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How to be a Happy Property Buyer Part 1 | Planning Areas

Updated: May 17, 2020

In property purchase, one will always hear this saying that it’s all about location location location! In this article I will shine some light on how location works in Singapore real estate and how different segments perform during crisis.

If you have started reading up on real estate in Singapore you will likely come across the terms “CCR, OCR , RCR”.

What is it?

These 3 acronyms appear frequently in research articles, property articles, URA reports, news reports. These acronyms are commonly used in real estate to distinguish the different planning areas in Singapore which are as follows




Why is it important to know this?

Being familiar with these acronyms will help you understand price

trends when you read news or analyst reports. It helps you to quickly pick up and digest market movement in Singapore as a whole and get a good sense on the pulse of how the market is doing.

By understanding the characteristics of each planning region, it will be easier for you to identify if the property is priced correctly.

How does it work?

Each region consists of a number of districts which covers different locations.

Planning area in Singapore


District 9,10,11,1 ,2 ,6, Sentosa (part of district 4).

The CCR occupies the smallest planning area in Singapore.

It comprises the most sought after and affluent addresses in Singapore. This is where most high end luxury condos, prestigious schools and Grade A offices can be found.

The CCR is highly sought after due to its location which consist of exclusive neighbourhoods where only Good Class Bungalows can be built and it’s proximity to the Central Business District.

Some examples of prize properties found in the CCR includes

-The most expensive Penthouse in Singapore found in the Wallich Residences purchase by Sir James Dyson

- Apartments with unblock views of F1 Night race at South Beach Residences

- The World first Hermes apartment in the Marq on Paterson

Besides the swanky high end properties, investors often favour properties in CCR for the potential high capital gains and stable rental income. While CCR is home to the most expensive properties in Singapore, it is still possible to find good value properties here with relatively low entry prices.


Consist of areas within the central region just outside of CCR

Districts: 3,4,5,7,8,12,13,14, 15, 20

The RCR is often considered as a mid tier region which is still within the central part of Singapore but just outside of the CCR. Property prices in this region are traditionally lower than those found in the CCR, however with the different urban transformation projects that are taking place in some of the districts, the prices in RCR is catching up with those in the CCR.

One example is the growth area in Paya Lebar in district 14. The Paya Lebar Central, an area located at Paya Lebar Mrt has been transformed into a commercial hub which consists of Grade A offices, shopping malls and cool new condos. This transformation has driven up rental demand in the area and also property prices with some condo in the area sold at prices similar to those found in the CCR.


All other districts which are not in the central region, for easy classification I have further divide the districts into sub planning regions for easy reference in the table below.

The OCR occupies the largest planning area.

In this region one can find mass market condos and landed houses at lower price points. Some homeowners prefer staying in the OCR due to the laid back atmosphere and there are more options for big size condo projects with many facilities.

Big size nature parks can also be found in the OCR which makes it another draw to homebuyers who prefer to be close to nature and greens.

Property Prices in the OCR region can vary greatly due to the location, proximity to commercial hubs and transformation plans. For example properties in the Jurong region will be more expensive due to the government’s direction to develop it into a second CBD.

Punggol is also another district which rose in popularity among young families and also saw growth in it’s property value due to the government’s plans that developed the area into beautiful residential spaces that seamlessly integrated with park connectors and waterways.

The government’s plans to develop Punggol into a digital district also means JTC will be building business parks that will house key growth sectors of the digital economy. Locating these sectors in the District will bring approximately 28,000 jobs into the area, which implies a higher demand for residential properties in the area.

How did each region perform from 2007 to 2020?

The global financial crisis took place in 2007. By matching the transactions of homes bought in 2007 and resold on or before Quarter 1 of 2020, we arrived at the above figures.

One would note that CCR has the least volume in terms of transactions but it produced the biggest winners with the highest average gross profit, it also produced the biggest losers with the highest average losses.

Let’s makes sense of the data

1. Volume

The lesser volume transacted in CCR is due to its relative lesser supply in the segment compared to the number of units in the projects in RCR and OCR with bigger project sizes. The higher quantum (total price) of the property also limits the number of buyers who will make such purchasers compared to lower entry prices found in RCR and OCR properties

Properties in OCR has the highest volume in terms of transaction, this is likely due to the lower prices make it an attractive entry point for a bigger pool of buyers looking to buy for own stay and investment.

2. Profit and Losses

Properties in CCR enjoy the highest profit due to the element of exclusivity, affluent buyers with deep pockets are willing to pay high prices for one of a kind units. RCR and OCR properties though have lesser gross profit, also have less losses. This makes RCR and OCR properties safer investment options for those with a lower risk appetite.

With this analysis, the following will be some good insights for potential buyers.

Things to note if you are looking purchase a property in the different Regions

Buying a Property in the CCR

It is important to note which part of the CCR are you buying into . This is because, while the CCR is considered to be a prime region, not all addresses in the CCR is valued equally. If you hope to score a high capital gain on your property, besides buying within the CCR region, the quality, unique characteristic, architecture design, condo layout and views will play an important factor in contributing to the rentability and potential gains of the property.

Buying a Property in the RCR

With the transformation plans to create more commercial hubs in Singapore and also the rejuvenation of some areas, the RCR is a good place to look for properties that has high rentability and good potential for high capital gains. If you are looking to purchase a unit in the RCR to collect rental income, it would be wise to note that your rental yield should not be lesser than 3%.

Buying a Property in the OCR

Properties in the OCR usually yields a lower percentage of capital gain compared to CCR and RCR property due to the nature that there are more properties (options) in OCR. However the lower entry price makes it more accessible to a bigger pool of buyers. This means that when you purchase a OCR property, it will be easier to sell it as there will be a bigger pool of buyer who can buy it from you.

This means that OCR property is a good stepping stone for investor or property buyer who prefer to start off with a smaller investment amount. However once you start making gains in your OCR property it will be wise to upgrade to investing in RCR and CCR properties that can yield higher capital gains.

Hope the closing insight is helpful for your consideration! Have a burning question? Leave it in the comments below and I will be happy to answer!


About The Author

Chantel Teo is fiercely loyal, insatiably curious and always hungry.

A licensed real estate broker based in Singapore.

She has transacted properties with a combined value of more than $60 million, from Tanjong Pagar to Orchard to SengKang to Bukit Panjang. In the journey of helping her clients, buy, sell, lease and manage their properties, she has collected many stories and life lessons.

She writes as a form of catharsis and connection. Through her writing she hopes to share practical and useful insights as well as stories that can enrich her readers.

Buildings and houses is her passion and she has a special love for walk up apartments and buildings built before the 90s, probably because of the character, charm and history that comes with these buildings. Besides buildings that can stand the test of time, she also appreciates the cultivation of personal substance and character that endures.

One of her favourite quotes goes

“Character, in the long run, is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike” - Theodore Roosevelt. Her belief is that good character will be a solid foundation which she builds her career and the people around her.

When she is not hustling at work, she enjoys nice coffee, hearty meals, long walks and a good read. She also has a soft spot for all things furry.


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