I’ve Lived In Woodleigh Residences For 3 Months: Here’s My Review Of What It’s Like To Live In A New Condo Above A Mall
- Ryan J
- December 27, 2023
- 7 min read
The Woodleigh Residences was one of the most eagerly anticipated projects to be completed in 2023. Although it must be said, it was probably because of the Woodleigh Mall then it was the residential component. Incorporating both a mall and an MRT station, it’s also a project that’s just one stop from NEX Megamall. It was such a popular hotspot that it caused car park issues (as the mall shares the same car park entrance as the condo residents).
Nevertheless, this is one of the most convenient places to live in Serangoon right now, and we spoke to a couple about their experiences living there:
Why Woodleigh Residences?
We asked our couple, S, on how they shortlisted and decided on this project:
“As second-time homeowners, we’ve learned that there are things beyond price PSF and layout to look for; plus we are not as easily swayed by what we see in the show flat. We learned to read URA plans, go down the site for an actual reconnaissance at different timings, and to look out for the locations of common facilities.”
Some of the couple’s main considerations were:
- Convenience: The couple required a place near a transport hub. This put Woodleigh Residences high on the list, being literally on top of Woodleigh MRT station. S says: “I timed myself once. From the moment I left my unit, took a train to Orchard, went to Takashimaya to buy a pot (including deciding what colour to buy, chatting with the salesperson, queuing to make the purchase, etc) and took a train back and re-entered the unit – it was all under 60 mins.”
Woodleigh Residences also has an underground bus interchange, which provides an alternative mode of transport.
- Amenities: The Woodleigh Mall, located below the residential portion, has a 24-hour supermarket. There’s also a good range of eateries, some medical facilities, and many enrichment centres for children.
- Location and safety: S says “We have a young child and a helper, and while we want to ensure our child grows up to be independent and not molly-coddle him, he needs to be able to do it in a safe environment. A safe environment means the surrounding areas are not messy or notorious.”
At the same time, the couple feel that with the proximity of the Stamford American School, and the various Bidadari HDB projects, they can find a buyer should they move in future.
- Size: The couple shared that their family unit consists of three adults and one child. This necessitated at least a three-bedroom unit. “Our previous unit was sufficient, but as we didn’t have a yard area or storeroom, my helper slept in the third bedroom – which meant we had no extra room for a 2nd child or for a home office.”
The couple also wanted a three-bedder with a yard, so they could “reclaim” an extra bedroom for either a home office, or a second child.
- Layout and Facilities: Learning from their previous unit, which had a long but narrow balcony (this was purposed for hanging laundry in the end), the couple sought efficiency in the unit layout. S also said they focused on the basics: “As a small family, it was important for us to have basic facilities like a pool and function rooms. Too many facilities was also a concern for us as it might become wasted space.”
On top of meeting all the above requirements, S also says The Woodleigh Residences is near their parents’ home.
A matter of timing
When shortlisting condos, S says Woodleigh Residences was not an initial choice of theirs. S says that at first:
“We were looking at the older condos around Kovan, Potong Pasir, Whampoa and Balestier areas. However, we were unable to find any units (resale and new) we liked during our search – either the layout was too weird or it was priced too high.”
In some cases, it was just a matter of timing:
“We liked Florence Residences and were keen to purchase it, but as a late entry, we were entering the market at $1,800 PSF while the initial buyers went in at $1,400 PSF. While the $1,800 PSF was attractive, at a time where even Lentor was commanding $2,000 PSF, it did not seem like a prudent move if we wanted to have the option of flipping it in the future.”
While doing their research, however, “We casually raised this project (Woodleigh Residences) up to our agent, who went on to do some research – and later agreed that this was a good option.”
The decision also arose from some of their realtors’ insights:
“One thing we learnt from our agent is that, while price PSF is important, sometimes it’s all about timing. This project was launched on the high side, and affected by Covid. After two to three years, the PSF only went up by $100 to $200, so it still made sense to enter the market.”
