New Launch Review: The Garden Residences vs Affinity at Serangoon – Battle of the Northeast Titans

The property fever in the North-eastern part of Singapore is rising. Two big residential developments in District 19 – The Garden Residences and Affinity at Serangoon are launching at the same time. If you are still undecided on which new project, fret not, as SPK is here to help the readers with my new launch review.

Picture1 

Location, Location, Location

Picture2

The Garden Residences and Affinity at Serangoon are located within close proximity to each other. The Location of The Garden Residences is closer to the Serangoon Garden area and the development is designed in such a way that a majority of the units get to enjoy the unblock landed view looking towards the Serangoon Garden area.

Affinity at Serangoon is located to the East of The Garden Residences, on the site of the former HUDC – Serangoon Ville site. The development is on an elevated piece of land and residents get to enjoy unblock landed view towards the East and South of the development.

In terms of accessibility, Garden Residences is located further away from the main road – Yio Chu Kang Road. The nearest bus-stop that residents at Garden Residences can go to is the one along Serangoon North Ave 1, which only has a feeder bus – 315 that goes to Serangoon Interchange. At Affinity, residents have access to more bus services via the bus stop along Yio Chu Kang Road on the Eastern boundary of the development.

Project Summary

Picture3

If you would like to get a unit in the area, but not sure which development and unit type to choose, the comparisons that I have done below should help you make a better-informed decision, hopefully!

The 1-Bedroom Comparison

Picture4

  • Layout of the 1-Bedrooms at Garden Residences and Affinity are similar, just like any other typical 1-BR units in the market today
  • The size of a typical 1-Bedroom at Affinity is 463 sf, slightly bigger in size than that at Garden Residences, which is 452 sf
  • At Affinity, the 1-Bedroom units are distributed across all 7 high-rise blocks in the development, whereas at Garden Residences, the 1-Bedroom units are all contained within a single block – Blk 1 within the development
  • DESIGN CONSIDERATION: Buyers should look out for the following key differences in the design:
    • A/C Ledge: 1-BR units at Garden Residences have bigger A/C ledge than those at Affinity.
    • Balcony: On the other hand, 1-BR units at Affinity have bigger balconies. On a lesser-of-two-evils comparison, having a bigger balcony would probably be a better deal than having a bigger A/C ledge.
    • Main Entrance: Garden Residences has a better main entrance design. The developer has allocated space on the right side of the entrance to allow buyers to fit in a full-height storage cabinet and the open kitchen is recessed and partially kept out of sight from the main door.
    • Master Bedroom: Garden Residences appears to have a wider Master Bedroom space than Affinity.
    • Living/Dining: On the other hand, Affinity seems to have a bigger living and dining area than Garden Residences. Trade-off between having a bigger living area or MBR, something for buyers to decide.
  • PRICING:
    • Garden Residences: Indicative pricing for 1-Bedroom units starts from S$788,000 or approximately S$1,750 psf
    • Affinity: Indicative pricing for 1-Bedroom units starts from S$738,000 or approximately S$1,600 psf

SPK’s Verdict – Most of the time, during my review of 1-Bedroom units, layout efficiency is an important criteria because, given the very small area, a poorly design unit may result in wastage of precious space and amplify the small, crampy space. On the hand, a well-design unit will create a visual effect that makes the unit looks bigger in comparison to a poor design unit of the same size.

From a design perspective, the 1-Bedroom units at Garden Residences seems to be better designed. Considerations were given to space planning that caters to the needs of occupants living in the unit, such as the design of the entrance & kitchen area and MBR space.

But from a pricing and investment strategy perspective, the 1-Bedroom units at Affinity seems to be better choice for investors. Pure simple math – Getting a bigger area for cheaper price. Buyers at Affinity are effectively paying close to a 9% discount in comparison to the 1-Bedroom units at Garden Residences. For a projected yield of 3%, a unit at Garden Residences will need to be rented out at close to S$2,000 a month, but buyers of 1-BR at Affinity will only need to rent at S$1,850 per month to achieve the same yield. Hence, buyers at Affinity can always offer tenants at lower rental rates than those units at Garden Residences, without compromising their yields and this should make it easier for a buyer at Affinity to secure a tenant.

 

The 1-Bedroom+Study Comparison

Picture5

Picture6

  • Layout of the 1-Bedroom+Study at Garden Residences and Affinity are similar.
  • The size of a typical 1-Bedroom+Study at Affinity is 538 sf, slightly bigger in size than that at Garden Residences, which is 517 sf.
  • Affinity also offers a “premium” 1-Bedroom+Study layout with size of 603 sf. This layout comes with a bigger study room that could accommodate a queen size bed. This layout is comparable to a 2-Bedroom compact unit.
  • At Affinity, the 1-Bedroom+Study units are distributed across all 5 high-rise blocks in the development, whereas at Garden Residences, the 1-Bedroom+Study units are all contained within a single block – Blk 1 within the development.
  • DESIGN CONSIDERATION: Buyers should look out for the following key differences in the design:
    • A/C Ledge: 1-BR+S units at Garden Residences have bigger A/C ledge than those at Affinity.
    • Balcony: 1-BR+S units at Garden Residences also have bigger balcony than those at Affinity.
    • Master Bedroom: Garden Residences appears to have a wider Master Bedroom space than Affinity.
    • Living/Dining: On the other hand, Affinity seems to have a bigger living and dining area than Garden Residences. Trade-off between having a bigger living area or MBR, something for buyers to decide.
    • Toilet Access: 1-BR+S units at both Garden Residences and Affinity come with dual access doors and one of the access is from master bedroom. An important difference between the 2 layouts is the 2nd toilet access. At Garden Residences, the 2nd toilet access is from the study area. As visitors are more likely to access the toilet via the door in the study area, this makes it inconvenient for the owner to enclose the study area and make it into a second room. But at Affinity, the 2nd toilet access is from the living/dining area. Hence, a buyer can enclose the study area to make it into a small room, without affecting access to toilet.
  • PRICING:
    • Garden Residences: Indicative pricing for 1-Bedroom+Study units starts from S$898,000 or approximately S$1,740 psf.
    • Affinity: Indicative pricing for 1-Bedroom+Study units starts from S$848,000 or approximately S$1,580 psf.

