ReviewsWaterway Terraces Review: Convenient Waterfront Living But Not Great Maintenance

  • by
  • January 10, 2021
  • 37 min read
waterway terraces review

Summary: Waterway Terraces

Waterway Terraces presents residents with an amazing opportunity to experience waterfront living with great convenience, but the development itself leaves much to be desired.

Reviewed by Reuben on January 10, 2020

What we like
  • Convenience to Waterway Point
  • Amenities within the development
  • Seamless Park Connector access
What we don't like
  • Extremely poor maintenance
  • Lack of privacy due to the long corridor
  • Lack of sunlight into the service yard
Project: Waterway Terraces I
HDB Town Punggol
Address: 308A-C Punggol Walk
Lease Start Date: March 2016
No. of Units: 1,072

In 2010, Waterway Terraces I launched with much hype in the 2010 BTO exercise.

At that time, there weren’t really any “standout” HDB projects in the Punggol Precinct that drastically shifted away from the traditional HDB design.

So when HDB launched Waterway Terraces I with its stunningly refreshing design concept, the project ended close to 18 and 12 times oversubscribed for the 5-room and 4-room units respectively.

And why wouldn’t it? With its allure of waterfront living, unique architecture and its proximity to Punggol MRT, it was truly a standout from the typical BTO releases that you might usually see.

Moreover, Waterway Terraces I launched not just with a different architecture, but with a novel design narrative in mind: as a blueprint for 21st century sustainable mass housing given the increasing awareness of climate change.

This rides on the 2010 announcement for Punggol to be Singapore’s first Eco-Town.

The design inspiration looked back to the 50s and 60s when SIT (Singapore Improvement Trust) was in charge of public housing. Back then, homes were designed and built with the tropical climate in mind.

But with the increasing usage of air-conditioning and appetite for greater privacy, public housing started to become more unsustainable and anti-social.

Group8asia (the first foreign company to design an HDB in Singapore) designed Waterway Terraces as a modern response to this trend.

And the award-winning development has achieved this quite successfully through effective layout to maximise ventilation, energy-efficient lifts/lights and solar panels to name a few.

With so much positives going on, does Waterway Terraces live up to the expectations today? Let’s find out.

Waterway Terraces Insider Tour

In what is a departure from the norm, I’ll begin the tour with the carpark – more so because it isn’t something you’d normally see in other HDBs.

Upon driving in, you’ll be greeted by a ramp that would take you down to the basement carpark.

In fact, The Pinnacle@Duxton which I just covered in my previous review is another one, however, unlike the latter, Waterway Terraces’s carpark is not fully underground.

punggol waterway terraces entrance to carpark
Entrance to the basement carpark

Instead, it’s partially sheltered as you can see below.

punggol waterway terraces carpark

While being fully underground would’ve been the preferred choice for car owners, I do think that having natural light here serves a much better purpose as it saves on electrical costs – both from the mechanical ventilation and from using the lights in the day.

This after all, is supposed to be an eco-centric development, so it makes plenty of sense.

And if being partially sheltered isn’t sufficient, the development also features a unique sunpipe system to bring in more natural light and reduce its reliance on electricity.

punggol waterway terrace carpark

As you can tell from the wet surface, I came on a gloomy and rainy day, so the natural light really goes a long way to brighten up the place.

punggol waterway terraces semi underground carpark

I also noticed that even though it is not fully sheltered, residents are able to take sheltered paths through the carpark, so those who park here would never need to fully brave the rain.

More importantly, the carpark covers quite a bit of the development underground and houses the lift lobbies too – so residents can enjoy immediate access to the underground carpark.

punggol waterway terrrace carpark lift lobby

The basement carpark also contains a lot of greenery in the central area.

punggol waterway terraces greenery

This is the one area in the development that really stood out for me, as the amount of greenery here is thick and luscious.

waterway terraces greenery basement

But while the greenery is nice, I can’t imagine residents deliberately coming here often considering it’s on the same level as the carpark – in other words it isn’t visible on the ground level.

waterway terraces basement path greenery

In fact, the path isn’t a loop and more of an unsheltered but green path you can take to cross from one block to another.

punggol waterway terraces maintenance issues

Moving on, one thing here worth pointing out is the lack of maintenance.

Being unsheltered, I can understand that the pavements here are exposed to the weather elements. Still, I do think this is too much damage for a project that is just 5 years old, which is alarming to say the least.

And while I wish I could say that was the extent of the upkeep issues, these were persistent in different parts of the development.

punggol waterway spiral stairs

I didn’t have to look too far, as the steps leading to the ground level also had paint that was starting to wear off, and some parts of the steps were turning green.

