It’s been quite a journey touring all the 5 estates on the “cheapest freehold landed estates in Singapore” list. For those who are new, here’s a list that I’ve visited thus far:
To cap it off, Opera Estate is a huge estate bordering Frankel Estate. It’s so big I had to visit twice to properly view it and comprises the following streets:
- Aida Street
- Maria Avenue
- Carmen Street
- Carmen Terrace
- Dido Street
- Tosca Street
- Tosca Terrace
- Fidelio Street
- Figaro Street
- Dafne Street
- Swan Lake Avenue
- Lakme Terrace
- Norma Terrace
- Ernani Street
- Rienzi Street
- Jalan Khairuddin
- Jalan Bintang Tiga
- Jalan Terang Bulan
- Terang Bulan Avenue
- Taman Siglap
- Jalan Bangsawan
- Metropole Drive (Not marked on URA Space as part of Opera Estate but given that the streets above and below it are, I’m assuming it is too)
- Jalan Tua Kong (Not market on URA Space as part of Opera Estate, but with the symbol of the estate on the street sign so…)
Opera Estate is bordered by New Upper Changi Road in the North and Bedok South Road in the East (past which lies some light industrial buildings). The West and South are a bit more complicated as this landed enclave is shaped like the number 7, but basically, you can find Siglap Road and several condos such as Flamingo Valley, Park East Condo and The Hacienda around the West and South of the estate.
I was rather surprised when I saw Opera Estate on the list as I had always thought of it as quite an expensive area. This impression was reinforced by the sizeable houses I saw walking around the area. If you can get one of the detached homes here for $3 million and under, I’d be very, very surprised.
A quick Google search showed that whilst there are houses going up to $11 million – which anyone would be hard-pressed to label affordable – there are also a few “gems” in the area going for $3 million plus:
Fun fact: Someone nabbed a bargain in the middle of last year, paying $2.2 million for a 2,286 sq ft house on Dido Street! Apparently, it was purchased without a viewing! Also, looking at the sales records of Opera Estate showed that the last three sales were under $3 million. It seems that Opera Estate has houses that cater to people with a smaller budget as well as those with more to spend.
I find this helps to make the Estate feel more spacious – in an area like MacPherson Garden Estate where 99 per cent of the houses are tiny, everything feels super squashed. However, even though there are small and more affordable options in Opera Estate, the smaller houses are interspersed with bigger ones, and hence the entire enclave feels much more spread out and welcoming.
Walking around Opera Estate, I had a good enough impression to visit it twice – (whilst more densely packed than Teachers Housing Estate ) it is nonetheless waaaaaaaaay more open than MacPherson Garden Estate and even Thomson Hills Estate. Just look at the difference in the two linear parks next to Opera Estate (top photo) and MacPherson Garden Estate (bottom photo):
Even the alleyway between the houses and the commercial units at Opera Estate (top photo) is almost twice that of MacPherson Garden Estate (bottom photo)!
However, whilst the roads are quite wide at Opera Estate, a lot of residents park on the roadside and because the roads are pretty busy (some even have buses going through!), driving through the estate is quite a hassle.
Even at 7am in the morning when you drive through the estate, you’ll see on-coming cars in your path every few minutes driving straight at you. It’s not the most relaxing drive, really, since many drivers in Singapore are quite aggressive.
(The road here is actually wider than the ones which I had issues with – at least here, the cars are allowed to park as it’s a dotted white line and the roads are a bit wider – there were quite a few narrow streets which had single/continuous white lines and tons of cars parked on the roadside resulting in meandering traffic.)
Located in the Northern part of the estate near Jalan Bangsawan is a row of quaint shophouses and you can find yuppie cafes such as Baker & Cook (a bakery with outlets at Bugis & Dempsey) and Black & Ink (Western food I believe) there.
(I was pretty impressed by the fact that Baker & Cook was open at 730 on a weekday morning! It’s a nice feeling when you can stroll down the street and grab a leisurely breakfast.) There is also Saffrons (Indian Muslim food) and Plank Sourdough Pizza.
Further down South near Jalan Tua Kong are more shophouses, which house the famous Springleaf Prata and an upmarket Halal-certified butcher, Zac Butchery. I love landed estates with shophouses within them, as it makes the area feel like a village.
Indeed, Opera Estate seems to have quite a good community (which you associate with village life)- none of the areas I’ve lived in has ever given out free tingkats, for one!
Supermarkets are also conveniently located as residents can cut out from Terang Bulan Avenue, cross New Upper Changi Road, and find themselves at NTUC in eight minutes. It’s also a mere 10-20 minutes stroll (depending on which street you live on) to Bedok Mall, where you can find Baskin Robbins, Best Denki, Cotton On, Guardian and many other shops.
As for public transport, there are several MRT stations around the estate (Bedok MRT, Siglap MRT, Kembangan MRT) – so most houses should be around 10 minutes walk from one. Since the buses practically come inside the estate, it’s safe to say that bus access is not too bad as well!
There is a very small park within the estate – it is probably too small for the number of houses one can find in Opera Estate but more outdoor exercise machines line Siglap Linear Park which brings you all the way down to Marine Parade Road. This park is actually one of my favourite things about Opera Estate as it makes a lovely, relaxing place to promenade.
Star Learning Centre, Opera Estate Primary School and Football Field lie within Opera Estate, so the houses closest to these educational institutions may have an issue with noise.
Apart from one small reserve site next to Aida Street, there doesn’t seem to be any empty pieces of land around the area, so major construction shouldn’t be an issue. (Note: since some of the landed houses are still single-story buildings, it’s safe to say that there will be demolishing and rebuilding of the landed houses.
However, given the lack of empty plots of land, massive construction projects shouldn’t be a concern in the near future. Well not unless The Hacienda condo en-blocs – it is a walk-up apartment built in 1986 so it is getting on in years!)
Having viewed the five different landed enclaves on Stacked’s “cheapest, freehold” list, Teachers Housing Estate and Opera Estate tie as my favourites, I prefer the feel of Teachers Housing Estate but the problems that arise from being located in a valley (humidity/ ponding/ lack of wind/ upcoming construction etc which kind commenters have brought to my attention) make Opera Estate a much more practical choice.
Moreover, unlike Thomson Garden Estate, Opera Estate is mostly surrounded by other landed houses so you don’t find as many tall buildings looming over you, except for the Northern part of the enclave (Jalan Terang Bulan) which borders the Chai Chee HDB blocks. I did a quick search of the neighbouring estates and some for similarly priced freehold landed houses (i.e. around $3m) so don’t forget to look at those too, if Opera Estate is an area you’re interested in.
Much as I like Opera Estate, some parts of it aren’t right for everyone. For example, I have a friend who would definitely say NO to living next to the cemetery! The key, in my opinion, would thus be doing your research and choosing the right street on Opera Estate (assuming it’s within the budget of course!)
And that’s the end of my affordable freehold landed estate series! If you’d like me to explore more landed estates in Singapore please leave a comment below!
This article was first published in Stackedhomes.