Commentary 4 Potential New Housing Sites Cleared (Balestier, Bedok, Jurong, Toa Payoh): Which Will Be Best?
- Ryan J
- March 31, 2021
- 7 min read
Just this week, HDB has put out tender documents regarding four sites for housing. As these sites are in mature areas, there’s already a buzz about which of them hold the most promise. The sites are in Balestier, Bedok, Jurong East, and Toa Payoh; all areas that have no lack of amenities. Here’s what to watch for:
Where are the new sites?
The recently cleared sites are:
- 51 Jalan Rajah (District 12)
- 58 Bedok North Street 3 (District 16)
- 571 Jurong East Street 24 (District 22)
- 1 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh (District 12)
It’s expected that these sites will be released via the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme. And to be clear, it will be a while before they’re up for grabs: analysts that we spoke to say the government hasn’t been eager to increase land supply for private homes, due to Covid-19. At the same time, HDB still has a backlog, and some 50,000 flats are reaching their MOP in 2020 to 2021. As such, we may not see HDB projects on these plots in the near term.
Nonetheless, expectations are running high for some of these; and here’s why:
1. 51 Jalan Rajah (District 12)
Under the URA Master Plan, this site is zoned for residential use with a plot ratio of 2.8. The site is right next to the Kallang River, alongside the PIE – it used to be the Global Indian International School (Balestier).
This site is just 200 metres from Curtin Singapore; it’s only about a seven-minute drive to Novena, and a 13-minute drive to Orchard. Unfortunately, it narrowly misses having Toa Payoh MRT station nearby – it’s about a one-kilometre distance, or about a 13-minute walk. Still, we can see homeowners and tenants alike making a beeline for this city fringe location.
On the downside, this is a dense urban area, with a lot of other condos and flats in the surroundings. Even though it’s alongside the Kallang River, even a quick inspection will reveal a certain lack of open spaces; developers will have to be smart with the lay-out.
Nearby private properties include Neem Tree and Verticus.
Neem Tree (about 280 metres from site)
Neem Tree is a boutique freehold condo completed in 2018, with 84 units. It currently has an average price of $1,834 psf.
Verticus (about 400 metres from site)
Verticus is still under development, with completion likely in 2024. This is a freehold condo with 162 units. It currently has a median developer price of $2,124 psf, with a take-up rate of 25 per cent as of February 2021.
2. 58 Bedok North Street 3 (District 16)
Under the URA Master Plan, this site is zoned for residential use with a plot ratio of 2.5. The Muhammadiyah Welfare Home for Children is currently here, but this institution will be moving to Pasir Ris by June of this year. The site is located right next to Yu Neng Primary School.
Bedok Reservoir MRT station is near here, it is about a 500 metre walk – which is pretty close all things considered. You will have to take the overhead bridge to cross the PIE, however, so climbing up and down stairs could be an issue for the less mobile. On the upside, the Block 511 Market and Food Centre is just across the road; and there’s a Giant Express in the area.
Some buyers will prize the fact that Bedok Reservoir is nearby, just about an eight-minute drive. This is one of the recreational hubs of Bedok, with its water sports, walking trails, etc (a good number of buyers prize proximity to Bedok Reservoir more than they prize proximity to the town centre).
This site has a lot of potential for a family development, and we think BTO flats here will see good demand; but a lot of said potential is still untapped right now.
There are no private condos nearby, except on the other side of the PIE.
3. 571 Jurong East Street 24 (District 22)
Under the URA Master Plan, this site is zoned for residential use with a plot ratio of 2.8. This used to be the site of the former Yuqun Primary School. Crest Secondary School is also near here, just about a three-minute walk from the site.
While Jurong East is a well-known retail powerhouse, this site is not within walking distance of the town hub. It’s about 1.8 kilometres from this site to JCube and the Jurong East MRT station, or about a seven-minute drive.
So it’s (1) out of walking distance from the MRT, but (2) not too far from the hub. That sounds like the makings of a typical EC site…
Buyers may not like that the site is a cul-de-sac; it’s at the end of a long, winding road, stretching past Blocks 244 to 243. It’s quite a distance to walk out to the main road.
4. 1 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh (District 12)
Under the URA Master Plan, this site is zoned for residential use with a plot ratio of 3.0. This site is next to Pei Chun Public School, and Madrasah Al-Arabiah Al-Islamiah. This is a very small site, at just 5,500 sqm.
The site is about 900 metres to Braddell MRT station, or about 11 minutes on foot. Not the most convenient distance, but some residents may consider it walkable. In terms of immediate amenities, this site is very convenient. About 600 metres up the road, or a seven-minute walk, you’ll find the Toa Payoh Hawker Centre as well as the local Sheng Siong.
Toa Payoh Block 47 is also across the road from the site; this is pretty well known to the locals, as it’s where the Soi 47 Thai Food and Domino’s Pizza are located. The Toa Payoh East community club is also located next to this.
While there’s not much in the way of retail nearby, this is a city fringe location; you’d only be about a 13-minute drive to Orchard Road from this site.
Gem Residences is near this site, in Lorong 5.
Gem Residences (about 500 metres from site)
Gem Residences is a 99-year leasehold condo completed in 2019, with 578 units. It currently has average prices of $1,628 psf.
A quick note on land sizes
The land sizes for only two of the sites were disclosed. The Bedok site is around 16,500 sq.m., while the Toa Payoh site is 5,500 sq. m. We will update you on the details as they become available.
Overall, the Jalan Rajah and Toa Payoh sites seem the promising
In part, this is just by virtue of their city fringe (District 12) location. However, we do think the Bedok site has the potential to be great, if only there were some way to improve access to Bedok Reservoir MRT.
Of the four though, 51 Jalan Rajah seems to have the best potential for a residential development. While the area is densely packed, investors will still probably be interested – such a location could draw tenants who work in the city area, but aren’t willing to pay prime region prices.
If the Jalan Rajah and Toa Payoh sites are used for public housing, they’re almost guaranteed to be oversubscribed.
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