Here’s a closer look of the wear and tear of the panel.

punggol waterway staircase

Going up this flight of stairs will lead you to the driveway just outside block 308A.

punggol waterway terrace walking area

The pathway here is sufficiently wide for a walkway, and it’s nice to see the sides lined with a diverse range of plants with the taller ones coming out from the basement level.

punggol waterway trees

One small detail that I like here is the use of hexagonal tiles. This goes in line with the hexagonal shape of the central green areas here. It could be purely coincidental, but it’s a neat one nonetheless!

punggol waterway terraces greenery

If you look past the trees, however, it becomes clear that the building is quite far from what it looks like in the photos taken immediately after the building’s completion in 2015.

You can clearly see that the building facade has not stood up well to the elements, with the whites of the balconies incorporating a dirty finish.

punggol waterway terraces block

That said, white is definitely not an easy one to maintain, but from my initial impressions, it certainly looks older than it really is.

Here’s a closer look at the white exterior walls.

punggol waterway terraces maintenance

It seems to consistently affect just the top part of the white exterior wall. I think this is due to the way the facade slopes outwards which prevents the rain from washing off the dirt at the top – so gradually the dirt forms at the top part over time.

Again, this is a constant sight throughout the development – not just one part of it. I can imagine the maintenance cost here to be quite high to clean the entire development.

punggol waterway terraces dirty white walls

In case you’re wondering what the original condition looked like that got many photographers flocking here to take architectural shots when it first opened, here it is:

punggol waterway terraces
Waterway Terraces in its glory days. Source: ArchDaily.

One thing I’d like to point out here is the Juliet Balcony.

For the uninitiated, a Juliet Balcony is one consisting of a balustrade connection to the building facade without a deck to walk on.

So why would the architects build a balcony without much space to walk on you ask?

For one, to improve the airflow through the development. By building a Juliet Balcony, residents can open a sliding window to allow more airflow into the home.

punggol waterway terraces driveway

You can also see the little leaf-shaped holes on the balcony which is one of the key tenets to the architecture of Waterway Terraces.

But one downside to having these balconies is that the residents don’t get to maximise the views & sunlight from a full floor-to-ceiling window.

punggol waterway terraces driveway

Moving on, the driveway here on the 1st level where cars can traverse across the development to pick-up and drop-off passengers doesn’t pass through the center of the development, but outside of it.

This serves to separate vehicular movement from the central green areas which residents would use frequently.

At the front of the development (from Punggol Walk) is the arrival area/drop-off porch which looks sufficiently big to fit up to 3 cars. It’s also sheltered quite well!

punggol waterway terraces arrival area

You can also see the stains on the underside of the shelter here which I think could be due to water seepage, while the edges of the shelter looks as if they might be dropping off any moment – it’s not a good look.

I’m happy to see that there are seating areas here though, which is perfect for the elderly waiting for their pick-up.

punggol waterway terraces bench

The void deck area also has some stone decorations which would have been a nice space to feature more plants to break the cold vibes that the void deck exudes, but that’s just a personal preference. Perhaps the lack of sunlight coming into the area would’ve made it difficult to achieve this.

punggol waterway terraces stone decoration

There are other spaces designated for greenery though – they just weren’t filled at the time of visit.

punggol waterway terraces plants
punggol waterway terraces plants

I can’t say how long this has been going on for, but I do hope that works will be done to rectify it.

punggol waterway terraces plants

To be fair, some areas did feature plenty of plants which grew out quite nicely, so plus points for that.

There are also signages around the development which I find very handy when getting around, considering how big the development is.

punggol waterway terraces signage

The leaf motif branding is also consistently displayed, even on the pillars.

punggol waterway terrace block number

I’ll have you know, the yellow colour here isn’t just for fun. There are 3 blocks in Waterway Terraces I – 308A, B and C which are coloured yellow, pink and orange respectively.

This further helps differentiate the blocks when you have guests coming over. “Take the yellow lift lobby!” is a much better guide than just the block number – even more so given the long corridor (but more on that later).

Now let’s move on to the green center.

punggol waterway terraces green center

Again, I love that the greenery from the basement level is so apparent here. The tall trees coming out from the sides of the walkway is really refreshing.

But beyond that, the shortcomings of the development are even more apparent here: the lack of maintenance.

punggol waterway terraces maintenance issues

While I’ve seen some maintenance issues in my other HDB reviews, Punggol Waterway Terraces has to take the cake for being the worst so far in terms of maintenance – even as I compare it to the older Pinnacle@Duxton!

punggol waterway terraces leaf motif bench

Another thing that is perplexing here are the protruding leaf motifs on the bench. It’s one of those things which may look nice, but is wholly impractical considering it’s not very pleasant to sit on.

Perhaps it’s great as a social distancing measure during times of Covid, but it definitely isn’t something I’d chalk as very practical in my books.

punggol waterway terraces bench

The protrusions also causes water to be retained here, which is why most of the dirt surrounds these motifs. Great design for a country with 4 seasons and less humidity perhaps, but not in a tropical one like Singapore.

punggol waterway terraces bench

The indoor benches which aren’t as exposed to the weather are also already quite dirty, so while the weather does play a big part, I would say the lack of maintenance here has much bearing on the outcome too.

