I’ve Lived At The Rainforest EC For A Year: Here’s My Review Of What It’s Like To Stay In This Family Executive Condominium
- October 19, 2022
- 8 min read
There’s always a great debate when it comes to the decision of a condo versus a resale HDB.
Some people feel that condos are not worth the premium, the living spaces are typically smaller, and there are still monthly maintenance fees to think about.
For others, HDB living is not as private, there’s no gated compound despite how safe Singapore is, and there are no facilities like a gym or swimming pool to enjoy on weekends.
This is exactly why an executive condominium is viewed as the best of both worlds’ choices – condo living at a lower than private condo price.
And given how property prices have moved in 2022 so far, it’s easy to see why resale executive condos will be an increasingly popular option to look at.
This week, we had the opportunity to cover a relatively new EC from the point of view of a resident.
Sam (*not his real name for privacy reasons) and his family moved to The Rainforest in September 2021. It’s a resale EC that was completed in 2015, and it’s one of the rare ECs that is close to an MRT station. With a total of 466 units, it’s also a good mid-sized development that is set between 2 other condos, Mi Casa and Wandervale.
While it sits in District 23, where there’s an abundance of nature spots, it is also in proximity to other essential amenities. Examples include Lot One for shopping and dining, and families will be happy to hear that South View Primary and Teck Whye Primary School are in walkable distances.
Most people living in this location love how peaceful the neighbourhood is. In fact, it’s one of the factors that Sam and his family chose The Rainforest for their home.
And so for those looking for more affordable condo living, you may find this resident review of The Rainforest a very helpful piece as Sam shares what it’s like to live there.
How The Rainforest Compares To Other Estates
Sam shared that they had quite specific considerations in mind during their search. One was that he wanted a project that was not too old – preferably not more than 10 years old. They also wanted a laid-back environment. And a condo that has good facilities for their kids.
For the unit, Sam and his wife were looking for a 3-bedder to accommodate their family of 2 adults and 2 children. They were also particular about having a home with good connectivity. One that’s not too far from an MRT station and a town centre. If you’ve been searching for an EC, you’d know that it’s not all too common to find one that is close to an MRT station.
The price, both psf and quantum, must be justifiable. Also, there must be a potential for capital appreciation.
As with any home buyer, they had several other contenders that they were comparing The Rainforest to. Here’s how they matched up.
- Mi Casa – This is a slightly older project that TOP-ed in 2013 and sits right beside The Rainforest. It was slightly cheaper from a psf perspective, hence there was a certain attraction to it. However, there are bay windows for the units, which to them, is not a good use of space. The tile flooring did not appeal to them too, as it looked quite pale.
- Hillsta –
There’s no doubt that a freehold development is always preferable, and that’s where the Hillsta trumps any of the other choices.It has almost the same number of units as The Rainforest – 416 compared to the latter’s 466. However, they ultimately did not choose this because its location is not near an MRT station, and neither is it close to the town centre.
- Hillion Residences – While this estate’s location near Bukit Panjang MRT is actually good, the price discouraged them upfront. Sam decided that the psf price was too high, and they were not willing to pay the premium for an integrated development, as convenient as it can be. In fact, they did not even head down to the actual site to check it out.
Editor’s note (20 October 11:09): Hillsta is not a freehold development.
They also checked The Warren, Northvale, and Palm Gardens. But all of them share one thing in common that kept Sam and his wife from considering them – they are all too old.
What Made The Rainforest Stand Out From Other Choices
So why did Sam and his wife choose The Rainforest? He said that what attracted them to the estate in the first place was a combination of factors.
Price was one of them. Here’s what he shared when they bought their unit a year ago.
“This condo was selling at just around $1,050 psf on the mid floor some time during the middle of 2021. For a 6-year-old condo that is near CCK central, we felt it was undervalued at that time.” He added that after just one year, transactions for similar types are currently going for $1,200 to 1,300 psf.
(To be fair, prices across the board have definitely increased since 2021).
Another reason the couple picked The Rainforest is its location. It has good connectivity to a Choa Chu Kang MRT station (about 5-6 minutes walk) as well as a bus stop. Lot One Mall, Teck Whye Shopping Centre, Polyclinic, schools, and Choa Chu Kang park are all close by too.
