HDB Reviews Waterway Woodcress Review: Affordable Waterfront Living With Inconvenient Commutes
- March 21, 2021
- 43 min read
What we like
- Affordable waterfront living
- Unique greenery vibe
- Right next to Oasis Terraces
What we don't like
- —Lack of diverse bus network
- —Far from the main Punggol MRT
|Address:||665A-C, 666A-C, 667A-C Punggol Drive|
|Lease Start Date:||February 2016|
|No. of Units:||694|
Affordable waterfront living.
Some may say that is a bit of an oxymoron.
Perhaps so, when it comes to private developments – but there are actually a number of HDB’s that can offer such a luxury.
Today’s review at Waterway Woodcress is one of them.
Launched in September 2011, Waterway Woodcress recently obtained its 1st MOP (lease start date in 2016) and was the first HDB housing developments fronting Punggol Waterway to be completed.
Its name “Woodcress” is inspired from the aquatic plant “Watercress” that signifies the water, along with the plants around (Wood). Combined, you get Woodcress – a name that rings true to both its locale and offering.
The development is probably the most picturesque one along the Waterfront too. Which isn’t surprising given that a private Architect was engaged to design the project – ADDP.
Even the then Minister For National Development Khaw Boon Wan said (according to an article by TODAY) that HDB designs are kept “porous”.
“In that way, we keep the community a lot more inclusive, so rich and poor all live next to one another,” citing Waterway Woodcress as an example.
So is Waterway Woodcress really as good as it’s hyped up to be?
Let’s find out in our usual HDB tour!
Waterway Woodcress Development Tour
Let’s start just outside the main entrance of Waterway Woodcress along Punggol Drive.
Residents living here would be using this entrance in most cases given both the location of the TPE exit as well as the LRT station.
The entrance is sufficiently simple, with one lane each way.
Turning in, you’ll spot the project name with that bright blue in a stark contrast to the browns that you’ll see in the background. . I do think that placing the name of the development right at the entrance would be much more helpful to drivers coming in from the main road – but this is not such a big deal in this day and age with Google Maps.
From here, you can already come to appreciate the unique facade of this development with the greenery and trees blending in with the design of the blocks behind.
Just behind that is the drop off point. It’s sufficiently sheltered here, and the sheltered walkways go right into the development so those who are dropped off via taxi wouldn’t have to worry about the wet weather (or the heat, for that matter).
The same cannot be said for those taking the MRT though, as there is a small unsheltered portion between the development and Oasis Terrace next door.
The drop off point can comfortably fit two cars side by side, so drivers waiting for late residents wouldn’t be obstructing much traffic behind.
You’ll also notice the great attention to detail here – the underside of the shelter has the same woody tones that is congruent with the entire development (which you’ll see later).
I’m happy to report that seats are available here too – and a rather lengthy one at that! Again, the use of wood textures are used unlike the usual concrete or metal seats that other HDBs have.
Also, from my reviews of HDBs in Singapore so far, it’s quite evident that seating areas at drop off points is not a given – so this is a definite plus point for me.
Continuing on is the gantry point of the carpark.
Hourly parking rates here are $0.60 per half hour as per the usual Outside Central Area cost, and free on Sundays/public holidays under the Free Parking Scheme between 7AM to 1030PM.
Yes, this also means that if you’re just visiting Oasis Terraces on a Sunday (mall next door) for fun, you can park here for free. On my visit (a Sunday), there were many lots available.
At this juncture, you wouldn’t think much of this development. After all, this looks like a standard carpark entrance, right?
But as you continue on, you’ll start to get a glimpse of the gorgeous greenery in the area from the 1st level carpark.
Driving in from this viewpoint would already give you a sense of what’s to come in this development.
Now I’m no tree expert, but the planted trees here don’t look like the type you would commonly find in Singapore. Coupled with the wood-colour backdrop of the blocks, it gave me a sort of urban Canadian city vibe, with only the weather reminding me of where I really am.
Now let’s look at the carpark in detail.
Waterway Woodcress has 2 levels of parking. The 1st level is reserved for residents only, while the basement level has visitor lots.
And while it is considered “underground parking”, both levels certainly feels very open and bright. In fact, there are plenty of open spaces in the carpark that allow you to catch a glimpse of the tower blocks above.
One really neat thing about the carpark is that there is a lot of natural light coming in. These are in areas where there’s no real need for shelter such as the car driveways and the perimeter of the development.
But even within the development itself, there are many pockets of light coming through.
