Property Picks 6 Spacious Townhouses In Central Singapore That Are Ideal For Families
- April 10, 2022
- 17 min read
For many people in Singapore, living in central Singapore is a dream. But as if Singapore isn’t already small enough, its central areas, are even smaller and the housing prices in this area, unfortunately, reflect that. Out of all the townhouses that we’ve covered in this series, the ones in Central Singapore are by far the most expensive. In this article, I’m reviewing the developments with townhouses under $6 million – I know it’s beyond the budget of 99.99% of us, myself included, but sadly if I were to reduce the budget, there wouldn’t be many developments to cover in this article!
As a point of comparison with the average townhouse price in this area, for those with significantly more in the bank, the other townhouses in central Singapore are priced at $7.9-$9.98 million (Sommerville Park), $8.8-$11 million (Paterson Residence), $9-10 million (Tanglin Residences), $9-18 million (White House Residences), $18 million (Yong An Park) and $30 million (Oxley Residences).
Eight Riversuites ($2.6-$2.98 million, 99-year leasehold, District 12)
After that list of uber pricey townhouses, you’ll probably be relieved to hear that the first strata house on this list is “only” going for $2.6-$2.98 million. District 12 is an area that’s historically been cheaper than its neighbours and the townhouses here are no exception. At the time of writing, there were a good number of townhouses at 8 Riversuites on sale and, at under $3 million, they’re by far the cheapest on this list.
(Strictly speaking, it is possible to get a cheaper townhouse in central Singapore: Corona Ville, for example, has a lower asking price (around $2.5 million) and is also freehold and in the ever-sought-after D10. However, the units here are much smaller – almost 50% so at 1,500 sq ft (split into 3 levels so each floor is tiny!) Foreigners are eligible to purchase and the car park space is not counted in the square footage, which makes for a nice change, but sadly there were no units for sale at the time of writing.
(There was 1 a few weeks back but it appears to have been snapped up for $2.42 million.) As there are only 41 units in this development built in 1982, they’re not often on the market. Although there was a flurry of sales in 2021 – 3 sales ranging from $2.15 to $2.3 million). If you’re interested nonetheless, you can see some photos of a unit here.)
Anyway, back to Eight Riversuites, which is a full-facility, 862-unit condo by UE Development (Bendemeer) that was completed in 2016 and is under a 10-minute walk to Boon Keng MRT (750m away.) It’s also next to Whampoa River and a Park connector, so you’ll have no excuse not to go for a walk!
The 19 townhouses at Eight Riversuites are around 3,000 sq ft 3 beds, 3 baths and have 2 stories (plus a basement & roof terrace), but no lift. (Click here for a video of a townhouse.) Thanks to a thoughtfully planned skylight, the stairwell is unusually bright (even the one leading up from the basement, which is usually quite dingy.) I also like how the ground floor feels more like a raised ground floor.
Like many townhouses, the ones here have their own pools, including a jacuzzi. 7 of the units (No. 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, and 22) border the large common pool, so you’ll be able to access the larger main pool from your private space, which is a nice touch. (The rest have much smaller pools in front of them.) If you’ve been following this series on townhouses, you’ll realise that I am not keen on units that are next to the pool (they’re noisy – I once did an online viewing of a pool-facing top floor unit and the agent’s voice was drowned out by the sounds from the pool!) but one benefit here is that thanks to the nice width of the pool, these 7 houses are a decent distance from the block opposite. (The other townhouses, unfortunately, are super close to the taller blocks, as is usually seen with strata landed units.) Another plus point is that the private pool here is decent sized, unlike some strata-landed units that have such tiny pools. For most, it seems that they are including a private pool just for the sake of ticking a box on the “to-have” list rather than to include an actually usable feature.
On the negative side, the stairs up to the roof terrace appear to be exposed (i.e. they’ll get wet and slippery when it rains: FYI, it rains almost 1/2 of the year in Singapore.) Moreover, the condo is set in a rather busy location, with 2 bustling roads and Bendemeer Primary School next door, so it’s not the most peaceful place to stay. It’s always going to be a drawback if you want to live somewhere central.