SPK’s Verdict – For the 1-Bedroom+Study units, the verdict is obvious. In terms of design, 1-BR+S units at Affinity are more efficiently designed with more usable space. Moreover, buyers can have the flexibility of enclosing the study area to make it into a second room. In terms of pricing and size, 1-BR+S units at Affinity offers bigger unit size at cheaper price. Hence, for 1-BR+S units, I would choose to put my money on a unit at Affinity.

 

The 2-Bedroom Comparison

Picture7

Picture8

  • The comparison between 2-bedroom units at Affinity and Garden Residences is an interesting and not-so-straightforward one! It probably reflects the shrewdness of one of the developers! Please read on…
  • At Garden Residences, the developer offers a compact 2-Bedroom layout with typical area of 614 sf. Layout is considered efficient. Buyer can consider enclosing the open kitchen and there are open space beside the main entrance that can be utilized to build storage area. Price for a 2-BR unit at Garden Residences starts from S$1.08 mil or S$1,760 psf.
  • At Affinity, a buyer looking for 2-bedroom unit would have more options to choose from:
    • For a budget-constraint buyer: There is a “premium” 1-Bedroom+Study unit at Affinity that the buyer can consider. The study area can be enclosed and fit a queen size bed, hence it can be considered as a proper room (without windows though). Typical size of this layout is 603 sf and if assume a psf rate of S$1,580 psf (the starting price for 1-BR+S), price of the “premium” 1-BR+Study will probably starts from S$950,000, which is significantly cheaper than the starting price of S$1.08 mil for a 2-BR at Garden Residences!
    • For a valuedriven buyer: Why pay S$1.08 mil for a 2-BR at Garden Residences when I can get a 2-BR+S for only S$988,000 at Affinity? Yes, you can get a bigger 2-BR+S unit with area of 624 sf at Affinity, and at a cheaper price too. This option will appeal to a value-driven buyer.
    • For someone looking for a more luxurious 2-BR: There is a premium 753 sf 2-Bedroom unit at Affinity that comes with a kitchen layout that allows buyer to enclose the space and 2 toilets within the unit. Price of a premium unit starts from S$1.12 mil, slightly higher than the S$1.08 mil starting price at Garden Residences. But on a psf basis, the premium 2-BR unit at Affinity is priced at S$1,490 psf, whilst Garden Residences’s 2-BR units are priced at S$1,760 psf

SPK’s VerdictOxley, the developer of Affinity, has thoughtfully considered the needs of different groups of buyers and has provided multiple options for buyers who are looking for 2-BR or similar units. The availability of choices at cheaper prices should appeal better to buyers. Hence, for 2-BR units, I would choose to put my money on a unit at Affinity.

 

The 2-Bedroom+Study Comparison

Picture9

  • At Garden Residences, the 2-Bedroom+Study unit has a typical size of 689 sf. It comes with a kitchen layout that allows the buyer to enclose the open kitchen. One design aspect of the layout which I couldn’t appreciate is the positioning of the common toilet door that faces the study area. Anyone who wants to use the common toilet would have to walk past the study area. Hence, the enclosing of the study area is not feasible in this design. I would have preferred to have the toilet door opening facing the open kitchen. Starting price of a 2-Bedroom+Study unit at Garden Residences is S$1.18 mil or S$1,710 psf.
  • Once again, Affinity offers more options to buyers who are looking for 2-BR+S units:
    • For a budget-constraint buyer: As mentioned in my 2-Bedroom comparison, there is a 2-BR+S compact that has a smaller typical size of 624 sf as compare to the 2-BR+S unit at Garden Residences. But this unit type at Affinity comes at a much lower starting price of S$988,000 as compared to the S$1.18 mil starting price at Garden Residences.
    • For someone looking for a more luxurious 2-BR+S: Affinity can offer buyers something different. There is a “premium” 2-Bedroom+Study unit with a typical size of 732 sf. This unit comes with a study area which buyer can enclose, a luxurious master bedroom size with a walk-in wardrobe. Assuming a psf rate of S$1,580 psf (same as compact 2-BR+S), the price of this premium 2-BR+S unit will start from S$1.16 mil, and this is comparable to the starting price of the 2-BR+S unit at Garden Residences.

SPK’s VerdictIn terms of design, the 2-BR+S units at Garden Residences are less appealing to me, simply because of the toilet door positioning. On the other hand, the 2-BR+S units at Affinity offer efficient layouts and there are different layout and size options to cater to different buyers’ appetite. Moreover, pricing of the 2-BR+S units at Affinity are cheaper in comparison to the units at Garden Residences. Hence, for 2-BR+S units, I would choose to put my money on a unit at Affinity.

 

The 3-Bedroom Comparison

Picture10.jpg

Picture11

  • At Garden Residences, the 3-Bedroom unit has a typical size of 797 sf. It comes with a kitchen with a window that allows for open flame cooking and the layout allows the buyer to fully enclose the kitchen. Two of the bedrooms can fit in queen size beds whilst one of the bedrooms can only fit a single bed. There is no yard of utility room provided. Starting price of a 3-Bedroom unit at Garden Residences is S$1.38 mil or S$1,730 psf.
  • At Affinity, there are three types of 3-Bedroom units that are available for buyers to choose from:
    • For a budget-constraint buyer: Affinity offers a compact 3-BR layout with a size of 850 sf. This layout comes with an open kitchen and all 3 bedrooms can fit in queen size beds. Even though the size of the 3-BR compact layout at Affinity is bigger than the 3-BR unit at Garden Residences, the starting price of the 3-BR compact at Affinity is still cheaper than that at Garden Residences. Prices start from S$1.3 mil or S$1,530 psf.
    • For someone looking for a more luxurious 3-BR: Affinity also offers premium and deluxe 3-bedroom layouts for buyers to choose from. The premium 3-bedroom unit is designed with a kitchen with a window that allows for open flame cooking and the layout allows the buyer to fully enclose the kitchen. All 3 bedrooms can fit in queen size beds. In addition, the premium units come with a yard and utility room and the master bedroom has a luxurious size. The deluxe 3-bedroom unit offers a larger living and dining area that is suitable for buyers who like to host guests at their places, in addition to the design features that the premium layout offers.

