Property Stories Touring Burgundy Hill: An Affordable Landed Enclave In Bukit Batok Surrounded By Greenery
- April 17, 2022
- 12 min read
The Burgundy Hill area is home to 166 3-storey semi-detached houses built in 1999, and it was done up in the Victorian style, by CapitaLand. Although the properties here are 99-year leasehold in nature, they caught my attention for the following reasons:
- The plot is bordered by greenery on 2 sides, so some of the houses have unblocked, lush and verdant views towards the back which, if you’ve been hunting for a landed property, you’ll know is super rare in Singapore.
- The living room is double volume with a nice, high ceiling. Before you scoff at this being a waste of space, I’d like to point out that a double-height living room (and surrounding greenery) not only looks good, but also helps keep a house cool and aids ventilation, which is super important in a hot and muggy country like Singapore. (Non-detached landed houses, particularly terrace houses, are infamous for being hot and stuffy. I actually visited one once which was hotter (inside the house) than it was outside under the blazing afternoon sun (due to the lack of airflow!))
- If you’re of the “maximise every inch of space” camp, some houses have had the mezzanine area filled to create another room, so there’s something for everyone here.
- The rooms on the top floor also have beautifully lofty ceilings, with a vaulted effect- some go up to 5m! (Attic rooms are notoriously hot.)
- At least half of the houses are North-South facing (well, Northwest-Southeast facing, if we’re being super technical here, but the orientation is more North than West, as you can see from the map below.)
Note: the Burgundy area encompasses these 3 streets- Burgundy Rise, Burgundy Crescent, and Burgundy Drive- and is about a 10-minute drive to the Jurong CBD area.
Leasehold landed property isn’t for everyone, as it usually suits buyers who are comfortable purchasing property as own-stay homes (and not investment assets), so let’s get the important details out of the way first. The lease for the land starts from March 1995, i.e. the houses are almost 30 years old, which in leasehold property terms, is considered by some to be “past its prime” if you’re looking to re-sell at a profit later on.
Having said that, you still have a good 72 years left to live in the property, which should be long enough to house yourself till the end of your days and your children till they become financially independent/ retire (if you have any, that is.) Moreover, if you need the space but don’t have the budget to match, there are semi-detached houses here going for as low as $2.25million, which is almost impossible to find in today’s property market. (Trust me, I’ve been looking. Another leasehold landed area that I covered with landed properties under $2.5 million at the time of writing is Pasir Ris.)
I drove over to Burgundy Hill at 7 on a weekday morning and the first thing that came to mind is that the houses are further out than they appear: if you look at the map, the houses are actually along Toh Tuck Road, so technically not too far from the Beauty World area. However, because of where the turning in (Burgundy Rise) is situated (off Bukit Batok East Avenue 3), it feels like a much longer drive. (On the bright side, the houses are near the PIE, so it’s convenient to get around Singapore.)
There is also only one vehicular entrance/exit into this landed community (although there are several pedestrian entry points). Given that there are only 166 houses here, it shouldn’t get too congested. But at 8 in the morning, there were already 3 cars waiting behind me waiting to drive out onto the main road. The turnout is super easy though so no one will have to wait for too long, as there’s a traffic light just a few meters ahead to stop the cars and allow people to exit – very convenient for residents of this landed estate!
The internal roads are curving, narrow 2-lane roads. Apparently, many residents must have more than 1 car (or don’t like parking in their own homes) as there were many vehicles parked along the road, though thankfully all on the same side, so it wasn’t too difficult to drive through.
Despite the 2 plots of open land next to the houses, the area feels very busy once you walk out of the Burgundy area, as one side of the landed enclave faces industrial buildings, such as Wcega Plaza, and another, busy roads (Bukit Batok East Avenue 3 and Bukit Batok St 25 – i.e. the houses are next to a junction where a 6-car lane road intersects a 7-car lane road!) Once inside the housing estate, I couldn’t really hear the traffic, but noise may be an issue for the road-facing houses. I would say, it’s very important to pick the position of your unit carefully when buying a house here!
Note: the industrial buildings near Burgundy Hill have been designated as light/clean industry areas so heavy pollution shouldn’t be a big issue.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the greenery surrounding the houses is not protected as they are actually 2 reserve sites (i.e. the specific use of the land has not yet been determined.) Also, keep in mind that whilst I personally love living next to a “forest”, it’s not for everyone as these areas are usually more humid, have more insects, and may have wildlife issues.
If you’re wondering about dengue, due to how the Aedes mosquito has evolved locally, that’s actually more of an issue if you live in built-up areas in Singapore than near forested ones! Living next to a forest has also been linked to better brain health and a person’s increased ability to manage stress, depression, and anxiety. (Unfortunately, according to the study, an urban green space such as a park or even bodies of water can’t substitute for a forest here – although do note that correlation is not causality.)
For parents of young children, there’s unfortunately only one Primary School within 1 km of this area (Bukit Timah Primary School) although Pei Hwa Primary is under 2 km away. There’s a large playground within the estate, and many of the houses near the playground have an additional back gate, which I’m a fan of.
Unfortunately, when in terms of amenities, the Burgundy Hill estate falls a little short (it lives up to the saying that landed houses are far from everything.) There is both a Giant and a Sheng Shiong in the area, but it’ll take about 20 minutes on foot to get to either of these supermarkets, so it’s probably too far to walk if you’re stocking up. As for dining options, there is Boon Mookata & Lok Lok (4.1 stars on Google), Chuan Hai Seafood (4.3 stars), and Naga Thai Food (5 stars!!) in Wcega Plaza opposite the landed estate, as well as a couple of eateries in the HDB estates. For anything fancier, you have the Baker and Cook cafe at Eng Kong Park (a 20-minute stroll away.)
Public transport is also pretty limited: for those who take the MRT, Burgundy Hill is pretty inconvenient as it’s about 30 minutes away from the closest MRT stations (Beauty World and Bukit Batok, which is also where you’ll find West Mall.) The good news is there’s a bus stop right outside the estate.
Other things to note:
- When I mention landed housing to friends, 1 common topic that comes up is security. If you’re a person who worries about this, do note that some of the houses here that face the forested areas aren’t the most secure, as the fence surrounding the backyard is low enough that I can boost myself over without a ladder. (See photo above) If you follow the news, you may remember that 6 men who entered Singapore illegally were found hiding in forested areas near here last year. (And if you think such worries are paranoia, I’d like to share the (admittedly uncommon) story of my childhood doctor who came home one day to find his house surrounded by reporters. Apparently, a murderer had been hiding in his home without him realising!)
- Some units appear to rent out individual rooms, which is a practice not everyone is comfortable with happening in their neighbourhood. (The listing does not specify whether the entire house is a “dormitory” that rents out rooms individually, or it’s a “1-off” spare room that’s rented out.)
- The houses here vary greatly:
- some units are on land about 2,200 sq ft in size, whilst others are over 4,500 sq ft! (Note that these larger ones are corner units, usually with long, L-shaped driveways – great if your family has multiple cars, but not the most efficient use of space if you don’t.)
- Some houses have split steps between the living and dining rooms- a popular practice back in the day- whilst others don’t, etc
Now that we’ve seen Burgundy Hill estate, what do you think? If it’s not the place for you, but you’re interested in finding a 99-year leasehold landed property, join me again next week as I tour another enclave!