A small point, at least 2 people mentioned that they were trapped in falling lifts (which is a HUGE no for me!)
1 review may be a 1-off….
But 2 with the same comments may be concerning.
Citylights ($5 million, 99-year leasehold, District 8)
The next townhouse is asking for $5 million and it’s one of the most unique townhouses I’ve covered to date, as it is a conservation house. (Personally, I looooooove conservation properties, and the only other condo project with conservation strata houses in it that I can think of is Sandalwood, which is located in the East and had one unit for sale at the time of writing, also priced at $5 million (freehold).) These 10 strata landed houses were converted from 16 pre-war shophouses constructed in the 1920s and foreigners can buy them without LDAU approval.
Fun fact: In October 2021, there were only around 20 condos that allowed foreigners to purchase strata-landed houses without LDAU approval, so you can see it’s somewhat of a rarity. We’ve covered many of these developments in this series so do check out the past articles if this is something you’re interested in.
Completed in 2007 by CapitaLand, Citylights is located at 80 Jellicoe Road, has 600 units on a plot of 157,000 sq ft, and is a 3-minute walk from Lavender MRT. Besides the townhouses, there are 4 towers of flats: Block 80 faces the East West direction and Blocks 86, 88, 90 in the south eastern direction.
As it’s a large condo, the facilities at Citylights are quite comprehensive. Click here for a tour – there is a good-sized gym (renovated in 2020 with new equipment brought in), a clubhouse (on elevated ground), a karaoke room, a reading room, a 50 m lap pool, an outdoor fitness (high up on Level 6), a sky terrace and not one but 2 tennis courts.
The townhouses here come in 2 forms: 3 have a larger ground floor (and thus front yard), whilst the other 7 have a larger 2nd floor (and thus smaller ground floor/ front yard). i.e. The houses look like a row of interlocking L-shapes.) The unit currently on sale is of the first type, the “larger base” one which is also more elderly-friendly as it has a bedroom on the ground floor.
Note: There was another “smaller base” townhouse (i.e. the second type) here for sale at under $4 million a few months back but the listing was no longer active when I was writing this article. (If you’re wondering, I don’t think it sold as the last sale record for a townhouse appears to be from Feb 2021: $5 million for a 3,595 sq ft unit. Prior to that, the last townhouse sales were in 2019 and 2015 for $4.6 and $3.9 million respectively.)
The townhouses are about 3,500 – 3,800+ sq ft (maintenance for a 3,874 sq ft townhouse is $612/month FYI), and have greenery grown outside the front yard for privacy. Although the units look like they’re facing landscaping and thus nice and tranquil, they are actually next to the lap pool, which is elevated on higher ground in front of the townhouses and serves the function of insulating the houses from Kallang road. People always say that noise travels up, I wonder if it would also travel down to the houses?
The unit currently on the market has 2 entrances: one from the front and one in the rear courtyard which is linked to the car park. (I wasn’t able to confirm this but there’s no reason to assume that the other houses don’t have the same type of access.) As there is a staircase at the rear that leads up to the second floor, there is even the possibility of converting the unit into a dual key property, which is a big plus for those looking to buy an investment property to rent out now that ABSD is so high (and rental is booming). I also like how it comes with an internal courtyard which is a great passive cooling feature, and also brings light and ventilation into a traditionally dark and stuffy space.
A 70-unit condo built in 1979 along Watten View by United Overseas development Pte Ltd (UOL Group), the terrace-style townhouse at Watten Hill Condo is about 2,626 – 2,669 sq ft and split over 3 stories. According to historic data, sales of townhouses here tend to be few and far between. When sales happen though, they seem to occur in batches: for example, there were 3 sales in 2016, 0 in 2017, 3 in 2018, 0 in 2019 & 2020 then 3 again in 2021. (See a pattern?) At the time of writing, there were 2 on the market and foreigners are eligible to purchase the without LDAU approval.
Hillcrest Arcadia, which is quite closeby, also has townhouses, though none for sale at the time of writing, due to how old the leasehold property is (around 50 years), you may be able to get the townhouses for under $3 million.