SPK’s VerdictIt is a close call between the 3-BR at Garden Residences and compact 3-BR at Affinity. The 3-BR at Garden Residences will appeal to families who cook whereas for those don’t and like bigger rooms, Affinity will be a better option. From an investor’s point of view, having bigger bedroom sizes might be more appealing to them, since the bigger bedrooms can cater for more occupants in the unit. Moreover, pricing of the compact 3-BR units at Affinity are cheaper in comparison to the units at Garden Residences.

Affinity also offers premium and deluxe 3-BR units that are more luxurious than the ones offered at Garden Residences but these units are likely to be more expensive than the 3-BR at Garden Residences due to the big unit sizes. Nonetheless, Affinity offers a good variety of choices for 3-BR units for buyers to choose from. Hence, for 3-BR units, I would choose to put my money on a unit at Affinity.

 

The 3-Bedroom+Study Comparison

Picture12

  • 3-Bedroom+Study units are only available at Garden Residences. The unit type is efficiently designed, being able to accommodate 3 bedrooms and a study area within a floor area of 904 sf. All 3 bedrooms can fit in queen size beds. The study area can be enclosed to become a guest room/maid’s room/ utility room.

SPK’s VerdictAmong the different unit types at Garden Residences, the 3-BR+Study layout is one of the best within the development. At starting price of S$1.58 mil, I believe that it costs less than the deluxe and premium 3-Bedroom unit at Affinity, hence providing good value to buyers and investors.

 

The 4-Bedroom Comparison

Picture13

Picture14

  • At Garden Residences, the 4-Bedroom units are designed to be one of the most luxurious unit types within the development. It comes with a private lift and lobby, a junior master bedroom with attached toilet and dry and wet kitchens. There are a total of 3 bathrooms within the 4-bedroom unit. The typical size of the 4-Bedroom unit at Garden Residences is 1,195 sf and prices start from S$2.18 mil or S$1,824 psf.
  • What are the options available at Affinity? You might be surprised to find out that the condominium blocks at Affinity do not offer 4-Bedroom units (except for the 5 penthouse units with 4 bedrooms)! But for buyers looking for a bigger unit, Affinity offers something different and unique – a 3-level strata landed unit that comes with 4 bedrooms and 2 private car park lots. Total area of a typical 4-BR strata landed unit is 2,045 sf, almost double the size of the 4-BR unit at Garden Residences but price starts from S$2.38 mil or S$1,160 psf.

SPK’s VerdictThe 4-BR units at Garden Residences are designed to be luxurious units. Prices are not cheap and the target market is likely to be an affluent group of buyers. However, it seems like Affinity has something of better value to offer to this group of affluent buyers – a strata landed 4-bedroom unit with 2 private car park lots and bigger unit area. On a psf basis, the strata landed units look like a bargain. Hence, for 4-BR units, I would choose to put my money on a strata-landed unit at Affinity.

 

The 4-Bedroom+Study Comparison

Picture15

  • Whilst the 4-Bedroom units at Garden Residences are designed to be luxurious, the 4-Bedroom+Study units are more for value-conscious buyers. The typical 4-Bedroo+Study unit at Garden Residences has a size of 1,119 sf, smaller than the 4-Bedroom units. The units do not come with private lift and dry kitchen, but the developer managed to put in a study area despite the smaller size. The layout looks similar to the 3-Bedroom+Study unit type, but with an additional room that can accommodate a single bed. Prices of 4-Bedroom+Study units start from S$1.928 mil or S$1,720 psf.
  • At Affinity, their 4-Bedroom+Study units have a more luxurious design in comparison to the units at Garden Residences. All bedrooms can fit in a queen size bed and the living/dining area opens out to the large balcony and the entire space is good for hosting home functions. The window at the study area allows ventilation and natural lighting. The size of the master bedroom is luxurious. A typical 4-Bedroom+Study unit at Affinity has an area of 1,453 sq ft and the price starts from S$2.15 mil or S$1,480 psf.

SPK’s VerdictThe comparison between the 4-Bedroom+Study units in Garden Residences and Affinity is a tough one. The 4-BR+S unit at Garden Residences is efficiently designed and more affordable than the unit at Affinity. If budget is not a constraint, the 4-BR+S unit at Affinity would stand out due to its more luxurious design. It’s a draw between the 2 projects. The design of the 4-BR+S units at both developments are equally good and hence, the budget of the buyer should be the key deciding factor in the selection process.

 

The 5-Bedroom Comparison

Picture16

Picture17

  • At Garden Residences, the 5-Bedroom units are also designed to be one of the most luxurious unit types within the development. The 5-Bedroom unit at Garden Residences comes with a private lift and lobby, walk-in wardrobe in the master bedroom, bathtub in the master bedroom toilet and all 5 bedrooms are able to fit in queen size beds. Size of a typical 5-Bedroom is 1,539 sf and price starts from S$2.58 mil or S$1,676 psf.
  • Not sure if this is a coincidence or a shrewd tactical move by Oxley. But as Keppel Land and Wing Tai chose to position their 5-Bedroom units as the most luxurious units in Garden Residences, Oxley choose to outdo its competitors by designing 5-Bedroom units in the form of strata landed housing. A similar strategy that Oxley had adopted in the 4-Bedroom space as discussed earlier. The design is similar to the 4-Bedroom strata landed units, but with an additional room in the basement and bigger area. Area of typical 5-BR strata landed unit is 2,325 sf. Assuming that it is priced at similar psf as the 4-BR strata landed units, then each 5-BR strata landed unit could cost S$2.7 mil or more.

SPK’s VerdictJust like the 4-BR units at Garden Residences, the 5-BR units are designed to be luxurious units. Prices are not cheap and these units are targeted towards the affluent group of buyers. But once again, it seems that Affinity has something of better value to offer – strata landed 5-bedroom units with 2 private car park lots and bigger unit area, at a marginally higher price. A strata-landed unit is more unique and offers better prestige than a typical condominium unit. Hence, for 5-BR units, I would choose to put my money on a strata-landed unit at Affinity.

