Freehold landed homes under $3 million? Touring Tai Keng estate, the largest HDB town in Singapore

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Can you recognise this park? Hint: it’s in the largest HDB town in Singapore and 3 of the last 5 sales were under $3 million.

The area we’re visiting today is actually Tai Keng Gardens, as a reader requested a tour of Thrift Drive a while back.

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Fun fact: Tai Keng Gardens is in D19/Hougang, which is the largest HDB town in Singapore based on land area.

There’s actually quite a large area of landed houses here, ranging from terraces to detached units, so I’ll start by defining what we’re looking at: basically, the area bound by Jalan Lokam, Upper Paya Lebar Road and Lim Teck Boo Road. It’s actually next to Paya Lebar Crescent which I covered a few weeks back. 

Note: according to a reader who left a comment, the soil at Paya Lebar Crescent is Marine clay which would make it more costly to rebuild. I am not sure if there is a similar issue for Tai Keng Garden Houses too.

If you’re wondering about rental yield, the last 3 of 5 house sales were at under $3 million whilst the last 5 rental contracts ranged from $4,000 – $5,000.

Entrance off the main road (Upper Paya Lebar) into the estate. There are some shophouses across the road, where you can find auto shops and eateries such as Janggut Laksa, Geylang Prawn Noodles and a few other eateries with under 4 stars on Google so I won’t be mentioning them!
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Note: as Upper Paya Lebar is a busy main road (the emptiness above is misleading) it’s a bit of a chore to cross over, but there is an overhead bridge a few hundred metres to the right as well as some traffic light crossings.

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Photo to the right of the estate entrance so you can see that the road is indeed a busy one! 
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The vehicular entrance into the estate has 2 car lanes, so it shouldn’t get too jammed. There is also a mixed use development here – Kensington Square, which has everything from a bike shop to a turtle soup restaurant!
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As well as a mini mart, that opens from 8-11! 
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Opposite Kensington Square is a road that leads to Paya Lebar Crescent: the 2 estates are linked by a road with no line markings (i.e. visitors can park along that road.) There is also Ben Fatto, for private dining Italian but the waiting list is absurd. I emailed them a few weeks ago and the next vacancy is in either end 2023 or 2024. I forget exactly since both dates are so far off.
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Along the connecting road is “Our Children’s House International Childcare Centre” which has a 5 star rating on Google from 23 reviews (at the time of writing.)
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The fact that one can park along the connecting road (Paya Lebar Crescent) is handy as the houses opposite Kensington Square are terrace houses, so there’s not much space for visiting friends and family to park!
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Walking deeper into the estate, you can see that the area is quite spacious despite the fact that most of the houses here are terrace houses.
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I’m guessing that a lot of you clicked on this article because of the fact that 3 of the last 5 sales were under $3 million, so let’s have a closer look at the terrace units!

As you can see, there’s potential to maximise the plot ratio!
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You can park 1 or maybe 2 cars (if u don’t close your gate) in the terrace houses, which could be why the road is so uncluttered and I don’t see any bins being used to “chope” lots here. (See photo below.)
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 See how there’s still some space in front of the car? 
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Although some of the original condition houses may need a bit of sprucing up!
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Some of the corner units have quite large plots of land.
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One of the houses in the estate being rebuilt (but I didn’t see many construction projects, in general.) 
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Although most houses are terraces, there are a few larger properties – this one has quite a nicely. sized backyard!
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Walk a little further along and you can see some cranes in the distance. I presume those are for Tanjong Tree Residences@ Hougang, a BTO which was launched in Nov 2021 and is set to be completed in June 2026. It’ll comprise of 300 4 and 5 bedroom units spread across 4 blocks, with the highest floor being 12 stories.
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North of the BTO site is a plot of land that has been designated as a park and south of it is another site zoned for education use. (From what I can tell, there is no school on-site at the moment. The closest school would be Paya Lebar Methodist School, Primary, which is so close, it directly borders 53-87 Tai Keng Gardens!)

Surprisingly I didn’t hear any construction noise at all. Perhaps the team was taking a break when I visited? (I didn’t even realise they were building flats next door till I was doing research for this article!)

Currently there’s a small walkway that links the 2 areas, but I’m not sure whether that will change once the BTO has been completed.
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These houses are right next to the construction site. Doesn’t the one on the left with all the greenery and the fan on the balcony look like a terrific place to relax? (Maybe not when construction is in progress though!)
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This area has 5 parallel streets of terrace houses: Tai Keng Gardens, Tai Keng Terrace and Tai Keng Avenue.
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Note: Tai Keng Gardens is a super long U-shaped road thad leads on from Jalan Lokam and has 3 streets, also named Tai Keng Gardens, running perpendicularly to the main Tai Keng Garden road. It continues onto Jalan Mahir, a much shorter street.