In terms of location, Watten Hill is hard to beat. It’s nestled in a primarily landed enclave in Bukit Timah, so relatively quiet, but nonetheless central and with amenities a short stroll away, namely a stretch of shophouses at Greenwood which has restaurants and Cold Storage. Tan Kah Kee MRT is a 9-minute walk away and parents of little girls will be happy to note that it’s also within the all-important 1 km radius from Nanyang Girls Primary & Raffles Girls Primary.
I like how there’s a car porch on the ground floor (instead of the usual strata house basement parking) but those with elderly in the family should note that the townhouse here is riddled with steps. (The architecture of buildings constructed in the 70s and 80s don’t pay much thought to an ageing population.) Moreover, being a product of the 70s, there are obviously no lifts inside. If you’re wondering about the interiors, the unit on sale has 4 beds and 4 baths, but given how old these houses are, many may have been renovated and thus may have different floor plans. (The house on sale has been beautifully decorated FYI.)
If facilities are important to you (and townhouses are often marketed as “landed living with facilities”) Watten Hill may not be the right place as it is relatively lacking in this area (there is a clubhouse, gym, and pool but no tennis court or squash court, etc.)
Note: Watten Estate condo, which was built 4 years after Watten Hill Condo & is a mere 5 minutes walk away, has just successfully gone en bloc, so it will be pretty noisy in the near future (construction). For people looking at Watten Hill Condo with a view to future collective sale prospects, note that Watten Estate sold for $550 million or 10% higher than the asking price, which works out to $1,723 psf ppr (per square foot per plot ratio.) In contrast, the asking price for the townhouse at Watten Hill Condo translates to $1,948.30 (at the time of writing) – the last townhouse sold at $1,537 psf in Jan 2022.
Built in 1981 by Dillingham Land, this 464-unit condo is in the Mount Sinai area which has a mix of landed houses and high-rise condos (1 Ridgewood Close). It is within 1 km of Henry Park Primary Schoo and there is a bus stop 200m away as well as Dover MRT (a 10-minute walk, partially covered.) Ulu Pandan Park Connector is also on its doorstep.
Note that Dover Forest is going to be partially turned into HDB flats so the feeling of the area may change significantly (the airflow and view may be blocked.)
Ridgewood has sprawling grounds (672,148 sq ft in size) and quite the range of facilities, from a pool, gym, 3 playgrounds, study room, dance studio, tennis court, table tennis area, basketball court, badminton court, squash court to minimart, clinic and restaurant (so truly “landed living with facilities here!”)
There are only 38 strata landed units, so sales are few and far between, 4 of the units are corner terraces, and foreigners are eligible to buy them too. These quaint 2-storey townhouses, which are about 2,852 sq ft, are one of my favourites amongst all the ones I’ve reviewed so far as they truly feel like proper landed houses. They face lush greenery (with a side gate to access the condo’s facilities which are a good distance away), you can drive up to your unit and park on your own porch and you aren’t squashed together like sardines in cans. Moreover, the bedrooms are nice and large with lovely high ceilings. As the houses are old and have probably been renovated/had their floor plans changed, I’m not going to go into much detail about the floor plans but you can click here to see a video of one which has 4+1 bedrooms and 5 baths.
One thing to highlight is that, as per the architecture of its time, the houses have many split levels (similar to the townhouses at Watten Hill Condo.) Moreover, if you’re looking for a forever home, you may have to look somewhere else, as Ridgewood has regularly made en-bloc news: it attempted unsuccessfully in 2007, 2013, and 2018, failing in 2007 & 2013 due to insufficient votes, so it seems it may only be a matter of time before this condo, unfortunately, goes the way of so many of its predecessors.
Another thing to note is that online reviews seem a bit negative, with both Google reviews and Property Guru reviews being dismal at 3.9 and 2.4 respectively (out of 5.) However, after trawling through the Google reviews, there don’t seem to be any red flags (the negative comments were more like “rude security guard” etc rather than anything that would affect your quality of life.