The walkway is pretty well-maintained though and it does blend in quite nicely with the surrounding greenery!

punggol waterway terraces walkway

But I’d say that it’s probably the only feature that’s well-maintained. Looking around, it’s not just the standalone benches that are poorly-maintained, but the benches all around too.

punggol waterway terraces poorly maintained

Granted I didn’t tour the development with the best of Singapore’s weather, but even when it is dry and sunny, these stains are very visible.

In fact, just about anything white looks dirty here!

punggol waterway terraces poorly maintained

You can see how the area is in need of much re-painting on both the railings and the white areas – it’s really a wonder how far this development has fallen from grace.

I think having a shelter for these walkway areas would’ve helped, but I can understand the cost constraints here.

A playground?

The central green area also features a playground, or at least what is being touted as a playground.

I would say this should be renamed to “Balancing Tree Top Walk” given the surrounding greenery and the nature of the contraption here.

punggol waterway terraces playground

The other central green area’s playground, however, really left me scratching my head.

punggol waterway terraces playground
what-is-this.jpg

If I had to come up with a theme, it would be “Let your imagination run wild”, because it really takes a lot of imaginative powers to squeeze some fun out of it.

The chains don’t look fun to hold, and it kind of reminds me of a cold store where you hang meats.

Again, perhaps something along the theme of balancing would be great, but it’s certainly far from what a playground should be – even the colour theme doesn’t look inspiring.

punggol waterway terraces walkway

Surrounding the green center is a very wide walkway that residents can use to walk/run/cycle around should they decide not to leave the development.

While it doesn’t look like much, it’s quite a unique offering in some sense since many HDBs don’t even feature such a walkway within their development.

This is really useful for residents who want to take a quick stroll without going to the Park Connector.

punggol waterway terraces view

Perhaps it’s just the weather, but it seems as if no one is really taking care of the greenery here and a lot of it was left to its own devices. Much like those documentaries featuring what cities would look like uninhabited for 50 years, except in Waterway Terraces – it’s just 5.

That said, it’s just nitpicking on my end here given the flora here wasn’t really touted as a manicured garden but more of a catchment area.

punggol waterway terraces seating areas

If you haven’t already noticed, there are many residents who use the Juliet balcony to hang their clothes.

punggol waterway terraces hanging clothes

Considering it just rained before, what you see here is already very mild. In the day, many of these balconies can be seen with clothes draped over them, making the overall facade extremely unsightly.

Now before heading up to see the common corridor and community garden, let’s check out some of the amenities at Waterway Terraces I.

punggol waterway terraces hao mart

First off is the Hao Mart. It may look rather non-descript from the outside, but this grocer would be more than sufficient to fulfill the residents’ grocery needs here.

hao mart punggol waterway terraces

There’s a large selection of basic necessities, fruits and meats here – which will no doubt be very convenient for residents.

There’s also a refrigerated foods section.

punggol waterway terraces hao mart

A huge array of snacks and drinks are also available for that last-minute gathering with friends.

punggol waterway terraces hao mart

Outside the Hao Mart, there’s a clinic which is very convenient for residents.

punggol waterway terraces clinic

The clinic is situated right across Punggol Sumang LRT, so it’s also quite convenient for residents in the other developments to access too!

punggol waterway terraces sumang LRT

Next up and probably one of the most important amenities here is the food court on the 1st level.

punggol waterway terraces food court

I must say that the food court here is quite impressive with its diverse selection of food.

punggol wterway terraces food court

It’s probably one of the best amenities that Punggol Waterway Terraces I has – a food court right at your doorstep can really take your mind off having to hunt for food when you’re too lazy to cook.

punggol waterway terraces food court seats

I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of seating areas here though, so during peak hours, it may be best to pack your food.

punggol waterway terraces stall

There’s also a standalone stall that sells local snacks like curry puffs!

The other arrival area/dropoff point is also located here.

waterway terraces arrival area

It isn’t the most pleasant of sights however, given how close it is to the refuse area.

punggol waterway terraces refuse area

Other amenities here include a 24/7 laundromat as well as a barber, which I unfortunately did not manage to take a photo of.

The development also has several childcare centres, including a Sparkletots.

punggol waterway terraces sparkletots

Another one is the YMCA student learning centre.

punggol waterway terraces ymca

And the last one is Greenland Childcare Centre located on the ground level of block 308A.

One final nifty amenity I’d like to point out is the Parcel Santa!

punggol waterway terraces parcel santa

I would think this is a godsend given both the lack of privacy on each floor (which I’ll get to soon) and how big the development is, making it much easier for those delivering the parcels here.

Now let’s check out the lift lobby!

waterway terraces lift lobby

As mentioned earlier, Waterway Terraces features colour-coding for each block, and it’s visible at the lift lobby too.