 

I hope readers have found this review useful. For those who have submitted cheques for balloting, I shall wish you all the best to get your dream unit. For those who have been contemplating, I hope this review has helped you to come to a decision.

Cheers!

SPK

Advertisements

4 reasons why a new launch review on Amber 45 is not necessary

Last week, a reader asked me whether I will be doing a new launch review for Amber 45.

Amber-45-2

I would have loved to do a new launch review for the benefit of my readers here. But, I was thinking to myself: Is it necessary?

It was obvious to me that Amber 45 will be selling like hot cakes and probably a new launch review would not be necessary, for the following 4 reasons:

  • Location, Location, Location – The location of Amber 45 needs no further introduction. This project is located in the popular Amber Road condo enclave, near Parkway Parade and with a lot of F&B options and amenities nearby. The future Marine Parade MRT Station and the new underground mall is only 550m away from the development.
  • Enbloc, Enbloc, Enbloc – Since the start of the enbloc craze last year, six developments in District 15, particularly the Amber Road and Meyer Road area, had been sold enbloc, creating 413 multi-millionaires. The timing of Amber 45 launch seems just nice for these folks who are seeking for a replacement home.
  • Rising prices – With the redevelopment of nearby Amber Park going for as high as S$2,600 psf, Amber 45 looks like a steal. Would you want to buy now at S$2,200 psf, or buy later at S$2,600 psf?
  • Value for Money – With the Phase 2 launch of the 99-year Seaside Residences hitting S$2,000 psf, buying the freehold Amber 45 at S$2,200 psf might seem a good value proposition. Moreover, Amber 45 is located nearer to city with more amenities around.

This is probably why UOL Group managed to sell 80% of the units at Amber 45 over the first weekend of launch.

New Launch Review: Are the 1-BR and 1+S at The Tapestry good for investment?

Tampines Avenue 10 is already a well-established private residential area, well served with a neighborhood retail centre near Tampines West Community Club, schools, and recreational areas (Bedok Reservoir). SRX has done a very nice drone video of the area:

And at such attractive price point, there is no doubt that The Tapestry will appeal to families who are looking to upgrade from HDB to a private condominium.

What about for investment? The absence of MRT and shopping centre within short walking distance may make the idea of buying a unit there for investment questionable. There might not be a big catchment for tenants here given that there is only an industrial area nearby. But it might surprise you that the 1-Bedroom and 1+Study units of the completed developments in the area are doing decently well in terms of rental demand and yield.

Rental

The table above shows the number of rental contracts and average rental rates of the condominium in the area from January 2017 to January 2018. This information has been extracted from URA. Do note that under URA’s classification, a 1+Study unit is also considered as a 1-Bedroom unit.

It is to my surprise that there is a good demand for 1-Bedroom and 1+Study units in the area. During the period, there were 110 units rented out, which translates to 38% of the existing completed stock of 1-Bedroom and 1+Study unit in the area. 2-Bedroom units seem to be more popular, with 177 units rented out during the same period, but as a % of the existing completed stock of 2-Bedroom unit in the area, the number of units rented out is 21%, less than that of the 1-Bedroom unit.

Moreover, there are only 472 units of 1-Bedroom and 1+Study apartments in the area, whereas, for 2-bedroom units, there are a total of 1,095 units in the area. With healthy rental demand and less competition among 1-Bedroom and 1+Study units in the area, it looks like 1-Bedroom and 1+Study at The Tapestry are good investment choices.

1 Bedroom and 1+Study units command an average rental of around S$1,750 per month. This translates to a gross rental yield of 3.5% based on the starting prices of S$600,000 for 1-Bedroom units at The Tapestry. This gross yield is considered decent and in line with the yield in the property market today. As market experts are anticipating rentals to bottom-out and recover this year, The Tapestry could potentially enjoy a better rental yield by the time it achieves TOP.

 

What are the available 1-Bedroom and 1+Study in the area?

Out of the existing 6 condominium developments in the area, only 3 developments – Q Bay, The Santorini and The Alps, offer 1-bedroom and 1-Bedroom+Study units targeting the property investor market. I estimate that only approximately 13% or 472 out of the 3,660 units in the 6 developments are 1-BR and 1+S units. Developers had generally positioned their developments to capture the upgrader’s market in the Tampines area and hence, unit sizes tend to be bigger to cater for families. The property investment market is under-served in this area.

Let us take a look at what are the 1-BR and 1+Study options in this area for investment:

 

Q Bay

Q Bay offers 78 units of 1-BR and 47 units of 1+Study, out of a total 630 units in the project. Typical size of a 1-BR unit is 527 sq ft and 1+Study is 517 sq ft. Personally, I like the layout of the 1-BR and 1+Study units at Q Bay as they are very efficient with minimal space wastage and no unnecessarily big air-con ledges and balconies. They are of a very comfortable size for own-stay but in today’s context, the sizes are considered ‘big’ as typical unit sizes of 1-BR and 1+Study have shrunk to 500 sq ft and below in the new norm.

The per square foot price of a 1-BR and 1+Study at Q Bay ranges from S$1,200 psf to S$1,300 psf in today’s market. Even though it may be cheaper than The Tapestry on a per square foot basis, but due to the bigger unit size, it might cost a buyer as much as S$50,000 more to buy a 1-BR or 1+Study at Q Bay instead of The Tapestry. I would expect the incremental rental income from the bigger unit size to be minimal, if not, none at all, since tenants in this area are likely to be middle management level without a big budget for accommodation.

Qbay

 

The Santorini

There are 165 1-BR units at The Santorini, out of the total 597 units in the entire development. The typical size of a 1-BR unit is 463 sq ft (open kitchen concept) and 527 sq ft (enclose kitchen concept). In terms of layout, the smaller 1-BR unit layout is typical of most 1-BR, but this layout comes with a long and narrow balcony that runs from living room to the bedroom, meaning that the actual usable area is much lesser.

