Condo Reviews I’ve Lived At Bullion Park For 28 Years: Here’s My Review Of What It’s Like To Stay At An Old But Spacious Condo
- September 5, 2022
- 11 min read
Bullion Park may have been built nearly three decades ago, but for an old condo, it actually sports a pretty unique exterior.
And while some may dub it (together with the rest of the housing developments in the area) as “ulu,” there have been further improvements in terms of transport in recent years. For one, the new Lentor MRT station on the Thomson East Coast line is about an 11-minute walk away.
But perhaps what’s most attractive about Bullion Park is really the space that it provides.
With 515,171 square feet of land for just 472 units, that’s a stellar ratio. As with many of the older developments, this is also its unique selling proposition compared to newer estates. Being an old-school condo means it is more spacious – a much sought-after commodity in Singapore today.
But how does it really feel to live in Bullion Park? We may have done a full review and tour on the development, but the best way to get a feel for this is to get a first-hand account from someone who has been staying there for a long time.
This week, we are fortunate to hear from Belinda (*not her real name for privacy reasons). Belinda has been one of the long-time residents of Bullion Park, as she moved to Bullion Park in 1994, roughly a year after it TOP-ed in 1993.
For the younger readers reading this, you may just be wondering how people back then even decided on putting their hard earned money down on such a big ticket item like a house. If you think information on property is lacking today (PS. we try to solve that with our new launch portal), well, things were far worse before the Internet.
“When we were first looking for a house, we were pretty lost because back then there weren’t things like the internet,” she recalled. “We had to reply on newspaper ads and televisions or agents.”
(Just look at how property ads used to look).
Belinda and family were initially looking for an HDB. And since their parents stayed in the Yishun area, it was only natural for them to start their search there. While looking at flats, Belinda admitted that they were also somehow thinking whether it would be possible to get a condo instead.
“It was mainly for a better lifestyle, with facilities and all that,” she said, “and we thought, why not?” She added that it was a very innocent kind of thinking back then because of the financial structure. It required only a 10% down payment and a 90% loan – which made it much easier. Today, that down payment number is 25%.
“Back then, there were very little developments around the Yishun area. If I’m not mistaken, it was only Orchid Park and Castle Green.” But when Bullion Park fell on their radar, she said they felt that it suited a lot of their lifestyle.
“I think in hindsight, it was a good decision in terms of value… to have gotten a private property over an HDB because of what Singapore has progressed to.”
How Bullion Park Condominium Compares
While Belinda couldn’t clearly recall if they considered other condos back then, the decision of Bullion Park was definitely in consideration of other HDB developments.
She shared that in the past, when they were growing up, they did not come from a well-to-do family. So choosing between private property and an HDB seemed very distant. “Also, the people around us potentially had a lot of things to say. Typical Singaporean things like… wah you all go for such an expensive house for your first house!?”
But she said they did their finances and saw that they would be able to afford it.
“The price gap between an HDB and private property wasn’t as big back then”, Belinda shared. But she quickly added, “at least, that’s how I remember it!”. So when she saw the space of the land, and the facility offerings that Bullion Park, it was a clear choice for them.
What Made Bullion Park Stand Out From Other Choices
Just like many buyers at that time, Bullion Park was enticing because of the land size and the design of the estate.
“Back in the day, it was one of those really grand looking places with really big swimming pool, gym, squash court, tennis court, and even a Koi pond. We like that it had a good plot size too.”
Belinda did also add that Bullion Park stood out a lot more in those days as the competition in the private property market wasn’t as fierce.
And while it was pretty easy to book facilities back then, there weren’t any apps, so it could only be done at the security office – which wasn’t the most convenient thing. Especially because at that time developments weren’t as well thought out as today, so you didn’t have complete shelter everywhere you went.
Also, because Bullion Park was located quite far out, grocery shopping was an affair that definitely involved some form of driving. So for Belinda and family, they really appreciated that there’s also a mini-mart, which is very convenient. They’ve also tried to keep up with the time, and recently they added a vending machine that sells nice healthy meals and salads.
“There’s a pretty decent community of people here. Before COVID hit us, there were dinner functions once in a while. There haven’t been any of these events since then, though.”
The facilities are surrounded by a more than decent number of table with umbrellas. And with the advantage of the size of the land, they are nicely spaced out. You certainly don’t ever get the feeling of being overcrowded here. A lot of people, including herself, would use those chairs and tables for meetings and social gatherings.