There are 3 lift lobbies in block 308C and 308A, while block 308B has 2 lift lobbies. Each lift lobby has 2 lifts which is enough considering the numerous lift lobbies per block.

Not all the lift lobbies serve the top few floors though, given there are fewer units on the upper floors.

punggol waterway terraces lift notice

This particular lift lobby that I took opens up straight to the community garden.

punggol waterway terrace common area

Now what’s interesting here is that the building was deliberately designed so that there would be no dead-ends along each corridor.

So at the end of the corridor above, you’ll find 2 units on the left and right, and going straight would lead to you to the roof terraces.

punggol waterway terraces ventilation

The corridor also has voids seen here to facilitate ventilation. This helps ventilation and reducing heat in the dwelling units, and is one of the many reasons why this development achieved the Green Mark Platinum Award.

punggol waterway terraces natural ventilation
Look legit

In case you are wondering why the corridors meander in such a way, it’s a deliberate design meant to improve natural ventilation here.

In addition to that, the corridor is also lined with energy-efficient lighting which features motion sensors so as to save energy.

punggol waterway terraces common corridor

The entire corridor is really, really long and there can be up to 82 units per level as each of the blocks are connected to one another.

punggol waterway terraces common corridor

The long corridor style here really encourages you to walk past your neighbour’s home, which is supposed to foster a communal spirit much like the older block design. But this does come at a cost to your privacy which I believe most people would prefer today.

punggol waterway terraces

Given the number of units per floor here, the common walkway ends up being used to store things by residents. In this case, bicycles can be seen lined up on the side.

punggol waterway terraces door space

While the space afforded in front of each unit is decent enough to store a shoerack and perhaps a bicycle, I can still see why residents would encroach into the common corridor if they can.

punggol waterway terraces service yard

Perhaps one of the more notable issues along here are the service yards.

Firstly, you can look directly into them from the corridor, making privacy an issue.

Secondly, there seems to be a serious lack of sunlight coming into the service yards, which could explain why so many residents chose to hang their laundry on the Juliet Balcony itself.

punggol waterway terraces laundry

And if it’s not being hung on the Juliet Balcony, it’s even prominently displayed along the common corridor.

I wouldn’t be too harsh on this behaviour though – it’s really a consequence of when form trumps over function. So when presented with an open and long corridor with no one stopping you, this is the expected outcome.

Now let’s head onto one of the roof terrace.

punggol waterway terraces roof terrace

There are multiple roof terraces around the development. They feature seating areas as well as open spaces to do stationary exercises like Yoga and Pilates, an outdoor fitness area or a children’s playground.

punggol waterway terraces open area

The roof terrace shown here features an open area, and it’s actually quite well-maintained! The wood and plant combination here works really well too.

In fact, I would say that this wood supplier is pretty decent considering how it looks to be the same wood used along the walkways I saw earlier.

Residents who prefer doing their exercises out in the open should find this spot private enough.

punggol waterway terraces view
View of Waterway Terraces II

The only issue now are the constant sounds of construction going on with new developments in the area, but in the longer run, I do think this spot is great to wind down and relax.

punggol waterway terraces plant wall feature

Around the back, there’s also a vertical garden which looks pretty nifty.

punggol waterway terraces grass roof terrace

There are some parts of the roof terrace that looks slightly disappointing. I can understand that a patch of grass constitutes as a garden and to begin with, it wasn’t quite touted as one – but given how patchy it looks and how much space it takes up, I felt that more could have been done with it.

punggol waterway terraces roof terrace

In case you’re wondering why there’re so many different levels here, the stepped nature of the roof gardens were actually inspired by the rice terraces you see in Asia.

waterway terraces rice terrace inspiration
Source: DesignBoom

The illustrations painted an even more alluring picture.

punggol waterway terrace illustration
Source: DesignBoom

While these look great in marketing brochures, I think that a central common facility such as the one at The Pinnacle@Duxton is much better for 3 reasons.

First – a bigger area allows you to use multiple facilities more conveniently, rather than one having an open area, another having an outdoor fitness area and so on. What if, after doing pilates in the open area, I want to use the outdoor fitness area, all the while keeping an eye on my children who want to use the playground?

pinnacle@duxton sky bridge
Large sky bridge at The Pinnacle@Duxton

Second – with one central area, residents increase the chances of meeting one another which fosters community spirit better. There’s no separation of space there, and no guessing which floor one is on.

Third – having a central area that spans the development allows for a 360 degree panoramic view all around the development.

So while rice terraces work great for crops, it’s not so much a good source of inspiration (in my opinion) for residential living.

During a sunny day, it’s also common to see residents hanging their clothes and sunning their shoes here, which you can see in our Waterway Terraces Insider Tour video.

punggol waterway terraces solar panel

Not all roof terraces feature a garden though. Some/most of them are used used to house solar panels. If there’s any physical place here that’s most telling of its eco-friendliness, it has to be this.

punggol waterway terraces solar panels

It’s nice to see the adoption of solar panels for this HDB project, and I do hope HDB will consider doing more of this in the future.

