Should you buy property in Singapore’s cursed town?

In recent years, Yishun has developed an unsavoury reputation for criminal and eyebrow-raising events – spawning heated online discussions that the neighbourhood might be ‘cursed’. This raises a serious question: Is buying a property in the area advisable?

With its string of strange happenings including cat abuse, murder, feuding taxi drivers, shopping mall stabbings, and falling concrete slabs (amongst others), Yishun has certainly racked up a fearsome reputation.

Even Netflix took notice of this back in 2017 and took the opportunity to promote the supernatural mystery series ‘Stranger Things’ to Singapore audiences.

Having been befitted with a spine-chilling nickname like ‘The Devil’s Ring’, is it any wonder why homebuyers are wary of purchasing a property in this northern town? Below, we explore if this sentiment is justified – and the key things to know if you’re considering making Yishun your home.

Is there really something wrong with Yishun?

There is nothing wrong with Yishun; its negative perception is driven by media coverage and confirmation bias. It’s a psychologically proven phenomenon that people tend to focus more on the negatives across a wide array of events – a concept known as the negativity bias.

There’s a fair share of good things that have happened in the neighbourhood as well. For example, back in May 2016, Yishun Primary School pupil Ashvin Gunasegaran, 12, rushed to help the victims of a car accident at the junction of Yishun Ring Road and Yishun Avenue 2.

Besides, bizarre events don’t only occur in Yishun. Stabbings also happen at Jurong East. There are plenty of cat abuse cases in Bukit Batok, Tampines, and Ang Mo Kio. More recently: the killing of a woman by a fallen tree in Marsiling Park.

The average property price in Yishun is on a steady climb

Property Category Type Property Prices psf (September 2010)/S$ Property Prices psf (September 2020)/S$ Percentage Increase/%
HDB 3-room 372 394 5.9
4-room 332 369 11.1
5-room 305 400 31.1
Private Non-landed private residential prices 628 1015 61.6

Information adapted from SquareFoot research Singapore, accurate as of 23 Feb 2021. Subject to changes.

To lend credence to the notion that there’s nothing wrong with Yishun: flat prices in the region have been rising steadily – in line with the general trend in Singapore. For instance, HDB 5-room flats in Yishun averaged S$400 psf in 2020, up from S$305 psf in 2010.

That’s an impressive 31.1% increase.

At its core, Yishun is a mature family-friendly area. There is no doubt that Yishun is well-connected with its proximity to 3 MRT stations (Yishun MRT, Khatib MRT, and Springleaf MRT). It’s also equipped with plenty of amenities (e.g. Junction 9) and educational institutes (e.g. Peixin Primary School and Chung Cheng Secondary School).

Yishun boasts attractive price points for first-time homebuyers

District Neighbourhood Average PSF/S$
25 Admiralty/Woodlands 766
27 Sembawang/Yishun 951
17 Changi Airport/Changi Village 1000
26 Upper Mandai/Upper Thomson 1040
23 Dairy Farm/Bukit Panjang/Choa Chu Kang 1042
22 Boon Lay/Jurong/Tuas 1043
16 Bedok/Upper East Coast 1063
18 Pasir Ris/Tampines 1122
19 Hougang/Punggol/Sengkang 1244
28 Seletar/Yio Chu Kang 1270
12 Toa Payoh/Balestier 1383
15 East Coast/Marine Parade 1416
21 Clementi Park/Upper Bukit Timah 1446
5 Buona Vista/West Coast/Clementi New Town 1493
8 Farrer Park/Serangoon Road 1531
14 Eunos/Geylang/Paya Lebar 1547
13 Macpherson/Potong Pasir 1593
20 Ang Mo Kio/Bishan/Thomson 1614
4 Sentosa/Harbourfront 1624
11 Newton/Novena 1764
3 Alexandra/Commonwealth 1936
1 Boat Quay/Raffles Place/Marina 2204
9 Orchard/River Valley 2256
2 Chinatown/Tanjong Pagar 2402
10 Tanglin/Holland/Bukit Timah 2477
7 Beach Road/Bugis/Rochor 2718

Information accurate as of 23 Feb 2021. Subject to changes.

If you’re like most first-time homebuyers, the down-payment will be the single biggest financial concern – particularly when you don’t have sufficient CPF savings and have to pay for it in cash instead. You can relieve at least part of that burden by opting for a flat in Yishun, which is home to some of the most affordable properties available in Singapore (average S$951 psf in December 2019).

Upcoming developments in the area could drive up capital gains

If you’re still on the fence, perhaps learning about the upcoming developments in the region would be of help.

First, a new integrated development in Chong Pang City is slated to be up and running by 2027. This development is expected to span 0.9 hectares and will feature pools, gyms, and new shops. Presumably, this is likely to drive up demand for flats in the region, which is known to raise prices.

Assuming you buy a property in Yishun in 2021, you’d have reached your Minimum Occupancy Period – and can sell it off for some serious capital gains. There are also 2 new upcoming nursing homes in Yishun, which might be of interest to young homebuyers concerned about their elderly parents’ healthcare needs. Speaking of this, it also doesn’t hurt that Yishun became Singapore’s first dementia-friendly town in 2016.

Make decisions based on budget and location

As with all property purchasing decisions, it makes the most sense to buy a house in growth areas accessible to amenities and attractions – and especially transport.

Yishun ticks all the boxes and is a viable option for budget-sensitive homebuyers. Regardless, buying a property is a significant financial commitment. Don’t forget to account for renovation costs when budgeting for your flat, so you don’t end up taking on more debt than necessary.


This article (and accompanying images and tables) were contributed by ValueChampion, a personal finance research firm in Singapore. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect’s.

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