Property Stories A First-Time Homebuyer’s Journey: List Of 27 ECs With Big Units + Review Of Citylife @ Tampines
- September 1, 2021
- 12 min read
Having viewed a number of ECs in the last few weeks, it seems that the developments with a fewer number of units (lower-density) generally tend to be older ones. More recently-built ECs tend to have a larger number of units, which one would assume to mean living in more cramped surroundings.
Happily, I’ve found that with good architecture and urban planning, a higher-density condo can still feel very spacious and not crowded. Hence, I decided to extend my search from ECs with under 400 units (and duplex units of over 2000 sq ft) to all the ECs with over 400 units that were built before the government restricted the maximum EC unit size to 1722 sq ft.
To aid anyone else who happens to be in the same boat as me, I’ve compiled a quick overview of all 27 such ECs in the table below (the 9 ECs that have duplex or dumbbell-layout units of over 2000 sq ft in size on sale at the time of writing have been highlighted):
27 ECs with over 400 units completed before 2016
|Forestville||It has big units over 2,000 sq ft in size. Some are single-level units with dumbbell layouts, perfect for families who prefer living on the same floor but want privacy nonetheless.||D25: Admiralty/Woodlands||Hao Yuan Investment Pte Ltd||2016||653|
|The Topiary||There is 1 single-floor unit over 2,000 sq ft, with a dumbbell layout, on sale.||D28: Seletar/Yio Chu Kang||Peak Living Pte Ltd||2016||700|
|Twin Fountains||It has large single-floor units with a dumbbell layout that are more than 2,000 sq ft in size.||D25: Admiralty/Woodlands||FCL Admiralty Pte. Ltd||2016||418|
|Citylife@Tampines (reviewed below)||I believe it has the largest EC unit ever built (a 404 sqm Sky Suite).||D18: Pasir Ris/Tampines||Tampines EC Pte Ltd||2016||514|
|1 Canberra||D27: Sembawang/Yishun||MCC Land (Singapore) Pte Ltd||2015||665|
|Twin Waterfalls||The duplex unit appears to have no bedrooms on the upper floor.||D19: Punggol/Hougang/ Sengkang||Fraser Centrepoint||2015||728|
|The Rainforest||There is a duplex penthouse over 2,000 sq ft for sale but without a room on the upper level.||D23: Dairy Farm/Bukit Panjang/Choa Chu Kang||Camborne Developments Pte||2015||466|
|The Tampines Trilliant||D18: Pasir Ris/Tampines||Sim Lian (Tampines EC) Pte. Ltd.||2015||670|
|WaterColours||D18: Pasir Ris/Tampines||HUGE Development Pte Ltd||2014||416|
|Blossom Residences||D23: Dairy Farm/Bukit Panjang/Choa Chu Kang||Grand Isle Holdings Pte Ltd||2014||602|
|Arc at Tampines||D18: Pasir Ris/Tampines||Hoi Hup Sunway Tampines Pte Ltd||2014||574|
|RiverParc Residence||There is a duplex over 2,000 sq ft for sale but with no room on the upper floor. Moreover, the experiences of some homeowners published by the Straits Times make this development a definite no for me.||D19: Punggol/ Hougang/ Seng Kang||Qingjian Realty (Punggol) Pte Ltd||2014||504|
|Austville Residences||D19: Punggol/Hougang/Sengkang||MaxLee Development Pte Ltd||2014||540|
|The Canopy||D27: Sembawang/Yishun||MCC Land (Singapore) Pte Ltd||2014||406|
|Esparina Residences||D19: Punggol/Hougang/Sengkang||Frasers Centerpoint Homes and Lum Chang Group||2013||573|
|Privé||D19: Punggol/ Hougang/Sengkang||Punggol Field EC Pte Ltd||2013||680|
|La Casa||D25: Admiralty/Woodlands||Far East Organization||2008||444|
|The Quintet||If you want to live in an EC in West Singapore and need a ton of living space, this is the EC for you – it has units over 3,000 sq ft in size.||D23: Dairy Farm/Bukit Panjang/Choa Chu Kang||Frasers Centrepoint Homes||2006||459|
|The Eden||D18: Pasir Ris/Tampines||Tampines Condominium Pte Ltd||2003||430|
|The Floravale||There is a single-level penthouse of over 2,300 sq ft with a 5m high ceiling on sale.||D22: Boon Lay/Jurong/Tuas||CapitaLand Residential||2000||794|