Another factor was the mall’s commercial component being properly controlled, with a strong tenant mix.
The pros and cons of staying at Woodleigh Residences
S says: “Did I say “convenience” already? Honestly, you are living above a shopping mall (a proper mall and not a strata-titled one), and above an MRT with an upcoming hawker centre next to you…and Singapore’s first underground air-conditioned bus interchange, there really is nothing to complain about when it comes to location.
I don’t see a need to take Grab or Gojek now unless I’m carrying bulky items. Sometimes it’s faster to just take the train!”
The condo facilities also include five pools (three large pools and two children’s pools), multiple function and study rooms, and a Japanese-style onsen that looks out over Bidadari Park.
“I love the presence of ample greenery within the estate”, S says, “but it’s also a double-edged sword as it means it needs a lot of effort to maintain it”.
Security is also tight: the lift requires a keycard, and residents can’t go to floors besides their own. Only the floors with common facilities, or the ground floor, are open to all residents with keycards.
While generally an upside, S says: “It’s like living in an office building. I appreciate the security but it’s annoying when the sensor is not sensitive. I have missed my floor a few times because the sensor couldn’t detect my card at all.
For visitors, it’s also a pain. By right, once they press the buzzer of your residential block, the gate’s unlocked and the lift will automatically bring them to your floor – no need for them to press anything. However, if the visitor walks too slowly or misses the lift, they are stuck and cannot access any floors at all! It can be quite traumatic if someone has claustrophobia. I have had to head down to open the door for delivery people and friends because it’s too frustrating. Honestly, sometimes too high-tech also has no point, there is beauty in simplicity.”
The main issue with Woodleigh Residences, however, is the current parking issue:
“The parking is horrendous and notorious. I’m not sure why LTA or the developer or the architect or contractor did not foresee that it would be a problem to have residents and mall shoppers to share the same main entrance.”
And as you might well have read about, this issue has appeared before in the news.
S says “There is another entrance by the side of Upper Aljunied Road but it’s reserved for the police – which I get. I understand the need for the separation and I don’t expect residents to share this restricted access with the police. But really, I hope the government bodies can think of a way to solve this. It’s hilarious that as a resident, I have to queue for 10 to 20 minutes during peak hours just to go home.”
The environment of Woodleigh Residences is very quiet despite being integrated – but because it’s so silent at night, noise from the pool, balcony, and function rooms may seem amplified. And as with all integrated projects, owners need to accept that maintenance money may go to common areas also shared by the commercial element.
However, the pros still outweigh the cons. S notes that, with Stamford American School nearby, several smaller units are tenanted, and a number of children staying in Woodleigh Residences are from the school.
Daily life at Woodleigh Residences
S says that:
“Going to work and school is very convenient. Our child goes to a nearby preschool, and we would either take a five-minute drive there or take the train (one stop) or bus (three stops).
If we are going straight to the office, NEL brings us to Chinatown where we will change to DTL to get to the CBD. Travelling time has halved for us.”
The proximity of enrichment centres also provides an outlet for the children, on weekday evenings – these are conveniently in the mall itself. Necessities like milk powder, diapers, etc. are easily available from the 24-hour supermarket below the residences.
“On weekends, we will head to the pools to play or to Kidztopia, which is located downstairs within the mall,” S says. “For our meals, sometimes we will order food from any of the eateries downstairs, and return home to eat. No need for Grab Delivery! The only thing we miss is the presence of late night supper options, but I guess we’ll be healthier this way.”
Long term plans
The couple say the convenience of Woodleigh Residences is tough to rival, but they’re still open to selling and moving if future prices are good. A particular concern would be home loan rates, which are higher than before, and show few signs of going back down.
There may also be a sale if the family expands, and unit size and nearby schools become a factor again.
For more homeowner experiences, as well as in-depth looks at new and resale properties in the Singapore condo market, follow us on Stacked.