For the bigger 1-BR unit, having an enclosed kitchen differentiates this unit from the rest of the 1-BR in the market. But one might question if there is really a need for an enclosed kitchen in a 1-BR unit. I feel that the developer could have tweaked the internal layout and design the existing kitchen area as a study room and have an open concept kitchen outside. That might have made the unit look more attractive to me. Just like the smaller 1-BR unit, this bigger unit also comes with a big balcony. And this unit also comes with 2 aircon ledges and a small planter on the balcony. Hence, the actual usable area will also be significantly lesser than the strata area.

In terms of pricing, the 1-BR units were sold at S$1,150 psf to S$1,200 psf on average during the initial launch and the price quantum is in the range of S$550,000 to S$650,000 per unit for most of the units. This was the pricing 2-3 years ago during the launch of the project. There aren’t any transactions made for 1-BR units during last half year. The current asking price for the 1-BR units on PropertyGuru is around S$1,250 psf to S$1,300 psf. The big sizes of the balcony and aircon ledge in the units should be taken into consideration when comparing the prices of the 1-BR units in the area.

Sant

The Alps

The Alps has 56 units of 1-BR apartments and 126 units of 1+Study apartments. There are more 1+Study units in The Alps, probably because the developer – MCC Land took into consideration that its earlier project The Santorini did not have any 1+Study units when designing The Alps. The typical size of a 1-BR unit at The Alps is 441 sq ft to 463 sq ft (with a long living room). The typical size of a 1+Study unit is 506 sq ft.

Without much surprises, the 1-BR and 1+Study units do come with big aircon ledge that runs across the entire bedroom’s window width and the balcony seems to be almost 75% of the size of the living room. This point about a high proportion of non-useable balcony and aircon ledge spaces is something that I point out earlier about The Santorini, another MCC Land’s project.

The 1-Bedroom units were sold at S$1,100 psf to S$1,200 psf on average during the initial launch and the price quantum is in the range of S$500,000 to S$550,000 per unit for most of the units. The 1+Study units were also sold at S$1,100 psf to S$1,200 psf on average during the initial launch and the price quantum is in the range of S$550,000 to S$600,000 per unit for most of the units. As The Alps was only launched in 2016, buyers are subjected to the 4-year SSD rule if they had bought during the launch.

The Alps

 

Is the 1-BR and 1+Study units at The Tapestry better investments than the ones in surrounding projects?

Yes, the 1-BR units and 1+Study units at The Tapestry are considered better choices for investments for the following reasons:

  • Good affordability
  • Efficient and functional layout
  • Less area wastage from aircon ledge
  • Better preservation of value as it is developed by a renown developer
  • Comprehensive list of fittings provided – cost embedded in price and finance by mortgage, also means lower ‘upfront’ capex for renovation upon TOP, improving returns

If you missed my earlier review of The Tapestry, click here to read!

New Launch Review: The Tapestry @ Tampines

x00 - logo

The long-awaited blockbuster new launch of the year is finally coming! The Tapestry, a 861-unit condominium developed by City Developments, is due to launch this coming weekend!

Is The Tapestry a good place to call home? Is The Tapestry a good investment? Should you be bringing your cheque book down to the launch this weekend?

Let us explore more below.

x01 - the_tapestry_tampines_condo_cdl_hero_shot_landing

A Well-established Location for Private Housing

The location of The Tapestry needs no further introduction. The Tapestry is located along Tampines Ave 10 and close to Bedok Reservoir. Around the area, there are already 5 private condominiums and 1 executive condominium. This area is a well-established location for private housing. In the area, we can find plenty of schools – Primary, Secondary, Polytechnic and International School. Neighborhood retail amenities at Tampines Street 81 is a short 10-min walk away. The nearby retail warehouses – Ikea, Courts and Giant are just 6 min drive away from The Tapestry. For outdoor lovers, the Bedok Reservoir is also approximately 10-min walk away from The Tapestry.

The empty plot of land across the road along Tampines Industrial Ave 2 is zoned for future industrial development. The Tapestry is probably the last plot of land in the area that is left for private condominium development. There is another plot of land along Tampines Ave 10, beside United World College but this land is zoned for Executive Condominium development. Tender for this land will be held in May 2018 and this future EC is likely to be launched only in mid-2019.

The nearest MRT Station that serves this area is the Tampines West MRT Station that connects to the Downtown Line, but it will take 20-min to get there by foot. Nonetheless, the well-connected road network allows residents to access to different parts of Singapore easily. Tampines Ave 10 serves as a major arterial road that connects to TPE (towards the East) and PIE via Bedok North Road (towards the West).

x02 - Map ZO

What are the strength and weakness of the Condominium?

Strength

  • A well-designed project that caters to market demand
  • Well-established location for private housing
  • Plenty of schools in the area – Primary, Secondary, Temasek Polytechnic, United World College
  • Neighborhood retail amenities and large retail warehouses – Ikea, Courts and Giant nearby
  • Probably the last site in the area for private condominium
  • Bedok Reservoir is nearby for recreational activities
  • Low entry price point
  • Developed by CDL – the top developer in CONQUAS ranking
  • Constructed by Woh Hup – the top contractor in CONQUAS ranking

 Weakness

  • Long walking distance to MRT station
  • Lack of a shopping mall in the area

 

Developed by CDL, Build by Woh Hup, Quality can be assured

The Tapestry is developed by one of the biggest developers in Singapore – City Developments Ltd. CDL has been ranked as the top developer in Singapore under the Construction Quality Assessment System (CONQUAS) developed by the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA). CONQUAS assesses the quality of workmanship in structural works, architectural works, and mechanical and electrical works, by sampling a representative number of units in a housing development. Several of CDL’s projects such as The Glyndebourne, Tree House, Nouvel 18 and Hundred Trees are also rated among the top projects in Singapore, in terms of construction quality.

The main contractor for The Tapestry is Woh Hup. Woh Hup is a highly reputable construction firm and it has also been ranked as the top contractor under CONQUAS.

