Overheard two women talking while I was taking a fruit-break at the Novena Triangle (Novena Square, Square 2 and Tan Tock Seng Hospital), after hectic shopping for medicines for my mother at TTSH and general groceries for the family at Fairprice.
“Recently, there was an article in the Straits Times saying that the next Orchard Road will be Balestier Road,” said one.
(Huh, I thought, since when, and glancing at the speaker out of the corner of my eye, saw she was well dressed, well spoken but still was probably a property agent).
The other woman, probably a client-potential, made a non-committal response, at which the first then made a reference to the second woman’s mother-in-law’s property in the vicinity of where we were ie the Novena Triangle.
“Oh, it must be worth a lot more now, up several millions….”
I couldn’t hear the reply, perhaps the second woman was more circumspect than the first, seeing that apart from me sharing the dining counter at the fruit bar with them was an elderly man, also enjoying his fruit break.
But the first woman wasn’t letting go of the topic.
“It’s now worth several millions more, because Parkway’s new hospital is coming up…”
Hah? I wanted to say. That’s a new one!
From what I remember, when i was living behind what is now the Grand Hyatt, everyone was up in arms when Mt Elizabeth Hospital was being built. The very thought of a hospital in the neighbourhood was tantamount to what rental flats and dormitories for foreign workers signal to today’s house-proud home owners.
I also remember viewing new private high rises on Mandalay Road with the family when everyone thought it a dumb idea to buy a home facing parts of the run-down Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
Later, when a brother did buy a unit there, we all excused his foolishness as his having to be near his work, which happened to the TTSH!
Now, many years later and going by 1) what I overheard concerning Parkway’s appearance in the Novena triangle raising nearby property prices and 2) a Straits Times report about home-owners near Mt Elizabeth Hospital taking in medical tourists as paying guests, it seems hospitals are no longer viewed as pariah neighbours. Quite the opposite.
So, given this trend, rental flats and foreign workers’ dorms could one day boost the property values of their neighbourhood.
Mayb I should start house-hunting in Bukit Merah where one-room rental flats dominate 😉 and be ahead of the herd?