|Woodsvale||There is a duplex penthouse of over 2000sf listed||D25: Admiralty/Woodlands||CapitaLand Residential||2000||696|
|Northoaks||D25: Admiralty/Woodlands||Hong Leong Holdings Ltd||2000||720|
|The Florida||D19: Punggol/Hougang/Sengkang||City Developments Limited||2000||496|
|The Rivervale||Only 1 listing for sale! (I associate a low number of units being listed with happy occupants i.e. a good development!)||D19: Punggol/ Hougang/ Seng Kang||St Rivervale Pte Ltd (Singapore Technologies Properties Pte Ltd)||2000||671|
|Summerdale||D22: Boon Lay/Jurong/Tuas||Boon Lay Executive Condominiums Pte Ltd||2000||432|
|Yew Mei Green||D23: Dairy Farm/Bukit Panjang/Choa Chu Kang||NTUC Choice Homes Co-operative Ltd||2000||712|
|Simei Green||D18: Pasir Ris/Tampines||NTUC Choice Homes Co-operative Ltd||1999||602|
My Citylife @ Tampines Review
I decided to view Citylife @ Tampines first as it’s infamous for large units & the long house hunt has made my Mom and I realise that 1 of our top priorities for our new home is more space. (An older friend once told me that the more units you view, the better you’ll understand your living requirements, and I’ve found this to be very true – each viewing has helped me refine my idea of my ideal flat just that little bit more.)
To be honest, I wasn’t overly optimistic about this EC at first. A life-long West-side-living Singaporean, I’d been toying with the idea of trying something new and moving East till I visited The Esparis. I found the drive there a pain and the developments very closely built together. (I spoke to a friend who works in logistics and was told that Pasir Ris is always jammed due to the cargo trucks on their way to the airport, so the congestion I experienced wasn’t a one-off!)
Thankfully, I didn’t have any such issues with Citylife @ Tampines. The drive was pleasant and the area around the development was surprisingly open. There is the 9.6 hectare Sun Plaza Park next to Citylife@Tampines, as well as green fields, the Trilliant (another EC), and the ubiquitous (in Singapore, at least) construction site. (I understand from the agent that the government is building some BTO flats nearby.)
If you’ve been following my house hunting series, you’ll realize that I’ve viewed a couple of ECs now and Citylife @ Tampines is by far the “poshest” of the lot. (For one, I had no problems with the turn-in, the car park, or the lift, unlike when I viewed The Pearl @ Mount Faber and Windermere!)
So I wasn’t surprised to read that it was billed as a “luxury hotel-style” development, with over 90% of the units selling out within 2 days from launch (the developers apparently received over 1800 applications for the 514 units). I’d say they definitely delivered on their promises! If you’re wondering why Citylife was so popular at its launch, Tampines traditionally has more HDB estates than condos. Moreover, most of the condos in Tampines are closer to Bedok Reservoir, etc, and there is quite a limited selection of condos within the vicinity of the town centre and MRT. There also aren’t many residential plots of land left in this area, according to the URA Masterplan.
Do note that The Trilliant, another EC which MOP-ed about 1 year before Citylife @ Tampines, is right next door, so you may want to compare the prices of both developments if you’re looking at things from an investment perspective. In my opinion, the facilities and landscaping at Citylife @ Tampines are much nicer!
Of the 514 units at Citylife @ Tampines, 16 are penthouses: some are duplex units with bedrooms on both floor, whilst others are duplex units with a dumbbell layout on the first floor and pure open terrace on the upper. (I viewed 1 of each type. There are also dual-key units that some multi-generational families may prefer but I didn’t view these as the extra kitchen would be a waste of space for us (my Mom has yet to master the art of anything more than boiling water and making coffee!)