At The Tapestry, buyers can be assured that they are getting a condominium of high quality.

x05 - BCA

 

Analysis of Surrounding Condos

In the area, there are already 5 private condominiums and 1 executive condominium.

x03 - Map ZI

The unit distribution of these developments is shown in the table below, with some of my observations.

x04 - unit dist

  • There is a total of 3,660 units in this area from 6 projects, including The Alps which is still under construction
  • Majority of the units in the area are 2-Bedroom and 3-Bedroom units. There are 1,095 units of 2-Bedroom and 2+Study apartments, i.e. 30% of the total units in the area. There are 1,598 units of 3-Bedroom and 3+Study apartments, i.e. 44% of the total units in the area
  • There are only 472 units of 1-Bedroom and 1+Study apartments in the area, i.e. 13% of the total units in the area. These units are typically bought for investment purposes
  • This doesn’t come as a surprise since the developments here primarily target the HDB upgraders’ market and families and hence developers tend to build bigger units

 

Site Plan and Unit Distribution

Below is my review of the site plan:

  • Most of the blocks are at least 30 m apart from each other
  • Car entry is via Tampines Street 86
  • The inwards pool facing units are the most premium units
  • A lot of landscaping, pools and facilities surrounding the entire development
  • The smaller 1-BR/1+S units are all located at Blk 51 and 61 that are nearer to Tampines Street 86
  • Bin Centre and Substation are located beside Blk 51
  • There will be a future place of worship beside Blk 51
  • Carpark ingress and egress are also located next to Blk 51
  • CDL has cleverly put the small units in Blk 51, knowing that the small units are sellable despite the ‘negative’ attributes of the block location
  • Majority of the units do not have issues with the evening sun. Units along Tampines Ave 10 will receive some evening at an angle, but these units do enjoy an unblock view towards Tampines Quarry

Site Plan

Looking at the unit mix and sizes table below, The Tapestry has a higher proportion of the smaller 1-BR, 1+S and 2-BR units and smaller proportion of the bigger 3/4/5-BR units than the other projects in the area. This is probably to fill the shortfall gap of these smaller units in the area. The developers for the older condominiums such as Tropica, Waterview and Q Bay built a lot more of the bigger 3/4/5-BR units in the area. CDL is targeting the segment that has been underserved with pent-up demand.

unit mix

Unit Layout Review

After comparing the different unit layouts at The Tapestry against the other surrounding projects’ layouts, my conclusion is that the developer CDL has made the effort to study and understand the other condominiums in the vicinity and then design a project to offer unique design, layout and sizes that are lacking in the area. All in all, CDL has put in the effort to make sure that The Tapestry can meet the requirements of buyers and offers what other surrounding condominiums can’t provide.

Below is a review of the various typical layouts at The Tapestry:

1BR

1+S

2BR

2BRP

3BR

3BRP

4BR

5BRDK

 

Pricing

Indicative pricing for The Tapestry is listed in the table below:

The-Tapestry-Price-and-Maintenance-Fee

You might think that pricing at The Tapestry does not look cheap. But if we consider the recent land sale prices in the collective sales market, I would think that The Tapestry is fairly priced.

Among the surrounding condominium developments, the supply in the secondary market is low. Santorini and The Alps were launched in 2015 and 2016 respectively and buyers of these projects are still under the 4-year seller stamp duty restriction period. Other projects like Waterview and Q Bay tend to have bigger units and hence, higher price quantum. The Tapestry would probably appeal to buyers who are focusing on affordability and the price quantum of a unit.

Moreover, the Tapestry is the last private condominium in the area (excluding the EC land that will be launched later this year). This might be the last chance for someone who wants to buy an affordable unit in the area.

CDL is also generous in its fittings. The list of definitely looks impressive and gives buyers a feeling of good value for money:

  • Wireless SMART Home System
    • 1 smart home gateway with built-in IP camera
    • 1 smart home voice assistant
    • 1 digital lockset
    • 1 main door sensor
    • 1 lighting control
    • 2 air conditioner controls
  • Haiku designer ceiling fan
  • Teka Cooker Hood
  • Hob
  • Oven (Teka combi steam oven for 4/5 BR)
  • Refrigerator
  • Washer Dryer
  • Kitchen and Bathroom wares from Grohe and Duravit

 

Early buyers of The Tapestry to benefit from Sim Lian’s Tampines Court project

After the launch of The Tapestry, we might have to wait for another 1 to 2 years for the next condominium launch in Tampines to happen – Sim Lian’s Tampines Court project.

According to a report from DBS, the estimated breakeven selling price for Sim Lian’s project is around S$1,160 psf, higher than the estimated breakeven selling price of S$1,065 psf for The Tapestry. This would probably mean that Sim Lian is likely to launch the Tampines Court project at a higher price than The Tapestry. It may be around 9% higher if we compare the difference in the breakeven price for the 2 projects. If there is no major shock to the property market within the next 2 years, we can expect buyers of The Tapestry to benefit from a paper gain when the Tampines Court project launches.

 

Why you should keep a close watch on The Tapestry launch

You might not be interested in The Tapestry. But nonetheless, it is important to keep a close watch on the pricing and sales performance of The Tapestry. Why?

Singapore residential property market has been overly-hyped up by all the media reports on enbloc deals, recovering residential prices and rentals. The expectation of a strong pick-up in the residential market has already been set in the mind of property buyers. Now it is the time to see whether this expectation translates to actual property sales transactions.

The Tapestry is the first major new project launch in 2018 and this project should be a bellwether of the Singapore property market, particularly the mass market segment, for the year ahead.

 

To find out whether the 1-Bedroom and 1+Study units are good for investment, please continue reading by clicking this link!

New Launch Review: Parc Botannia @ Fernvale

With the launch of Parc Botannia, one of the last major launch of the year, happening soon, let’s spend some time to review on this project before bringing your cheque book down to the showflat.

Parc-Botannia-Condo-Fernvale1

Project Details on Parc Botannia

Details

How good is the location?

