Property Stories 4 Affordable Waterfront Resale Condos In District 19 For More Scenic Views
- October 17, 2021
- 11 min read
Did you know that globally, waterfront views are priced at a 40% premium? But apparently, because Singapore is an island, waterfront views here are priced at just a 7.7% premium (all the better!). Bear in mind though, this was a study done by Knight Frank in 2018, so I’m not certain how much has changed since then.
So last week, I wrote about several affordable waterfront condos and cluster houses in West Singapore and, this time, I’ll be moving North-East to D19 and covering the waterfront condos in Punggol, Hougang, and Sengkang. (I’m roughly looking at the same areas as I did in my affordable waterfront HDB article so that readers get a better sense of how private and public housing compares in the same district.)
Watertown: both a shopping paradise and a scenic view at your doorstep
When you speak of waterfront condos in Punggol, the 1st to come to mind is usually the 992 unit Watertown as it’s located above the 4-storey mall Punggol Waterway Point, Punggol’s largest source of commercial entertainment (230 retail units including a supermarket, restaurants, and a cinema). Built in 2017, Watertown’s 99-year lease commenced in 2011. Oh, and did I mention that it’s right next to Punggol MRT?
If you’re familiar with the transacted prices of this development, you’re probably scoffing right now. With an asking PSF of $1,382 – $1,770 at the time of writing, Watertown is 1 of Punggol’s most expensive condos (if not, the most expensive condo in Punggol) so hardly a shoo-in for this article. However, bear in mind that Watertown is an integrated development: convenience always comes at a price, so it wouldn’t be fair to compare Watertown prices to that of a regular condo. Instead, it would make more sense to compare it with other integrated developments.
As a point of reference, Midtown Residences, which is also in D19, a 7-minute walk to Hougang MRT, with no waterfront views/access and only 2 commercial levels (51 retail units + 55 restaurants and cafes) is currently asking for a PSF of $1,222 – $1,726 psf – not much cheaper from Watertown! Our Watertown review has also helpfully included a table collating the average transacted PSFs of nearby integrated developments, so do check it out.
Some plus points to highlight about Watertown include:
- As mentioned above, the convenience of integrated development is unparalleled, both from a transport and a lifestyle perspective. Moreover, the mall is managed by the reputable Frasers Centrepoint Mall, so you don’t have to worry about the quality of the retail shops (unlike, say, KAP residences, that travesty of a mixed development which took over the old McDonalds at King Albert Park – I spent many of my teenage years there so I feel strongly about its destruction!)
- Secured development: safer than most condos as there are gates to keep non-residents and/or weirdos out of the condo part of the development. (Although most condos have security guards, not all security guards are on the ball. If you’re wondering why we even need security in safe Singapore, this article may be an interesting read for you.)
- The facilities are quite scenic – elevated too so you’re not providing a free show for nosy shoppers and pedestrians – and there’s a decent variety. In Watertown, you not only have tennis courts and a multi-purpose court, you can also find over 20 pools! (Centrepoint Residences, in contrast, only has a pool and parking.) The lap pool overlooks the waterway, so you get a great view as you swim- it sort of reminds me of a down-to-earth version of the Marina Bay Sands infinity pool. As the facilities are covered extensively in our review, I’m not going to go on about them, suffice to say, if I did move to Watertown, the swimming pools would be a key pull factor.
- Semi-protected and unblocked water views: the waterway actually runs perpendicular to some units (instead of the usual parallel), which means that there is a decent expanse of unblocked scenery for those units. (We haven’t quite learnt how to build high-rise buildings on water yet so there won’t be anything directly in front of those units for some time.)
- Noise: with 992 residential units, you don’t exactly get tons of privacy. Thankfully, the development is spread over 322,913 sq ft, so you’re not squeezed in like sardines in cans.
- Traffic congestion: Punggol is known for its traffic jams – it has been known to take up to an hour to access the expressways! And Watertown, as its nexus, probably has it the worst.(However, if you’ve chosen to pay the premium that comes with being next to a MRT, why keep a car, even if you can afford one?)
Waterfront Condos near Watertown
The area immediately around Punggol MRT tends to have more waterfront HDBs than condos (for an overview of several of the waterfront HDBs in the vicinity, check out this link). However, some waterfront condos nearby include:
- The Terrace: an EC which TOP-ed in 2018 (but with a lease running from 2013) with an asking PSF currently ranging between $1,127 to $1,371 at the time of writing. As the units currently on sale are being offered pre-MOP and there are not many pre-MOP units available (i.e. a supply constraint- as we know, pricing is determined by both supply and demand factors), it’s difficult to estimate if prices at The Terrace will change significantly in future. (There’s about 1 more year to go before the units at The Terrace can be resold to Singaporean citizens and PRs only. Foreigners will be eligible after 6 more years. For more information on ECs, check this out.) Kadaloor LRT is right next door (accessible via a side gate). However, keep in mind that the waterway here is quite narrow, so you’ll only be able to get a good water view from a few floors, even if your unit is water-facing.