You’ll also notice that these “airwells” of sorts have plants lined along it which gives helps break the urban feel of the development as well as reduce heat absorption by the concrete.
You wouldn’t believe it if I told you this was shot from a carpark of an HDB, but it really is.
I did not have to hunt for such a picturesque shot – there are several around the carpark which goes a long way to brightening up the space.
One negative aspect I could see here is the need for more maintenance. The surrounding landscaping that runs parallel to the cement structures results in these unsightly dried-up dirty walls which gives it a very run-down look.
The basement level also features an open area of flora, much like the one at Waterway Terraces I.
In terms of driving, the carpark here is quite spacious and well-lit. Lots are also average in size so there’s nothing to complain about at all.
Like many of the new HDBs in Singapore, the lights here are controlled by motion sensor, so they’re really only turned on when you need it – a very good initiative!
Visitors looking for a particular block should not find it difficult to do so given the brightly-lit signs around.
What’s great here is that even the signature brown and white colour scheme of Waterway Woodcress is painted along the blocks here, with great attention to detail – first as the electrical outlet is painted over to blend in, and second is the vertical nature of the paint given it’s a simulation of trees.
The basement carpark area also houses the bicycle parking lots. It’s nice to see that the area is under surveillance to reduce theft.
The carpark connects directly to your block which is pretty standard for new HDBs. It is very convenient since residents would never have to traverse across the development to get somewhere, unlike in Trivelis.
There’s also a strong use of white light here, which gives a more clinical vibe than a homely one. That said, I can understand why as this area doesn’t have natural light, so being bright is a priority.
You’ll also immediately notice another feature that differentiates Waterway Woodcress – the patterns on the lift doors.
I have not seen such a feature in the other HDBs I have reviewed, so this is really a welcomed sight!
The design also continues inside the lift on all 3 sides – so the whole wood feel is quite consistent from the moment you enter the carpark up to entering the lift.
The 1st level of the development is really still the carpark with some walkways around.
Like what you have in Waterway Terraces, the flora around are actually Bioretension swales which goes a long way in not just beautifying the surrounding landscape, but helps filter rainwater run-offs naturally.
There is also a sheltered area here called the “Precinct Pavilion” which is really the “void deck” of this HDB.
There’s nothing really to say about this part, except that it’s probably the least spectacular thing about this development.
Heading out leads you to the junction between Punggol Drive and Edgedale Plain.
It’s from here that you’re greeted by a huge development site map.
For those of you looking at this sitemap and wondering what’s going on, I wouldn’t really blame you – it isn’t the most organised. First impressions are that this looks like a contour map with the way the lines are – and it goes to show the deliberateness in making it look more organic.
Notice the “X” areas? These are the air-wells that you saw earlier in the carpark – and there’re quite a few of them!
Taking the stairs up from here would lead you to the 2nd storey. It’s from here that you can see some of the maintenance issues highlighted earlier spilling over into the walkways.
I’m not exactly sure why the ageing effects here are seen so quickly despite being just 5 years old, but it seems to afflict Punggol developments more than others. This was also seen in Waterway Terraces, but HDBs like Pinnacle@Duxton and SkyTerrace seemed fine.
If it isn’t obvious by now, you should know that Waterway Woodcress’s main development site is actually elevated above the road level.
Much like Trivelis, this does give the development a slightly more exclusive feel and makes the general area inside a lot quieter.
There are also open spaces to walk along and it is really an extension of what’s within the development.
Multiple seating areas are available here, with lush greenery all around. You can see the way the structure curves around here which very much gives that “contour” shape in the sitemap.
Before heading in, I’d like to highlight this shelter that spans across some blocks in the development.
Dubbed the “Trellis”, this shelter here not just provides shade from both the rain and sun for pedestrians below, but it also helps prevent killer litter.
What’s impressive is the design (which is probably why it even appears on the sitemap with its own legend “Trellis”).
While HDB could have easily made it into a plain shelter which would have been acceptable, they went beyond to create a modern feel to it with the sleek grey and brown colour scheme. It’s not something that many would notice, but adds greatly to the overall feel here.
The Trellis also allows more sunlight to the lower levels of the development, which is great in making the space feel less dingy.
Heading into the development is where all of this “nature” really comes together.
It’s hard to express it in photos, but imagine walking home from the usual urban-looking LRT station and stepping into this gorgeous, park-like development with birds chirping and the gentle leaves swaying from the breeze.
That was exactly my experience here, and it’s really mind-blowing that this is an HDB.