But when even the property owners are leaving bad feedback, you may need to be concerned (usually they don’t want to say bad things as it may affect the ease of selling or renting in the future.)
The second review points out similar issues…
The PropertyGuru reviews were more enlightening. Apparently, the discontentment stems from the fact that the soundproofing is non-existent, and you can even hear your neighbour flushing his loo. I can see how that would make people grumpy, but it may be possible to alleviate the issue in the townhouse by soundproofing it before moving in. One of my cousins, for example, lives in a terrace house (lucky fellow picked it up for under a million back in the day!) and he tells me that due to his neighbour kindly soundproofing his home, they can even have a lion dance indoors without the noise disturbing anyone else! (FYI: I am not a contractor so you would need to bring in a professional to consult on this matter for Ridgewood.)
Note: at the time of writing, there were sadly no townhouses for sale, although there is a 2,002 sq ft unit going for $3.7 million if you’re looking for a larger unit in the area.
D Leedon is a mega-development that TOP-ed in 2015 with a great location off Farrer Road and close to Farrer Road MRT as well as the Singapore Botanic Gardens. There is a covered walkway that takes you to the MRT as well as Empress Market, so you’re very close to amenities. It’s famous for being designed by the well-known architect, Zaha Hadid, as well as for the fact that it’s simply ginormous with 1,715 units spread over (about) 800,000 sq ft. 12 of the units are strata landed semi-Ds (called “Garden Villas”) and you can watch a tour of 1 here.
Being a premium development, D’Leedon has devoted 70% of the land to landscaping and facilities (the 7 tower blocks and the semi-Ds take up just over 20% of the site) so you don’t really feel like you’re living with 1,700+ other households. Though when you do walk around, there’s no escaping the fact that it is teeming with people at all times of the day.
Condo ReviewsD Leedon Condo Review: Too big for its own good?by Sean
The strata-landed houses here have relatively unblocked views, especially in comparison to the typical townhouse. They are near the pools though, so they could be noisy when the pool is in full swing, given the number of other households living here. (The condo is obviously a full-facility one, and even has a bistro, salon, clinic, billiard room, reading room, and golf simulators, so I won’t go into too much detail but you can read more about them in our full review of the project here or watch our video on it here.)
The 3-storey Garden villas range quite a bit in size. They start from 6,695 sq ft to as big as 8,708 sq ft! As far as I can tell, all are 5-bedders, but the larger houses have more toilets. The most impressive thing about these homes are the high ceilings, both on the ground (4.2 m high) and first floor.
There are (not very large) bedrooms on all floors: 1 on the ground level, 3 on the second level and 1 more on the top floor. I like how the kitchen is super bright, but it is rather small for a property of this size.
Unlike some other strata landed homes, there isn’t a lift, roof terrace, or private pool in these Garden Villas but there is a large patio area in the front which would please gardening aficionados. It’s really almost like landed living as well, as you have two car park lots right outside your house on the first floor. There’s also only one road that services all 12 garden villas so at the end is a cul-de-sac where children can even possibly play on the road.
If you have a longer time horizon, you can also consider the 2,400 – 2,680 sq ft Garden Villas at Leedon Green, a freehold, 638 unit condo by MCL Land and Yanlord Land that is expected to TOP in 2023, and is not too far from D’Leedon. Do note that this condo doesn’t have enough car parking lots for all the units: there are only 510 for the 638 units! For more details, click here for our full review.
The 5 townhouses here have 2-stories, with 2 bedrooms per floor. (The ground floor has 2 bathrooms whilst the upper level only has 1.) Both floors have a living/family room and outside space, so the layout would work quite well for a multi-generational home. However, the living room appears to be double volume, so part of your square footage is going to void space. I’ve attached the floorplan below in case my description doesn’t make sense!
All 5 sold out at the very early stages of the launch of Leedon Green, so it’s perhaps an indication of the demand for these in the area.
We’ve now come to the end of this townhouse series (as there are no townhouses in South Singapore for sale at the time of writing) but join me again next week as I re-start my landed area tours, this time looking at leasehold landed enclaves.