- the upcoming EC Piermont Grand (TOP 2023): about a 12 minutes walk away with a current asking PSF of $958-$1,176 (developer’s pricing). Do note that there are eligibility requirements to purchase an EC from its developers and that ECs are only open for resale (to all Singaporean citizens and PRs) after 5 years. (ECs are fully privatised – i.e. eligible for sale to foreigners, after 10 years.) Nonetheless, I’ve still included the developer’s pricing in this article as it will give you a gauge of future resale pricing. (Logically, no one would want to sell at a loss so, assuming that people are able to service their housing loans (i.e. they don’t lose their jobs/ there isn’t a recession), a resale unit at Piermont Grand would cost more than $1,000 PSF minimum.
Waterfront condos next to Sungei Serangoon (and its park connector which brings you all the way from Punggol to Hougang)
There are quite a number of water facing condos here, such as:
1. Heron Bay (covered in my previous article on ECs so not discussed in this piece. However, it’s worth mentioning that Heron Bay is 1 of the few low-density condos along the Punggol waterfront, with under 400 units. In comparison, Kingsford Waterbay has 1,165 units!)
2. Kingsford Waterbay (not included in this piece as its lowest asking PSF of $1,182 is more than Heron Bay’s highest asking PSF ($1,152), so it’s not exactly a prime candidate for an article on affordable waterfront housing! However, if you’re looking for a strata home by the river that you can move into now, it’d be something to consider.)
3. Rio Vista – more below
4. Evergreen Park – more below
5. Riverfront Residences (TOP 2024)
The current water views along Sungei Serangoon are fairly picturesque, for Singapore, thanks to the verdant expanse of greenery on the opposite bank. However, none of the forests is protected – in fact, part of the area opposite has been demarcated as a light industrial zone zone – so the view will, sadly, change over time. Like the Waterfront series condos along Bedok Reservoir, the developments here are separated from Sungei Serangoon by only a small road, so it’s pretty tranquil, in terms of road noise.
On the flip side, Punggol does have a bad reputation for being directly under the flight path of RSAF fighter jets, thanks to the nearby Paya Lebar airbase, so that’s something to bear in mind before moving here! (FYI, according to Channel News Asia, “a typical air force take-off cycle may take up to 15 minutes, involving anywhere from two to eight aircraft, with one taking off every two to three minutes“ so the noise isn’t insignificant.)
Completed in 2004 (lease starting from 2001), this 716-unit, 17-storey development has a current asking PSF ranging from $833 – $1,043. Although not as near to the shops (or MRT) as Watertown, it does boast a minimart on its grounds. Moreover, the developer has thoughtfully slanted some blocks (relative to the waterfront) so you can find water-facing units which are North-South facing. (North-South is the general preferred facing in Singapore as it doesn’t suffer from the morning or afternoon sun. Facing analysis can get quite technical- the sun/ wind direction can change depending on the time of the year- if you want all the nitty gritty which is too mind-boggling for me, do check this out.)
Fun fact: the penthouses here come in single-loading fashion as well as in duplex form. Fortunately for duplex lovers like myself, all the river-fronting penthouses are duplex in fashion – they’ve been conveniently marked on the site map below.
As one of the oldest waterfront condos in the area (it was completed in 1999/2000 (depending on whether you refer to the condo website or PG), with its lease starting in 1995), Evergreen Park is also 1 of the most affordable in this area, with an asking PSF of $805 – $938 at the time of writing. Like Heron Bay, it’s fairly low-density, with 394 units, spread over 18 floors. There’s a lovely video on YouTube showing the beautiful scenery around the condo which offers a glimpse of the lifestyle you could have if you live here, so do have a watch.
However, 2 small things to note with this condo are that:
- The site is slightly odd-shaped and the pool is not in the centre of the development: instead, 1 length of the pool runs right next to the boundary of the estate and you can find HDB blocks on the other side. These HDB blocks tower over the pool, so the pool isn’t very private: swimmers at Evergreen Park won’t just be entertaining their fellow condo residents, but their HDB neighbours as well.
- The road separating the condo from the river is larger (compared to that outside Heron Bay etc) so there will be more traffic and road noise.
You might find the above points too trivial to mention but after some bad property experiences – I almost made a 20% loss on my London flat when I tried to sell it after moving back to Singapore (I’ll be sharing the lessons I’ve learned about the London property market from this mistake in a later article) – I like to take every possible point into consideration before making any permanent decisions now!
Before I sign off, I’d like to mention that there is also Rivercove Residences in Seng Kang, an EC which TOP-ed in 2020 (asking PSF $844 – $1,195) and for which the developer still has some units on hand. If you’re fortunate enough to make the cut for the government’s stringent EC criteria and want a waterfront lifestyle, it could be worth looking at. (They’re not resale units so I’m not going into more detail here.)
See you again next week, where we’ll look at another selection of waterfront condos in a different area!