It’s pretty cool actually, as a result of the many eco-friendly features in this development, Waterway Terraces I has achieved the Green Mark Platinum Award, and has an annual saving of 1,578,200 kWh per year.

punggol waterway terraces solar panels

To put it into perspective, according to the Energy Market Authority of Singapore, a typical 4-room HDB household consumes approximately 4,309 kWh per year in 2019. So this equates to powering about 366 4-room flats annually!

punggol waterway terraces view

It’s also from here that you are afforded some views – this one here is towards Yishun.

Now let’s head back down to check out the Common Green where the main facilities on the ground level are located, right next to the Promenade.

punggol waterway terraces lift panel

The Common Green features pretty standard facilities that are located right next to the Park Connector, so it can be quite popular with the public too.

punggol waterway promenade sign

I’m happy to see a wheelchair-friendly path down here, which is quite a pleasant trail given the flora all around.

punggol waterway terraces promenade path

It’s also over here that you’ll see a display about the Rain Garden.

The Rain Garden is actually quite a special feature. To the lay person, the surrounding nature is just greenery, but the landscaping here is quite a deliberate one.

punggol waterway terraces rain garden

As a curious bit of trivia, The Rain Garden is meant to detain and treat more than 35% of run-off from the catchment area, and less compacted soil is used to encourage infiltration – mimicking the way nature cleans water and serves to be a more effective way to manage water.

The landscaping here also blends in very well with the Park Connector right next to it.

punggol waterway terraces seating area

On the extreme west side of the Common Green area is a pergola.

What’s a pergola you ask?

Well, according to Wikipedia, a pergola is “an outdoor garden feature forming a shaded walkway, passageway, or sitting area of vertical posts or pillars that usually support cross-beams and a sturdy open lattice, often upon which woody vines are trained.”.

I think it’s quite a nice idea to have a pergola here for educational purposes, though I must say that on a day like this, the area certainly looks quite unsightly – especially with the dead leaves hanging on the shelter and the patch of dirty round the back.

waterway terraces common green path

The Common Green area also features a beautiful walking path surrounded by lush greenery on both sides.

punggol waterway terraces playground

Which then leads you to the playground.

Now I’m not sure about you, but this certainly does not look much like a playground to me. Instead, it really looks like something out of a cross-fit gym.

punggol waterway playground

Unsure of what this was, I looked around for some guidance and can confirm that this is indeed for 6-12 year olds.

punggol waterway terrace

This is some pretty extreme monkey bars I must say.

punggol waterway terraces playground

If you must know, the manufacturer of this playground is called Kompan.

It turns out that this playground is part of a series called “Galaxy’ which is built to accommodate the play needs across a diverse range of ages which explains why it doesn’t look so kiddish.

Indeed, a playground that’s out of this world (get it?).

punggol waterway terraces common green

Moving on, there’s the usual outdoor fitness area. The ones below do not look too impressive in terms of variation, but there are more machines on the other side of the Common Green too. It’s a good thing that there are also more on the roof terraces, which I suppose are more private given this one is located right next to the Park Connector.

waterway terraces outdoor fitness area

A playground for toddlers can also be found here.

What’s also great about the Common Green is its seamless connection to the Park Connector – a deliberate design meant to integrate nature with living. When I was here, it was common to see residents entering and exiting the development via this pathway.

punggol waterway terraces park connector

Waterway Terraces I Location Review

One of Waterway Terraces’ main advantage compared to other HDBs in Punggol is its location and it’s probably the most common reason why anyone would buy a unit here.

First of all, it has the advantage of having a seamless connection to the Park Connector Network – a huge plus in my books.

waterway terraces park connector

Considering that HDBs lack a diverse range of facilities unlike condos, having the network at your doorstep opens up the possibility of not just activities along the connector, but added convenience when it comes to reaching certain hotspots such as the SAFRA Punggol.

punggol waterway river

Regardless of the time, residents are able to enjoy a scenic and tranquil walk along the park connector. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the walkways provided in Waterway Terraces are no longer relevant given how easy it is to reach the Park Connector!

punggol waterway river

The Park Connector here also quickly connects residents to the “North-Eastern Riverine Loop”, a 16km network around the scenic Punggol and Serangoon rivers.

punggol park connector north eastern riverine loop

Along the way, there’re many detours one can take like heading to Punggol Waterway Park or Coney Island.

Having cycled along this loop myself, I can happily say that it’s really one of the best cycling routes you can take in Singapore given the smooth and wide riding paths, the scenic views and the accessibility of the place.

In fact, when friends or family drop by Singapore and ask what I’d recommend as an off-beat thing to do, I always mention the cycling network around here.

