Buying a private property in District 13

Updated: May 17


(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Date of Analysis: 23 December 2019

Period of data: Dec 2016 to Dec 2019

Number of transactions analyzed: 2297

(transaction data extracted from URA website)


District 13 is one of the districts within the RCR (Rest of Central Region) of Singapore. It comprises of few neighbourhoods such as Potong Pasir, Macpherson and Braddell. Some of the private properties in this region are The Poiz Residences, Sant Ritz and Leicester Suites etc. Recent new properties in the area are Park Colonial, The Tre Ver and The Woodleigh Residences


How do the private properties in D13 generally fare? Using box plots, here are the details for each of the properties in D13.


More box plots of other condominiums in this district (together with all the other districts) could be unlocked when you become a patron (https://www.patreon.com/datascienceinvestor)



To help you better understand the data, I will use The Poiz Residence as an example here. From the diagram, you can see that

Average price- $1411.9 psf

Median price- $1410 psf

Price at 25th percentile- $1361 psf

Price at 75th percentile- $1532 psf


I personally think that box plot is a good way to present the data. In this case, you can easily see the average price, median price, price at 25th percentile and price at 75th percentile from the plots. You could also tell at one glance how wide the spread of prices are for any of the condominium projects. Pretty neat, I will think.


The metric used here is $psf as it is a common indicator to reflect property prices.


The most expensive condominium in D13 is Ao Jiang Apartments with an average price of $2059.6 psf while the most affordable condominium in D13 is D'Almira with an average price of $996 psf. This is interesting as Ao Jiang Apartments is not a new development. In fact, it was built in 1987. Yet, its' prices are even higher than the new developments such as Park Colonial and The Woodleigh Residences in D13. It is a freehold though, so that might help the prices.

Now, let's take a look at the various scatter plots to have a better insight of how the property prices perform across 2297 transactions in the past 3 years.

First, a scatter plot of the $psf against date.


In scatter plot, we could derive r coefficient, which is used to explain the strength of the linear relationship between 2 variables. Since we are using $psf and date as the variables, r coefficient allows us to better understand how the $psf changes with time. To some extent, if the r coefficient is high, we could roughly assume that the $psf increases positively with time. The r coefficient (or much simply/loosely put, the gradient for the line of best fit) in the scatter plot above is 0.47. This generally means that the $psf is increasing rather well in the past 3 years. This is because new developments will usually bring up the $psf of the area as they are priced higher. This is also why your property usually increases in value when there is a new condominium development around your area.

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From this line of best fit, you could also better understand if you are "over-paying" for your property purchase (eg. if you property is above the line of best fit). Taking a quick glance at the scatter plot, your transaction will be on the high side if you are paying more than $1600 psf in Oct 2018. Of course, there could be many factors such as location, tenure etc that could influence your buying price. This is still a general assumption.


So, which projects perform remarkably well comparatively in the past 3 years?

The plot above shows a myriad of lines of best fit from various different projects in D13.


2 of the top performing projects from the graph above are The Tre Ver and 8@Woodleigh. The Tre Ver is a recent new development which was launched in 2018 with a $psf significantly cheaper than the other new developments such as Park Colonial and The Woodleigh Residences. 8@Woodleigh is a leasehold condominium project which was completed in 2012.


Next, how do freehold perform against leasehold during this 3 years period?

I have only included freehold transactions in this plot and you could see that the r coefficient of 0.28 is lesser than the r coefficient of 0.47 for the scatter plot with all transactions. This means that the freehold properties actually perform worse than leasehold properties in D13 and might not actually be worth the premium.


Also, how about apartments of various sizes? How do they perform against each other?

You could see that all the apartment sizes except for those below 500sqft perform rather similarly. This shows that most apartment sizes in D13 have similar performances over the past 3 years.

What you have seen above are largely data insights that we have derive using the various data science tools. But, what if we could actually use these insights to build machine learning model to attempt to predict the prices of the properties in D13 and understand if the prices the seller is asking for is reasonable? How could we do that?


We could try various different machine learning models to attempt to do so. Some examples of such machine learning models we could use are random forest and linear regression. They are methods which we could generally use to apply regression techniques to attempt to construct a linear relationship between price and various other variables (in this case, it will be project name, date of sales, size of flat etc). What we ultimately try to construct is a predictive model which allows us to have the highest confidence in prediction by attempting to reducing as much prediction errors as possible (think about Mean Absolute Error and Root Mean Squared Error)


If you are already feeling confused at this point of time, don't be as these information are highly technical in nature. You may read up more about them if you want to. Otherwise, I believe the information above in the box plots and scatter plots are more than enough for you to better understand the property prices in D13. I will also attempt to explain or illustrate more of this in a separate post in the future.


Running through all 2297 transactions through several machine learning models, I eventually achieve a model which provides me with suitable evaluation results (MAE of 27460, RMSE of 57220 and R2 of 0.987).


I then now try to put this machine learning model to practice and use it to determine what should be a reasonable price for the following property.


https://www.propertyguru.com.sg/listing/22023542/for-sale-bartley-ridge


Project: Bartley Ridge

Area: 969sqft

Floor level: Low (i'm going to assume it is from level 01 to 05)


Running through the machine learning model which I have created, the price I have obtained is $1,530,000 which is more than the asking price of $1,430,000. This might then suggest that the asking price is reasonable and might be a good bargain. But of course, more investigation will also be needed to look at other factors beyond these parameters.


Of course, the above example is just a glimpse of what is achievable as you could actually use it to determine a lot more property prices in the region. In the future, I will also consider uploading this machine learning model online so you could actually use it to determine/predict property prices based on this model. But that's a story for another day.


Now, with these data in mind, go be a data science investor!

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