If you do a quick search on ‘Parc Botannia’ using Google, you will be able to find many property agents’ website that can provide you with details on the amenities surrounding Parc Botannia. So let’s not spend too much time on the details of what is around Parc Botannia and jump straight in a review of the strength and weakness of the location:

Strength

  • Located on the quieter side of SengKang West, lining along side the land houses at Jalan Kayu. Provides a sense of exclusivity
  • For young families, there are many primary schools within a 1km radius
  • Daily/Weekly necessity shopping can be done easily at nearby Seletar Mall (1 LRT stop away) or Greenwich V and Compass One (which are slightly further)
  • Thanggam LRT station is conveniently located beside Parc Botannia
  • There are many interesting F&B options in the area, such as Jalan Kayu, The Oval @ Seletar Aerospace Hub and nearby malls
  • Public recreational areas and facilities such as Punggol Promenade and SengKang Sports Centre are within short jogging distances. Good for families and sports enthusiasts
  • Easy access to town via CTE and airport via TPE by car
  • There will be a new road that provides shorter access from Fernvale Road to Jalan Kayu and residents can avoid the congestion along the narrow Jalan Kayu Road
  • Parc Botannia is close to business/industrial areas such as Seletar Aerospace Park and Ang Mo Kio Industrial Estates. Many big MNCs such as Rolls Royce and Airbus are located there. For investors, there should be healthy rental demand

Weakness

  • Public transportation is not well developed in the area at the moment. Residents rely heavily on LRT to get around place. But the bus network in the area should improve as more residential projects are developed

Verdict: Overall, the location of Parc Botannia offers a very well-balanced mix and varieties of amenities, accessibility, and facilities that cater well to all age groups from single adults to young families.

Other than High Park Residences (located next to Parc Botannia; fully sold) which offers similar attributes, other nearby projects tend to attract another group of buyer segment. H2O Residences, RiverTrees Residences and Riverbank @ Fernvale (located to the East of Parc Botannia and along Sungei Punggol River) tend to cater more towards a lifestyle and sports enthusiast crowd due to proximity to the river, park connector, and sports centre.

What are the future development plans in the area?

Master Plan

There are a couple of things to take note, relating to the future developments in the area:

  • There will be a public park between Parc Botannia and High Park Residences, which provides a green buffer between the 2 developments. South facing units of Blk 16 and 18 will be at a good distance away from High Park Residences and enjoy the park view
  • 2 new educational institutes will be built next to Parc Botannia, most likely to be secondary school or private school. There are already ample primary schools in the area
  • The land to the north of Parc Botannia is zoned for future residential development with plot ratio of 2.1. Considering that these sites are adjacent to the TPE, it is likely that these developments will have some set-back requirements from the TPE, multi-storey carparks facing the TPE and residential units along the side of Fernvale Street. If this happens, the north facing units of Blk 10 and 12 would eventually lose their unblock view towards the Seletar Airport area
  • Towards the South-west of Parc Botannia, there is a plot of land along SengKang West Way that is zoned for future commercial and residential development. Another small community mall could be built in future to give more shopping options to the residents of Parc Botannia

Verdict: Future developments in the nearby surrounding area look positive and beneficial to the residents in the area and Parc Botannia is likely to benefit as well. Buyers of the north facing units of Blk 10 and 12 may end up facing some other developments in the future, but well, this is probably a norm rather than the exception in a land-scarce city like Singapore, isn’t it?

How does the Site Plan look like?

Parc-Botannia-Site-Plan-1024x694

  • Vehicular access to Parc Botannia is via Fernvale Street. Access to TPE will be a breeze in future
  • There are side gates at the south-east corner (for access to LRT) and south (for access to public park) perimeter of the development
  • Car park is in the basement
  • Clubhouse, gym and majority of the recreational facilities are tucked at the western section of the development, probably due to building set-back requirements because of proximity to the landed houses beside
  • BBQ pits are located in between (1) Blk 10 stack 2 and Blk 12 stack 45 and (2) Blk 2 stack 12 and Blk 18 stack 34/35. For the lower floor units, do take note of potential noise and bbq smell
  • No indication of bin centre and substation on the site plan, but they seem to be located at the north-west end of the development, beside the main gate
  • Tennis court is located at the eastern part of the development
  • There will be a childcare centre located within the development
  • Majority of the units have open views and good spacing distance from the direct opposite block

Verdict: Parc Botannia comes with standard condominium facilities like most condo projects, but probably some of its selling points are the childcare centre within the condo which makes it convenient for the working residents and the large open recreational space for children to run around safely.

What is the Unit Distribution?

Unit Mix

Parc Botannia has a total of 735 units and a summary of the unit mix is given below. Please take note that the estimated pricing is based on indicative pricing that was obtained from online sources.

  • 1-Bedroom
    • 67 units (9% of total units), typical size of 431 sq ft
    • Estimated average price of S$600k or S$1,397 psf
  • 1+Study
    • 126 units (17% of total units), typical size of 506 sq ft
    • Estimated average price of S$685k or S$1,355 psf
  • 2-Bedroom
    • 206 units (28% of total units), typical size of 581 sq ft (compact) to 667 sq ft (premium)
    • Estimated average price of S$800k or S$1,361 psf for compact
    • Estimated average price of S$872k or S$1,308 psf for premium
  • 2+Study
    • 63 units (9% of total units), typical size of 786 sq ft
    • Estimated average price of S$1.0 mil or S$1,277 psf
  • 3-Bedroom
    • 189 units (28% of total units), typical size of 872 sq ft (compact) to 980 sq ft (premium)
    • Estimated average price of S$1.10 mil or S$1,256 psf for compact
    • Estimated average price of S$1.23 mil or S$1,262 psf for premium
  • 4-Bedroom
    • 63 units (9% of total units), typical size of 1,152 sq ft (compact) to 1,281 sq ft (premium)
    • Estimated average price of S$1.35 mil or S$1,174 psf for compact
    • Estimated average price of S$1.50 mil or S$1,174 psf for premium
  • 5-Bedroom
    • 21 units (3% of total units), typical size of 1,453 sq ft
    • Estimated average price of S$1.65 mil or S$1,137 psf

In terms of unit mix and distribution, it seems like the developer had carefully thought through it and came out with a pretty balance mixed of small units (26% of 1-bedroom, 1+Study) catering to investors, medium size units (37% of 2-bedroom. 2+Study) for singles and young families, as well as big units (37% of 3/4/5 bedrooms) for bigger families/extended households.