The little detour to Coney Island also offers an off-road type of experience!

Now, right in front of Waterway Terraces is the main Punggol shopping centre: Waterway Point.

punggol waterway point

The 4-storey shopping centre is located right beside Punggol MRT and boasts over 200 shops, including a cinema that houses an IMAX facility.

punggol waterway point

If the food court below Waterway Terraces isn’t enough, there’re also plenty of eateries here!

punggol waterway point

Residents can also enjoy the view of the river. It’s from here that I can really see how Waterway Terraces truly provides the riverfront living lifestyle.

punggol waterway

Across the bridge is Waterway Terraces II, which is very similar to Waterway Terraces I. For residents living there, it would be slightly more inconvenient in reaching both the MRT and Waterway Point.

my waterway @ punggol

Overall, I would say that the location is probably Waterway Terraces’ strongest point – both due to the seamless Park Connector access, as well as its proximity to Waterway Point and Punggol MRT.

Public Transport

Bus stationBuses ServicedDistance From HDB (& Est. Walking Time)
‘Opp Blk 264a’43, 43M, 43e, 117, 118, 381350m (4 min walk)
‘Bef Blk 264’43, 43M, 43e, 117, 118, 381400m (5 min walk)

Closest MRT: Punggol MRT station; 5-min walk. The walk along Punggol Central is unsheltered and leads straight to the MRT.

By train, the journey to Orchard MRT takes around 40 – 45 minutes and requires a transfer at Dhoby Ghaut interchange onto the North-South Line.

Those working in the CBD would take around 40 – 45 minutes by train as well to reach Raffles Place MRT.

While Punggol is a dense neighbourhood, it’s actually a better neighbourhood to live in if you’re looking to take a seat for your MRT ride to the CBD given that Punggol is the first stop.

In fact, some residents at Sengkang even take the train up to Punggol just to have a chance of getting a seat on the train.

Still, there’s no denying the wait for the trains during peak hour and it should be something you experience before deciding on the neighbourhood.

Private Transport

Key DestinationsDistance From HDB (& Est. Peak Hour Drive Time)
Raffles Place21 km (26 min drive)
Orchard Road19.1 km (24 mins drive)
Suntec City17.5 km (20 mins drive)
Changi Airport13.2 km (14 mins drive)
Tuas Port50.7 km (45 mins drive)
Paya Lebar Quarters13.2 km (20 mins drive)
Mediapolis26.9 km (30 mins)
Mapletree Business City28.2 km (30 mins)
Tuas Checkpoint40.5 km (45 mins)
Woodlands Checkpoint20.5 km (20 mins)
Harbourfront Cluster25.7 km (28 mins)
Punggol Cluster0.45 km (3 mins)

Immediate road exit:
From Punggol Central, Punggol Walk and Punggol Way.


Summary:
Given its North-East location, Waterway Terraces is quite a distance from the central area (at least a 20 minutes drive under good conditions) and the south. For those who want quick access to the CBD, you might be better off looking at other HDB estates like Queenstown or Bukit Merah, though it does come at a price.

Groceries

Name of Grocery ShopDistance from HDB (& Est Time)
MinimartWithin the development
24-Hour NTUC FairPrice Finest450m, 7-min walk
Sheng Shiong700m, 8-min walk


Schools

Educational TierNumber of Institutes
Preschool5
Primary School (within 1km)4
Secondary School5
Junior College1
Polytechnics0

Preschool

PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Punggol West Blk 308B (DS) – Within the development

Greenland Childcare @ Punggol – Within the development

MOE Kindergarten @ Valour – 270m (3 min walk)

School4kidz Centre – 450m (6 min walk)

My First Skool – 550m (7 min walk)

Primary School

Valour Primary School – 260m (3 min walk)

Punggol Cove Primary School – 750m (9 min walk)

Punggol View Primary School – 800m (10 min walk)

Punggol Green Primary School – 800m (10 min walk)

Secondary School

CHIJ St. Joseph’s Convent – 2.5 km (32 min walk) or 3.0 km (7 min drive) or 31 min by MRT.

Edgefield Secondary School – 1.1 km (14 min walk) or 1.1 km (4 min drive) or 15 min by bus.

Compassvale Secondary School – 2.3 km (30 min walk) or 2.4 km (7 min drive) or 31 min by MRT.

Greendale Secondary School – 2 km (24 min walk) or 2.4 km (6 min drive) or 24 min by LRT.

Punggol Secondary School – 1.6 km (20 min walk) or 1.5 km (5 min drive) or 23 min by LRT.

Junior College

Tampines Meridian Junior College – 32 min by bus (requires 1 transfer)

Additional Pointers

Punggol Digital District (PDD)

This is without doubt the most exciting transformation to look forward to in Punggol.

