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Outside noise could affect home prices

Outside noise could affect home prices.

Living close to major transport nodes may appear to be a boon, but flats that face above-ground MRT tracks or expressways could be disadvantaged in the resale market due to the noise.

With the help of property agency ERA Realty, The Sunday Times analysed a sample of 39 Housing Board flats in five locations - Pasir Ris, Marine Parade, Sembawang, Simei, Tampines - put up for sale between 2017 and this year. The transacted prices of units that directly faced noisy roads or MRT tracks were found to be generally lower by up to 22 per cent.

Said Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at ERA Realty: "Noise pollution can adversely affect the attractiveness of the property, leading to either a longer time to find a buyer or the seller having to lower the property price."

Over the past year, Mr Thomas Chua, 67, has been trying to sell his five-room HDB flat, which faces the Sembawang MRT tracks about 50m away.

Although the computer salesman's asking price is $390,000 to $410,000, comparable with or lower than the price fetched by similar flats in other blocks, no one is biting. HDB transaction data showed flats facing MRT tracks at Sembawang Close were about 5 to 6 per cent cheaper than neighbouring units.

For instance, a five-room flat located between the seventh and ninth storey in an HDB block in Sembawang Close and facing the MRT tracks was sold for $396,000 in July last year. The following month, a flat of the same size, also located between the seventh and ninth storey three blocks away from the tracks, was sold for $420,000.

However, a preliminary study of the average transacted prices of 14 random condominium projects across the island - between Jan 1, 2014 and Oct 23, 2019 - showed no conclusive evidence that noise significantly affected prices of condo units located close to MRT tracks or expressways, said Mr Pow Ying Khuan, senior analyst of real estate portal SRX. He said other factors including the prevailing market trends could come into play.

Of the 14 condo projects, only four clearly showed that average transacted prices of noise-facing units were lower than non-noise-facing ones in the same block, by up to 31.1 per cent. Property agent Daphne Phua, who is currently marketing five apartments at D'Nest and The Palette in Pasir Ris, which have units facing the Tampines Expressway (TPE), said most people are averse to noise from expressways.

However, there will be some bargain hunters. Ms Phua is currently selling a one-bedder facing the TPE at $638,000. Units that are not facing the TPE are priced between $650,000 and $660,000. For bigger units, the price difference can be up to $100,000, said Ms Phua.

Mr Thomas Tan, president of the Singapore Estate Agents Association, said noise is definitely a consideration when people look for a flat, but location is important.

"Everyone wants to be near the MRT station. It is convenient and also easy to rent if you decide not to live there. I don't think noise is a deal breaker," said Mr Tan. He cited another example of how people are willing to pay for flats with a great view even if they are facing the expressways.

"Flats along the ECP (East Coast Parkway) offer a fantastic view of the sea. The sea view clearly outweighs the noise factor in those flats, which usually fetch a premium price," said Mr Tan.

Adapted From The Straits Times, Oct 26 2019