I have spent nearly 2 years in my new HDB flat.
This is a good time to share my 2 years of experience living on the lowest floor of a HDB. I hope this is helpful to anyone considering to buy a low floor HDB.
tldr: Low floor HDB has no problem that you think it has. It is great, and very value for money.
The fears of low floor units
When we balloted for HDB, we did prefer high floors.
But our queue number was way behind, so by the time we get to choose, only 4 units were left.
The leftovers, or course, were all units on storey 2.
Many people didn’t like low floors, because of fears like the following:
- Rat, cockroaches and other insects could invade the house easily
- Hotter, less windy
- Smellier (especially near drains or rubbish chute)
- Views not nice
- Litter thrown from neighbours above
We asked a few friends who had lived on storey 2, and they didn’t reckon those fears. And so went ahead and selected one of the leftovers.
It is a good decision.
I will debunk some of the fears. But first, let’s look at the cost.
Cost of each storey
For my estate (Yishun Natura), it is an average of $3,000 increment for every higher storey.
My neighbour staying on the highest at 15th floor pays a premium of $40,000 over my 2nd floor unit. That works out to be a hefty $3,000 per storey.
IMO, that premium is overpriced, and can be used instead for improving the interior.
Debunk the fears
Before I moved into my new HDB flat, I lived with my parents on the 11th floor, for 25 years. So I do have ample of experience living in a high floor unit.
Compared to living on the 2nd floor of my own HDB flat, my conclusion is:
There is NO clear cut advantages from a high floor unit. The hefty premium is not worth it, so if I will to buy again, I will choose a low floor.
The interior, environment and location of a house makes a big difference.
Not how high or low it is.
There is NO increase in insects
There isn’t more lizards, cockroaches, or any insects in my apartment.
Even though I can hear crickets in my garden clearly, they seem to respect our privacy. Or they are scared of humans.
Ants do appear, but that is only when you have food lying around. It is the same on high floors. (I have also seen rats on high floor. Apparently, city rats know how to take the lift.)
It is NOT hotter
It is true higher units will be windier. But higher units could also be hotter.
This is because higher units have less time, if not at all, under the shadow.
On the contrary, my low unit is often in the shadow, thanks to the tall HDB flats around. It it is actually cooler. But it is probably less windy.
Yet, my service yard is windy, which I believe is all because of the direction it is facing.
On any case, when Singapore is very hot, so the only viable solution, for everyone, is to switch on the air-conditioner.. It doesn’t matter which floor you are staying at.
It is NOT Smellier
My unit is nearest to a big long kang (drain). That was my biggest worry when we select the unit.
Would it be smelly? Would there be mosquito? Would the drain overflow??
Turned out, there is no detrimental effects at all.
I have never smell a thing.
In fact it is quite spectacular when it rains.
Advantage: The Garden View
A benefit of my low floor is having a garden view.
It is even better than high floor views, IMO.
When you are on high floor, you get to see further. You will probably see roads and cars, and more high rise buildings, and trees and parks. You get a grand view, from afar.
For low unit, you get to see up close.
It is fun to see the people walking in the garden, students playing with nuff guns, children playing hide and seek, and people walking their dogs.
They are literally few feet away.
When there are dogs in my garden, I will bring my baby to the window to look at it. We will be so close that the dogs can see us too! There were even times we chatted with our neighbours in the garden.
All in all, I think I like my garden view better. It gives better people watching experience, compared to a scenery view on high units.
This is an advantage of low unit that I didn’t expect.
Advantage: The stairs
I climb the stairs more often, since it is manageable to climb 2 storeys (our B1 is car park and also shortest way to bus stop).
It is in fact faster than to wait for the lift, so I save time. And I get healthier.
In 2 years, the lift had broken down 3 times, so there are times you will say thank god I stayed on level 2 only.