Punggol Digital District Changes
Master Plan changes from 2008 – 2019

Over the past 12 years, you can see a lot of exciting changes happening to the Punggol area, so it’s very safe to say that this district has a lot more potential going forward – namely the Punggol Digital District.

punggol digital district illustration
Artist impression of the PDD

The Punggol Digital District will provide major support for Singapore’s drive towards being a “Smart Nation”. The district is set to bring about over 28,000 jobs in the area via the integration of Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) and JTC’s Business Park, serving mainly the Cybersecurity and digital technology industry.

Punggol Digital District

But it’s not just jobs and an increase in rental demand that residents can look forward to. More retail and dining amenities can also be expected, especially along the eastern end of the “Campus Boulevard” which overlooks the waterfront.

punggol digital district connectivity

The largely undeveloped space would seamlessly integrate with the existing Park Connector Network that is also PMD-friendly. A new MRT station (Punggol Coast MRT U/C 2024) would also be opened there.

Still faces teething issues

For many years, residents at Punggol have been complaining of having to wait up to an hour to access the expressways (namely the KPE and the TPE). The situation was so bad that the LTA even brought forward the extension of Punggol Central Road by almost 1 year.

LTA graphic punggol central link

In fact, just 2 months ago as of this writing, the final links of the interchange between both expressways were completed.

As the estate continues to grow in size (it has an estimated 187,800 residents as of September 2019, I would think that Punggol still has some way to go in terms of improvement in connectivity and amenities, which brings me to my next point.

More amenities & connectivity coming up

punggol town hub

Punggol will soon see some exciting new amenities including the Punggol Town Hub and the Regional Sports Centre.

The town hub will feature a public library as well as a hawker centre and a childcare centre. It will also offer large viewing decks for visitors to admire the surrounding areas.

Yes, this is the feature that got many residents here to say “finally, we have a hawker centre!”.

The Regional Sports Centre will boast 5 pools and an over 5,000-seater football stadium.

cross island line punggol extension

In addition, the upcoming Cross Island Line will connect with Punggol MRT, making it an interchange on its own. This will give even greater access to residents here who want to visit the east as it reduces the existing travel time from 40-45 minutes down to just 15-20, and it will be ready by 2031.

Waterway Terraces I Development Site Review

punggol waterway terraces site plan
Site plan taken from the BTO Brochure (2010)

In 2016, Waterway Terraces I won the HDB Design Award (it’s not the only recipient in that year though!).

hdb punggol waterway teraces hdb design award

To be frank, Waterway Terraces’s design may be new/novel, but it’s not something that inspires me personally. If it’s any inspiration, I would say it looks like a well-designed industrial building by JTC.

JTC Metals Machinery Timber Hub

The development houses 1,072 units with a mixture of 3-, 4- & 5-room flats spread across 3 interlinked blocks with up to 82 units per floor.

The biggest attraction to Waterway Terraces I for me would be the seamless access to the Park Connector.

While the roof terraces are a lot more private, the Park Connector offers river views, a long network to stroll/run/cycle, as well as exercise machines and other amenities along the path.

When I was there, the central green areas with the interlinking bridges were not utilised much, and I do believe that the Park Connector Network which is just next to the development offers way more than the common spaces here.

Unit Mix

Block NumberNo. of Storeys3-Room4-Room5-RoomTotal
308A1868248140456
308B183416682282
308C187617484334
Total1785883061072

Stack Analysis

punggol waterway terraces best stacks

I think it goes without saying that the river-facing view carries the premium here.

For those looking to get the 3-room flat, do take note that only stacks 310, 400 and 402 offer this. However, only stack 310 offers this view from the living room balcony. 400 and 402 only offer this via the window near the main entrance.

Stacks closest to the Park Connector get to enjoy the river view from all the living spaces.

punggol waterway terraces block

Some inner stacks, namely stacks 330, 332, 334, 386, 424 and 426 also offer a view of the river, but are partially blocked by neighbouring units. These also have a much further setback from the river.

Given the structure of the development, most inner blocks actually face the HDB units across. However, it is a respectable distance of around 72m.

Waterway Terraces I Price Review

Punggol waterway terraces blocks
ProjectLease Start Date3-Room4-Room5-Room
Waterway Terraces I2016$398,888
($553 psf)
$530,000
($535 psf)
$688,000
($571 psf)
Waterway Terraces II2016$387,500
($537 psf)
$528,000
($533 psf)
$670,000
($556 psf)
Punggol Arcadia2013$360,000
($478 psf)
$538,000
($511 psf)
$650,000
($525 psf)
Punggol Crest2014$357,500
($496 psf)
$435,000
($439 psf)
Punggol Emerald2015$365,000
($506 psf)
$480,000
($485 psf)
$630,000
($524 psf)
Punggol Opal2016$360,000
($492 psf)
$485,000
($484 psf)
Punggol Parcvista2015$367,000
($501 psf)
$478,000
($483 psf)
$650,000
($539 psf)
Punggol Regalia2013$522,500
($514 psf)
$690,000
($565 psf)
Punggol Residences2014$533,500
($532 psf)
$660,000
($529 psf)
Punggol Ripples2014$350,000
($485 psf)
$450,000
($454 psf)
Punggol Sails2014$350,000
($485 psf)
$460,000
($465 psf)
$542,888
($450 psf)
Punggol Sapphire2013$520,000
($503 psf)
$643,000
($524 psf)
Punggol Topaz2016$360,000
($492 psf)
$476,000
($476 psf)
$604,000
($497 psf)
Punggol Waves2015$355,000
($492 psf)
$433,500
($433 psf)
$548,888
($451 psf)
Treelodge @ Punggol2012$510,000
($504 psf)
$865,500
($547 psf)
Median resale flat prices & $psf from Dec 2019 – Nov 2020