Then there’s the environment, which is one of the major reasons that swayed them. “During viewing, I was impressed by the greenery of the condo,” Sam recalled. “They even have a mini waterfall at one of the pools.” (Hence the name of the condo).
The carpark is located at the basement level, which allowed the condo to add more greenery to its landscape, especially on the ground floor.
What A Typical Day Looks Like At The Rainforest
Most developments are bustling during the weekends, with pools and other facilities filled with people. It’s not the case with The Rainforest, though, as it’s usually not overcrowded. 466 units is quite a good size today, as it’s enough such that you can enjoy a full suite of facilities, but not too many either that it gets too busy. Sam told us that it is pretty easy to have an enjoyable weekend, spending time in the gym or at the pool.
They also have many options for shopping and dining. Sometimes they would choose to head out to Teck Whye Shopping Centre, where there are numerous places to eat. The shopping complex offers them affordable food and shopping options. There are also many supermarkets that are close by enough.
And if there’s a need for further retail therapy, Sam said Jurong East is just a few MRT stops away, where JEM and Westgate are the flagship malls of the area. There’s also Hillion Mall and Bukit Panjang Shopping Centre, which are both easily accessible by bus 975 and bus 190.
A Look Behind The Facade Of The Rainforest
Of course, not everything is perfect, and a common issue for most homeowners will be the walk to the MRT. It’s one of the upsides of staying in an integrated development, as you are directly connected to the MRT or bus.
As such, one of the inconveniences they have about staying at The Rainforest is that the walk from Choa Chu Kang MRT is not fully sheltered. While they have protection from the sun and rain most of the time, they don’t have any shelter when crossing roads.
Sam added that the development’s land size is not exactly big (189,337 square foot, to be exact). Still, the condo’s facilities are quite comprehensive, consisting of a gym, a 50-metre lap pool and other pools, tennis courts, BBQ pits, a clubhouse, playgrounds, and exercise corners.
If there’s an improvement that he wants to have in the estate, that would be concerning the parking. While the first parking is free for residents, they had to pay for an additional season parking lot. However, Sam thinks this is quite the norm for the newer condos these days.
Considerations Potential Buyers Should Know
Sam pointed out a number of interesting details about the estate, particularly the new upgrades that are coming up around the area.
First, there’s the new SAFRA that’s set to be up in the first quarter of 2023. It’s supposed to be a “fitness oasis”, and will be the first SAFRA clubhouse to have a sheltered swimming pool, aqua gym, sheltered futsal court and 150-metre sky running track.
It will also have an integrated wellness and fitness hub, and an indoor climbing facility. For families, there will be a 23,000 sq ft entertainment hub with bowling, darts, KTV, and F&B outlets.
A new Jurong Region Line is also in the works (making CCK MRT station a dual line), providing easier access to Tengah, Jurong Innovation District, and NTU from CCK. At the same time, a new hawker centre is also coming up once JRL is complete.
If you’re into nature parks, a new bird Paradise and Rainforest Paradise parks are set to open in the Mandai area. They will be combined with the Zoo, Night Safari, and River Safari into a 5-in-1 Theme Park. Getting there will just be a direct bus from CCK Interchange or a short drive from BKE.
For schools, you’ll find many of them – from primary, such as CCK Pri, Southview, and Teck Why Pri, all the way to junior college/ITE.
He also shared this fun fact. “If the new drive-thru outside the upcoming CCK SAFRA is indeed a McDonald’s, there will be a total of 4 McDonald’s within a 10-minute walk from The Rainforest. There’s one in Lot One, another in Teck Whye Community Centre, one in Keat Hong, and the new one in CCK Park.”
Staying At The Rainforest Condominium
If Sam can summarise what they love about staying at The Rainforest, he said that it’s being near to everything that is important to them.
Just 5 to 6 minutes of walking will take you to Lot One Mall. The MRT – both the North-South Line and the future Jurong Region Line – as well as the bus interchange are just 6 minutes away from the condo.
There are ample amenities and eateries around CCK central and Teck Whye, and Sam loves the fact that The Rainforest is situated between the two. So, walking to either is not too far away.
Right in front of the condo is a bus stop with 5 bus services. Bus number 190, the more popular one, allows you to reach Orchard Road in as little as 25 minutes during off-peak hours. If you’re curious, the bus actually takes the same route as private cars.
There’s also CCK Mega Playground for kids, and should they need it, a Polyclinic just a 3-minute walk away.
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