Updated: Sep 5, 2020
When it comes to choosing a home in Singapore, most people would have their own preferences on the level they are willing to accept.
Chances are, the reasons are psychological or habitual.
Such as having stayed all their life on a high floor apartment, or having stayed in a landed property before and prefer being near to the ground.
In this article, let's examine the factors that you should really consider when choosing to stay nearer to the ground or up in the air.
Ready? Let's go!
Generally, high floor units are brighter with better ventilation than low floor ones as they get more access to the sun and are less blocked by their surroundings (Meaning more blue skies to enjoy!)
Does that mean you should always go for the highest unit available?
Pros and Cons when considering higher floor vs lower floor apartments
High Floor Advantages
1. Lower exposure to dust and insects
You will find that you can air the rooms alot more in the day and at night without overtly being concerned about dust from traffic or insects flying into the house.
Of course, it is not that creepy crawlies won't make their way up.. It's just most of them would find sufficient food and light (which they are attracted to) on the lower levels and be pretty satisfied. You don't want to move too much when full do you?
2. Lesser noise pollution
Units on a higher floor usually get alot less traffic and ambient noises.
However, let's qualify this by saying that you would have to be on relatively higher floors to enjoy this advantage. Especially units 15th storeys or higher. Units below that usually still hear some frequencies of traffic noise depending on the environment acoustics.
Example 1 High Floor: You may still hear people talking at the coffee-shop downstairs even if you are on the 15th storey.
It could be due to sound reflecting off the facade of the building opposite. And as there's no obstructions for sound moving upwards (Sound travels in all directions by the way. Not just upwards as the popular myth suggests.), it is not absorbed or deflected by any objects.
Example 2 Really High Floor: On the 29th storey of Bayshore Park, Jade Tower where my dad used to live, i found it dead quiet to the point of hearing a faint high pitch sound when sleeping in the room. I found it unbearable as i was used to some ambient traffic noise and hence had trouble sleeping.
Take note that, if you are buying a unit facing the insides of a condo facilities with other blocks surrounding the pool as well, this can create an echo chamber effect that reflects sound and reverberates (Meaning multiple reflections), hence amplifying the noise level.
Even for the higher floor units.
3. Better security compared to very low levels
Break-ins are less possible with higher floor units compared with ground level or low level ones.
4. Less electricity consumption
Windier with better ventilation
This is true as it gets windier on the higher floors especially when facing North or South wards.
It can get so windy and cool that clients have reported wearing their knitted sweaters even when it's not yet the year end monsoon season.
With less blockage by neighbouring blocks, you will experience more sunlight which will save you lighting bills and better drying of laundry without using the dryer.
5. More privacy
Naturally, as you are higher up, less neighbours look into your units and you can enjoy greater privacy with the curtains drawn more often.
6. Better Views
Most people would prefer unblocked views that are high up and with a lesser chance of getting obstructed.
Now, having said all these, there are advantages to staying on a low floor too!
Low Floor Advantages
1. Less time spent waiting for and in lifts
Research shows that we spend approximately 6 months in our lifetime waiting for and commuting in elevators. Won't it be great if we are able to regain that for precious other moments?
2. Safer for kids
With the kids learning to climb and not understanding safety risks yet, it will definitely be safer and give you more peace of mind to stay on lower floors.
3. Better pool views or greenery views
If you enjoy great greenery or pool views, it will not make sense to stay too high up where at eye level from your living room or bedroom, all you see is the blue sky.
These are some of my personal recommendations, after having seen thousands of homes over the years.
- Lower floors (7 and below) are generally what i recommend for pool view units as anything higher and you would have to be at the balcony in order to enjoy the view.
- Pool view units normally face a neighbouring block so it's important to check the distance between blocks to be sure it's not too close for comfort.
- It is a waste to buy a high floor pool view unit that faces your neighbours as you would end up spending most of your time looking into your neighbour's home.
- If you enjoy greenery views, you might not need to go too high up (And spend extra $$) as your focal point changes and you will see more blue skies than greenery.
To illustrate this, just imagine yourself in a cable car looking out. Not too much focus on the greenery now right?
So pick something just a few storeys above the canopy of the trees surrounding it and you get alot more greens than blues.
4. Lower cost than higher floor units
Lower units cost less and you end up saving the difference for something else, like your renovation!
5. Easier to move bulky furniture
If you're a fan of bulky furniture (E.g. Antique ones made of rare wood sources), you would find it alot easier and cheaper to move them into your home as the movers might need to either take the stairs or use a crane to bring it into your home.
Imagine staying on the 40th storey and having lifts that don't fit your beloved S$600K 16th Century Huang Hua Li bed frame.
6. Friendlier for pet owners
No matter how cute your dog is, there will bound to be neighbours who are afraid or prefer to avoid them totally. Being on the ground or low levels, you will easily be able to avoid situations with them.
Learning to choose a perfect home involves many more factors. Seasoned property investors can even select the best units by studying floorplans, sitemap and URA Masterplan alone.
In the meanwhile, if you would like extra help with selecting a good unit and someone who can advise and cover your blind spots, drop me a message!
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Stuart Chng, Senior Associate Executive Director of OrangeTee & Tie, is a renowned leader and personality in the real estate industry.
He adores music and can play a few instruments decently without upsetting his neighbours. When not doing so, he enjoys pillow fighting with his son and coming up with silly puns which barely amuses his wife.
Professionally, he is a licensed real estate agent, investor, team leader, speaker and columnist for several property newsletters and blogs and is often quoted in media interviews on 938FM, Channel 8, PropertyReport, PropertyGuru and other publications. Throughout his career, he has helped many clients grow their wealth through selecting great property investments and managing their portfolios actively. Read his clients' reviews here.