Given the number of developments in the vicinity with the relatively same age, buyers looking to stay in Punggol would be spoilt for choice.

Naturally, being the closest development to Waterway Point, having seamless access to the Park Connector and of course being one of the newest developments, Waterway Terraces I & II command the highest $PSF in the area.

As Waterway I is closer to both the MRT and Waterway Point, it’s also slightly more expensive than its lookalike peer – Waterway Terraces II.

Of interest are the significantly cheaper Punggol Waves and Punggol Crest. Their 4-room flats are about 20% cheaper and this is mainly due to their further distance from Punggol MRT (about a 10-11 minute walk) as well as their proximity to the TPE.

high supply punggol flats
Many blocks to choose from

Still, if one is on a budget, there are plenty of options to choose from such as the aforementioned developments – but it’s clear that buyers are willing to pay a premium to stay in the better located Waterway Terraces I & II.

Punggol Residences rivals Waterway Terraces in terms of $PSF for its 4-room flat despite being 2 years older, but the former has the advantage of being literally right next to the MRT.

So based on the prices, is Waterway Terraces worth the premium?

I would argue that if you truly value being right next to the Park Connector, as well as the convenience of Waterway Point at your doorstep, then yes – especially if you can get a unit with a river-facing view.

Read this next Punggol HDB

Our Take

waterway terraces punggol block

Overall, Waterway Terraces left much to be desired for several reasons.

While the original intention of designing a project with a modern take on the old public housing was a great idea, I felt that it was not appropriate in today’s context.

The long corridors that connected all the blocks with its carefully calibrated angles and no dead-ends did a good job in providing ventilation, but this also exaggerated one of the least favourite attributes of public housing: the lack of privacy – something that buyers today value.

The artist illustrations and initial building shots also looked amazing when it was new, but in just a short span of 5 years, the building already looks like it’s in need of much maintenance – I shudder to think what it would be like another 5 years from now.

Moreover, residents here are pushed to hang their clothing along the long corridor, along the Juliet Balcony (and in some cases, on the roof terrace) given the lack of sunlight coming into the service yard, which makes it a very unsightly development to live in.

Of course, the eco-friendliness of the development is amazing – and HDB did a fantastic job at that.

But the reality is that these are not the primary considerations of most home buyers – especially given the diverse range of flats potential buyers here can choose from.

That being said, if you really value being right next to the Park Connector and Waterway Point, then I would give this some consideration.

But personally for me, the shortcomings are just too apparent to compromise on.

What this means for you

You might like Waterway Terraces if you:

  • • Want a waterfront living lifestyle:With the Park Connector and My Waterway @ Punggol river just next to it, residents looking for an affordable way to experience waterfront living in Singapore should give Waterway Terraces some consideration.
  • • Are looking for convenience:Being just a 5-minute walk to Waterway Point and Punggol MRT makes this one of the most convenient developments to live in in this estate.

You may not like Waterway Terraces if you:

  • • Want privacy:The long corridor linking all 3 blocks results in more people walking by your home – whether or not they live there.
  • • Are particular on building aesthetics:While design is subjective, the lack of maintenance has resulted in a deteriorated look of the development. The lack of sunlight coming into the service yard also exacerbates the aesthetics as many residents hang their clothes on the balcony.
End of Review
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Reuben

Reuben is a digital nomad gone rogue. An avid traveler, photographer and public speaker, he now resides just outside of Singapore where he has since found a new passion in generating creative and enriching content for Stacked Homes. Outside of work, you’ll find him meowing along with his kittens (much to the annoyance of his poor wife) and sipping greedily on Teh Peng.

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Zee
Zee

The leaf protrusions on the benches are what is known as hostile architecture. It’s meant to prevent people from sleeping on them.

Stacked Homes
Stacked Homes

Hey! Thanks for sharing that! Seems that it is deliberate on some estates, and not others. We did not see those in the outdoor auditorium at SkyTerrace@Dawson, and there were many benches there. The leaf protrusion designs are quite well designed to look like just decoration as opposed to those bars that are obviously prevent one from lying down on it.

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