Took this photo as I found the silver bar around the rubbish bin quite interesting. Never seen it before at other landed estates! (I spotted more than one at Tai Keng Gardens.)
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Peek down Tai Keng Terrace – as you can see, parking looks okay here too!
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Interesting alley between some of the houses, which leads to some stone steps. 
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Tai Keng Avenue and the curved bit of Tai Keng Gardens are the only bits where the roads feel a bit cramped, because there’s a bit of a curve, which reduces visibility when driving. (But nothing serious, unlikes some of the 99-year landed estates!)
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Can you see what I mean about how this bit feels a bit more crowded? This part of Tai Keng Gardens has a continuous white line, so visitors will need to venture to other parts of the estate to find parking.
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As you can observe from the photo above, the majority of the houses are still 2-storey buildings and have not been rebuilt. (Maybe because of the marine clay sand the reader mentioned in the comments? I’m not sure if he or she is right but it is definitely worth investigating before committing to a purchase, as the type of soil can substantially affect your re-construction plans and budget!)
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Walking a bit further down Tai Keng Gardens road brings us to the highlight of the estate – the playground and elevated viewing platform! 

The playground is surrounded by houses on all sides (Tai Keng Gardens, Tai Keng Lane and Jalan Lokam.) The ones in the photo above border the playground. The yellow one on the right looks so big it could almost pass for a small boutique condo, but it’s an optical illusion, as the house is actually a row of terraces, with the entrances located along Tai Keng Place (so there is no entrance to the house from this road.)
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This is the Tai Keng Gardens cul-de-sac that runs around the periphery of the playground – there is a continuous border of trees to separate the houses from the playground. (If I remember correctly, this is the only street that has such a long “hedge” to maintain the houses’ privacy (and protect it from the prying eyes of those who use the playground.)) If you walk right to the end, it opens onto a green field with a staircase leading to the recreational area/ playground. (It’s a dead end for cars though.)
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Playground on the right, another row of houses on the left (and, as you can see, no trees to separate the 2.) The playground cum recreational area is really large – I would say it is the highlight of the estate!
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There were quite a few people using it when I visited – more than I had seen at other landed enclave’s playgrounds, but it didn’t feel crowded as it spans such a large area.

Here’s a glimpse of the equipment at the playground (I couldn’t get a close shot as there were kids using it). Behind you, if you squint, you can see the elevated viewing point in the background. 
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There’s also a small covered platform for adults to sit and rest, whilst watching their kids play.
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Photo for you to gauge the distance between the playground and the houses (as playgrounds can  get noisy). I’d say this is decently spaced, with 2 car lanes separating them.
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Within the playground are some stairs that take you up to an elevated open space. I walked all round but couldn’t find any accessible access, unfortunately (no ramps for those using wheelchairs.)
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You can see the open space is quite elevated – it rises above the houses (I took this photo at the midway point.)
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If you find the steps too steep, you can also break the journey up with this flat path (but ultimately you will need to climb some steps so, as mentioned, not accessible for those on wheelchairs or using prams.)
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To the left of the photo are some orange outdoor equipment. They’re quite oddly shaped and positioned (tucked in a deserted corner), so initially I confused them with PUB machinery! (They appear to be located next to a power generator of sorts.)

After climbing the first flight of steps, I looked back and took a photo of the playground to show you exactly how expansive the space is.
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There is seating to break the climb, perfect for the elderly or those who are less fit! 
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The area at the top of the stairs is quite large, and partially covered. (There is also some more exercise equipment here.) It was really nice and breezy, I could see myself hanging out here in the evening if I was lucky enough to live in this estate!
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There is a free outdoor exercise class, Piloxing, held in this space every Sunday evening.

There’s also a map of the jogging route around Tai Keng Gardens here.
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 I decided to climb down via another route. This time, the stairs bring me down to Jalan Lokam. 
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Photo taken mid-climb down. Parking is allowed on this side of the park (along the other side, there were 2 yellow lines.)
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Apparently people decided to make full use of the fact that that they could park along this stretch! 
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Note: If my sense of direction proves correct, I believe that higher building in the distance is the industrial area that is next to Lim Teck Boon Road. It’s zoned for clean and light businesses, but note that the plot ratio is 2.5 so it could potentially be rebuilt into much taller buildings.

This brings us full circle back to this signage.
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Now that we’ve reached the end of our tour, how did you find this estate? I quite liked it! It definitely struck me as a very liveable area for the entire family, although the influx of 400 new neighbours (via the new neighbouring BTO) may have an impact on the peacefulness of the estate. I guess we’ll have to wait till 2026 to know for sure!

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Before we end the tour, I thought I’d share a photo of this part of Jalan Lokam, which is where my Mom’s family stayed for a few years (before I was born.) According to my relatives, it’s a nice place to stay, although they say the area is less spacious now that it used to be!

ALSO READ: Touring Braddell Heights estate: Freehold landed homes near 2 MRT stations

This article was first published in Stackedhomes.