The smaller units of 1-Bedroom and 1+Study could be found in Blk 10, 12 and 18. These units face the north and will enjoy unblock Seletar Airport view, provided no new developments come up in the plot opposite. The bigger 3/4/5-bedrooms units are located at the corners of each block, which gives these units 180 degrees viewing directions and good ventilation within the units. The developer has also made the bigger units more conducive for families by giving most of the bigger units pool view or landed/garden view.

Blk 16 should be considered the ‘premium’ block, with 8 units per floor, garden/landed views and away from the road. This blk would cater more for families as it contains only 2/3/4-bedroom units. Blk 10, 12 and 18 have 9 units per floor. The premium 4/5-bedroom units come with exclusive private lifts.

Verdict: It seems like the developer has put in effort in its development planning to cater to the different groups of buyers and designed according to their different needs. It would also make sense from a risk management perspective by targeting a wide catchment of different buyers.

What about the unit layouts?

Generally, the layouts across all unit types at Parc Botannia can be considered efficient and well-designed with regular shapes, decent size rooms, and do not have overly excessive big balcony and aircon ledges. Sizes are optimal, i.e. not too small that compromise on quality of life and yet not too big and over-luxury that buyers have to pay a high price. Some of the minor points that buyers might want to take note would include big entrance walkway area and lack of natural ventilation for toilets of smaller units. But many would consider this as what we typically see in development these days and hence, no cause for concern.

Below are SPK’s comments on the layout of the typical unit types for readers’ reference:

1BR
1-Bedroom
1+S
1-Bedroom + Study
2BRC
2-Bedroom Compact
2BRP
2-Bedroom Premium
2+S
2-Bedroom + Study
3BRC
3-Bedroom Compact
3BRP
3-Bedroom Premium
4BRC
4-Bedroom Compact
4BRP
4-Bedroom Premium
5BR
5-Bedroom Premium

 

How does Parc Botannia compare to High Park Residences?

High Park Residences is developed by a consortium of Singapore developers – Chip Eng Leong, Heeton and KSH. This project was launched in July 2015 and on the first weekend of sales, nearly 1,100 units were snapped up out of a total 1,399 units. What could have driven such strong sales? It was most likely due to the low price quantum and affordability of the units. A studio/1+study cost between S$425k to S$486k on average, whereas a bigger 3-bedroom unit costs only S$929k on average. Average selling price per sq ft for High Park Residences was only S$963 psf back then.

HPR

In terms of unit mix, High Park Residences have more mid-size units (2BR, 2+Study), with a total of 595 units that is equivalent to 43% of total units. Larger units are also dominant in this project, with 570 units of 3/4/5 + Semi-d and Bungalows, equivalent to 41% of the total units. The remaining are small studio/1+study units, with a total of 225 units that is equivalent to 16% of total units. In terms of % unit mix, this seems lower than the 26% of 1-BR and 1+Study at Parc Botannia, but in terms of the absolute number of units, both projects have approximately similar numbers of units at around 200 each.

HPR vs PB

Let’s do a side by side comparison between Parc Botannia and High Park Residences. On a like-for-like comparison, similar unit types at Parc Botannia are mostly bigger in size compare to units at High Park Residences, with some unit types as much as 25% bigger in the area. The average price per square foot at Parc Botannia is also approximately 30% more expensive than High Park Residences. A combination of bigger unit sizes and higher price per square foot resulting in the absolute price of a unit at Parc Botannia costing 35% more than a similar unit type at High Park Residences on average.

Does it mean that High Park Residences is a better buy? In terms of price, High Park Residences is obviously a better choice. But in terms of value, we would need to look beyond pricing alone. Let’s look at some other metrics to compare. In terms of land area per unit, High Park Residences has a ratio of 128 sq ft of land area per unit in the development, whereas, for Parc Botannia, the ratio is 252 sq ft of land area per unit, almost double that of High Park Residences. What does this tell us? It simply means that Parc Botannia is less densely populated than High Park Residences and probably the intangible benefits of a more exclusive, less crowded and quieter environment would be able to justify a premium for Parc Botannia. In addition, unit sizes at Parc Botannia are more luxurious in comparison and it would be a better choice for long-term owner occupation.

We use an example to illustrate this. Let’s compare Martin Modern and Starlight Suites in District 9. These 2 projects are beside each other. Martin Modern is a new 99-year leasehold luxurious project whereas Starlight Suites is a Freehold compact development completed in 2015. Martin Modern is able to command premium prices of around S$2,300 psf but Starlight Suites, despite being a freehold project is selling at S$1,800 psf to S$2,000 psf. It is probably the perceived value that really matters rather than the absolute price.

Verdict: Whilst High Park Residences was designed to sell, Parc Botannia, on the other hand, was designed to live. Both developments cater to a different group of buyers and Parc Botannia does have its own unique selling points and hopefully, these can justify the premium of its price and attract value buyers and investors.

 

Should I buy Parc Botannia?

Well, SPK can’t answer this question on your behalf. Everyone has a different priority and preference in evaluating a property purchase and hence, it is difficult or rather unprofessional to give a boilerplate answer for everyone to follow. But, since Singapore Property Kaki is supposed to be a sharing platform, SPK shall share with readers on SPK’s personal and general opinion relating to decision-making process when comes to evaluating a potential property purchase:

  • If affordability is not an issue, go for a development with better value instead of a cheap one. A better value project tends to preserve value better and offers better chance of profit opportunity and future buyer demand
  • If the property is for long-term occupation, do think long term, especially on space planning and family planning. A small space might last you for a couple of years, but may not be good for long-term

Coming back to Parc Botannia, SPK would consider it as a value for money property that is conducive for a young family and it could probably preserve value better over the longer term.

Happy Shopping!

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE

The information and opinion contained in this blog posting above is based solely on the personal analysis of Singapore Property Kaki (“SPK”) and is for general information purposes only. SPK assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in the contents of this blog posting. In no event shall SPK be liable for any special, direct, indirect, consequential, or incidental damages or any damages whatsoever, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tort, arising out of or in connection with the use of the content in this blog posting. SPK reserves the right to make additions, deletions, or modification to the contents at any time without prior notice.

Happy reading!