Belinda also helpfully shared that the maintenance fee is probably around $300 a month for their 3 bedroom unit, which she believes is fair in comparison to another development that they now own. “That one is in the mid $500s. where everything which spoils needs a top up because of the amount of owners sharing the cost.”
What A Typical Day Looks Like At Bullion Park
On weekdays, Belinda enjoys walking in the evening around the compound. She said you tend to see some joggers and people taking walks, which unknowingly gives her some added motivation.
Especially during the pandemic period, having that amount of space just downstairs really helped with the mental wellbeing of being “cooped” up at home.
During weekends, there’s a healthy amount of children in the pool where it can get a little noisy. “But we don’t mind as we don’t use the facilities much over the weekends.”
They do also enjoy the multiple facilities that the condominium offers. From the tennis court to the basketball court, and even the outdoor gardens, it’s great for families that have very active children. Even though they don’t use some of the facilities as often as they would like, they liked having them available at whenever they felt like it.
A Look Behind Bullion Park Condominium’s Facade
As much as they’ve really enjoyed their stay at Bullion Park the past few decades, there’s definitely room for improvement within the development.
One of Belinda’s issues about staying at Bullion Park include future proofing the development as the world seemingly moves towards electric vehicles being a mainstay. Naturally, that involved having proper EV infrastructure installed. “I tried to put a motion for an EV charger, but it was not approved.”
Another of the biggest issues of Bullion Park is the car park. There’s no doubt that it’s big and plentiful, and unlike some of the older developments around, it at least has shelter for the car.
The main problem? The walk from the car park to the lobby is exposed to the elements. On a rainy day when you’ve bought a boot load of groceries home, this can be a real nuisance.
“I’ll have to call for a family member to come down to help unload the stuff at the lobby, park the car, and then get my umbrella out,” Belinda shared. “On very heavy rain days, you will be bound to get wet,” she further added.
As one last minor point, she mentioned that even though the place is very well maintained for an old development, some of the equipment is a bit outdated.
“Back in the day, the ‘in’ thing was curved pools. Just wished that there was one lap pool and another one that was for more leisure activities. Nonetheless, the current pools are spacious enough.”
Considerations Potential Buyers Should Know
Belinda said that potential buyers looking for a property with a good amount of space should consider Bullion Park. There’s not many places in Singapore that can still offer such a large space, that’s freehold, and still at a relatively decent price.
She also believes that the upcoming Lentor underground MRT station, together with the new developments in the area, could make Bullion Park a good bet for a longer-term hold. With the new Lentor Modern coming up, the added amenities will help the area a lot.
“Also, I think that we come from an earlier generation where walking distance to MRT is a big factor. I guess the buyers have to be ok with it.”
She also shared that there have been recent upgrades to the development, with the revamped toilets being a big one (for her, at least). “While I don’t use it much, I do like how the bathrooms are so much cleaner and nicer now.”
Then, there’s also the well-maintained facilities, which she said have also improved over the years. One of the tennis courts has been converted into a basketball court. The pool has been updated, as well as the gym.
Belinda also added that the gym at Bullion Park is much more feature packed than most condo gyms, and if you are a gym junkie, this would be very much a bonus.
Lastly for her, the lobbies at Bullion Park is actually quite nice, and much better than some older development she’s been to. It’s a small thing, but it does feel a lot better to come home to.
Staying At Bullion Park
While labelling this development as “ulu” can be a subjective thing, Belinda did bring up that the location isn’t as bad as most people think. “I think it’s pretty well connected even though it seems like it isn’t. A bus from the side gate takes us to the nearest MRT, which is Yio Chu Kang. Now, the new Lentor station makes things easier too.”
She also loves how the blocks are all not facing each other, so it’s always breezy. With an unobstructed view – the front facing a bus stop and the back to the landed houses – sometimes the wind can even get pretty strong.
Since they like to take walks and jog, the routes having less traffic are a big plus. It’s also near the upper Thomson Park connector, which leads to a really nice walking trail.
Her unit’s layout is also one of her favourites at Bullion Park. “The size of the unit is very decent as there isn’t a balcony so you get a full-sized living and separate dining area. We also have an enclosed kitchen with a yard.” They also have one neighbour on their left, even if each level has four units.
Finally, we asked Belinda how long they were planning to stay at Bullion Park or if they had any future plans.
“We’re going to keep this place hopefully till it goes through a successful collective sale as it’s fully paid up already and the rental market is pretty good,” she replied. They plan on moving to another development because they need an extra room, and unfortunately, Bullion Park doesn’t have any 4 bedders available.
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