(FYI there’s usually a price premium for dual-key units as well.) Both offer multi-generational families the privacy they require for harmonious living: in fact, I watched an old news feature on YouTube in which the developer said that they specifically built super large units to allow for 3 generations to stay under 1 roof.
Despite being 1 of the condos with the largest number of units that I’ve viewed to date, Citylife @ Tampines didn’t feel densely populated at all. I took a tour of the entire development and there weren’t many people using the facilities or walking around the grounds, despite it being a weekend.
Fun fact: (according to the agent who showed me around) developments in East Singapore are mandated to be under 15 stories due to the planes flying overhead – this helps mitigate the effects of high-density developments as you won’t be sharing your lift with so many people. (I had the lift all to myself on all my journeys.) Moreover, although Citylife @ Tampines borders other high-rise developments (the Trilliant, for one), the developer has thoughtfully planted bamboo trees along the fence and paths, providing more privacy as well as a beautiful and shady place to walk along during the day.
Nonetheless, my house hunt has not come to an end as the dumbbell unit that I viewed had too much space devoted to the roof terrace (50% – I like a large balcony only when I have enough interior living space!) and the owner of the duplex unit only allowed me to view half the flat! I’m not sure about you, but I need to see the entire place before handing over millions of hard-earned $$! I’m wondering if some people don’t though as this isn’t an isolated viewing incident: previously, I’d viewed a unit only to find out after the viewing that what you see isn’t what you get. Apparently, the owner had made some illegal (i.e. non-MCST approved) changes to the flat that she was planning to take down before handing over the flat to the buyer. However, you don’t actually get to see the final version of the flat till after you’ve bought the flat. (And I wasn’t even told about this till I asked a question and the topic came up! I won’t bore you with the long list of my weird viewing experiences but, to me, such seller behaviour is symptomatic of how hot the Singaporean property market is at the moment!)
I’ll keep an eye out for new listings at Citylife @ Tampines but, in the meantime, have scheduled several more EC viewings which I’ll share with you next week!
What I liked:
- Beautiful grounds and facilities: it has a 100m infinity pool!
- Some external facing units have totally unblocked views (but do check the masterplan to see if anything’s going to be built there in the near future!)
- Close to schools, ranging from primary to tertiary, both local and international (UWC) (proximity to schools provides me with a reassurance that it wouldn’t be too difficult to sell or rent out the unit in future, if needs be), but the educational institutions are not so close that you can look right into them
- One of the few Tampines condos that is close the MRT and temporary bus interchange (7-8 minutes walk)
- The MCST is quite hardworking: they’ve installed sanitiser dispensers in the lift lobbies (They’ve also equipped security with on-body cameras, which I understand some people dislike.)
- The MCST is also very generous when it comes to penthouse units: some MCSTs make you fight tooth-and-nail to build anything on your roof terrace, but I saw several penthouse units with almost the entire upper terrace enclosed! (This might be a negative if you’re not a penthouse owner though, as the penthouses would be getting “cheap” living space since outdoor space is traditionally discounted by 50% during valuation- i.e. the penthouse owner gets an extra room at 50% of the price by building a a cover over their roof terrace)
- The units I saw had 2 doors, so it would be possible to build your own dual-key (without paying the premium developers traditionally charge for dual-key units)
- Bright units
What’s not so good:
- Surrounded by roads and see-through balconies, the ground floor units have 0 privacy (and probably suffer from quite a bit of road pollution as well)- quite a few of the ground floor units had their blinds completely down when I walked around the development in the afternoon. (In comparison, the ground floor units at Trilliant are elevated by 5 steps and have a solid half-wall for the ground floor balconies.)
- The balconies on the lower floor of the penthouse units have open roofs, so it may be tricky installing invisible grille on them (you’d need to consult an expert, which I am not!)
- Playground seems a little small for 514 units (I only saw 1 on my tour). On the plus side, it’s the only condo playground that I’ve seen with a sand pit, and it wasn’t overly crowded on my visit.
- Next to a plot of land earmarked for Healthcare purposes (part of the government’s plan to decentralise medical care)
See you again next week as I continue on my elusive house hunt!