have generally performed better, showing the greatest potential for appreciation. However, we should add that this may not be due to the view itself.

Many condos with a landed facing, such as Principal Garden, are also near – or encircled – by low-density residential zones. This removes the possibility of competing projects, which also adds to the potential gains. This can be as much a contributing factor as the view.

Finally, while the “best view” often means higher floors, don’t assume this is always the case

Sometimes, a 10th floor unit may offer a better view of the surrounding greenery than, say, units above the 15th floor. This could be because units that are too high have mainly “white space” for a view (i.e., you’re just seeing the empty sky, more so than the hills, trees, rock formations, etc.)

It’s also possible that some stacks offer better views on a wider range of floors. For example, stacks that face the backs of other buildings may not offer good views, regardless of whether you’re on the highest floor; but an adjoining stack, with better facing, may have great views even from the middle-floors and up. Do check out our guide , where we explain this in some detail.

Ultimately, if there’s one thing to glean from this – it’s always that each development is subjective – and you’ll have to do separate studies on each to get an accurate perspective.

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This article was first published in Stackedhomes.