More executive condo would be launching in second half of this year to meet the rising demand in Yishun. This would include The Brownstone EC and The Criterion EC, The Signature At Yishun EC. Existing executive condo in the vicinity includes Skypark Residences. More than 17,000 new residential units – both public and private developments – will be added to Yishun by the next few years.
As of June 2013, the HDB has launched 10 Build-To-Order (BTO) projects and one Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) project, providing a total of 9,500 units. These include Yishun Greenwalk, DBSS Adora Green and Vista Spring.
Seven private housing sites yielding close to 3,300 units were also awarded to private developers for executive condominiums/condominiums and landed housing developments.
Apart from these projects, there is also the 920-unit North Park Residences, a condominium with one- to five-bedroom apartments ranging from 431 sq ft to 1,432 sq ft. It is part of the Northpoint City development.
Mr Mohamed Ismail, chief executive of PropNex Realty, one of the firms selling the North Park Residences, foresees that younger buyers from the ages of 25 will be interested in the Residences, which is located in Yishun Central.
He says: “Younger buyers these days tend to say, ‘Give me a lifestyle and I will pay.’ They are willing to trade house size for a conveniently located development.”
The new residents seem to agree.
Ms Vania Lim, 30, moved into a three-room flat in Adora Green last year with her husband.
She likes the green necklace that surrounds her estate – Yishun Pond is a stone’s throw away, which makes for a scenic exercise route, and she also likes it that there are several young couples among her neighbours, whom she can relate to.
“There are also plenty of food options in the neighbourhood and three supermarkets within walking distance,” she says.
While some residents interviewed say Yishun’s new vibrancy has also resulted in more human traffic, which translates to more crowded bus interchanges, trains and buses, they acknowledge that the precinct has become a more exciting place to live in, with upcoming developments to look forward to.
Long-time Yishun dweller Foo Wang Cheow, 60, remembers a time when Yishun used to be a cluster of kampungs.
In the early days, Mr Lim Nee Soon, who lived from 1879 to 1936, had owned large pineapple and rubber plantations in the area.
Chinese immigrants whom he hired as labourers in his plantations soon settled down in the area and formed villages and kampungs.
Mrs Foo recalls living in one of these kampungs and helping her father sell his homemade cheng tng – the Chinese soup dessert with ingredients such as longans, barley and lotus seeds.
The housewife says: “It was a noisy, bustling and exciting place. People reared pigs and poultry and many also grew vegetables and fruit to sell.”
In 1984, when the town started to be developed – it was one of the earliest towns developed by the HDB – the newly married Mrs Foo moved into a four-room flat in Block 750 Yishun Street 72 with her husband.
“There were no buses near our home then, much less a bus interchange. There was also no MRT station yet,” she recalls, adding that bus services began many months later and Yishun MRT station commenced in 1988.
Yishun continued its slow transformation until 1992, when two game-changing developments took place.
Frasers Centrepoint opened Northpoint Shopping Centre, Singapore’s first heartland mall. That same year, cinema operator Golden Village launched its first cineplex, GV Yishun, with 10 cinema halls and 2,400 seats.
Now, Yishun’s rejuvenation is also attracting visitors from other neighbourhoods.
Ms Shirley Marlando, 31, one of the founders of Holy Cow Creamery, says that while her clientele consists of Yishun residents, the shop also sees people from Sembawang, Woodlands and as far as Jurong.
Maybe that is why Mrs Foo has no plans to leave.
She has lived in the same flat for the past 30 years with her husband, now 61, and 33-year-old son. Her married daughter also lives in the estate so as to remain close to her.
“Yishun has really become a convenient place to live in over the years and this will be where I retire,” says Mrs Foo.