Even the choice of trees here are impressive – I’m not a plant specialist, but I can say this is not a common sight in any other developments I’ve seen.
The trees have matured quite nicely here, and everywhere you look up, the sparseness of its leaves creates a nice effect with the blocks just behind.
Here’s a closer look of the exterior facade. 5 years since its TOP, the development is still holding up pretty well.
Like some of the other new HDBs, you’ll be pleased to see that Waterway Woodcress features three-quarter windows and full floor-to-ceiling window, allowing residents to truly enjoy the nature in the development as well as having more natural light in.
And it’s not just the living room, but every other room too!
You can see that each room receives the full width as well, unlike in SkyTerrace@Dawson where certain rooms have a limited length. This is a huge plus in my books – not many HDBs can brag full length windows on both ends.
If you look closely, you’ll also notice that several units have balconies at either the living/dining area or the master bedroom.
Now let’s check out the fitness area.
This is the adult fitness area located on the Edgedale Plains side (closer to block 667B).
It’s quite a spacious one at that, and comes with a good variety of equipment. Now if you look carefully at the brown parts, you’ll notice that these are designed to look like tree rings – pretty nifty!
There’s also a one-of-a-kind structure here that I suppose is quite intriguing.
It’s a semi-sheltered (protects from the sun, but not the rain) resting area for those who are tired from their workout and want to take a breather.
The stairs up do make you feel as if you are walking up a treehouse – which is rather unique.
But the final destination doesn’t quite match up to the journey, as there really isn’t anything much to see from here besides looking into other people’s homes and watching people exercise below – so it does leave me scratching my head on this one.
Those buying units on the 3rd storey nearby such a structure should take note that there’s just less privacy as a result of this. It’s probably the reason why many of the lower floor units have their curtains closed despite the nice sunshine.
I suppose the view from here does let you appreciate the trees around. Children would probably love running up and down the stairs to come up here too.
From here, you’ll also see some smaller blocks that’s only 8 storeys high (6 stories with units in them).
I do quite like to see the variety in tower height within the development as it does add some charm to the overall space since it’s less uniform.
Notice the slant structure on the roof? This is present in all the blocks here. While it looks unique, this is really a modern and woody rendition of the old slanted HDB roofs you could find in places like Potong Pasir (as shown below).
Now let’s explore the central part of the development where most of the flora is.
You’ll notice that pathways connecting blocks here are sheltered, this one is between 665C and 667B, so traversing between blocks here wouldn’t be a problem during a rainy day.
The central part of the development offers residents ample space to walk around, and it’s particularly nice in the morning and evening when the full effects of the sun isn’t present.
Speaking of the sun, I’d like to highlight another positive aspect of this development.
If you look around here, you’ll notice that many of the service yards receive ample amount of sunlight.
This is precisely what service yards should be like in my opinion – getting the full effect of the sun.
It makes drying clothes naturally a lot better as it prevents your clothes from having that damp smell, and it’s a lot kinder on fabrics compared to relying on a dryer – not to mention, more eco-friendly too!
This really contrasts what you see in Waterway Terraces where the service yards faces the inside, forcing many to use the long corridor and the balcony to dry their clothes which is extremely unsightly.
It’s also at this point that you’ll find more seating areas and walkways around. I do like the choice of floor tiles too – very congruent with the overall “woody” theme of the development.
Again, the curved nature of the seating areas here really helps break the rigidness of the housing structures around.
There is a good amount of distance between blocks here too, so it creates a very open feel to it. I do also like that there are trees planted along the seating area to provide some shade. Note that the blocks shown across are from Waterway View, not Waterway Woodcress despite its similar look.
From here, there is a path that leads you to the edge of the development where you can view the Park Connector Network along the man-made river across.
You’ll also find the wheelchair friendly access point here that leads you straight to Punggol Waterway – though I’d have to say that this is really some distance to travel from the looks of it.
You’ll also notice just how well manicured the landscaping is. The pathway here really makes one feel that this is more of a park than a housing development.
Even the way it’s trimmed feels deliberate here. HDB could have easily just made this a patch of grass and no one would’ve said a thing, but the biodiversity here is commendable.
The addition of different shrubbery here adds to the variety of plants and creates such a vibrant and green feel to the place.
Again at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I would say that the choice of trees here are spectacular. It really doesn’t give a tropical vibe (not that the tropical vibe is a bad thing, just that it’s a really refreshing take).
The colour and texture of the sign boards around the area that shows you which block you’re at is also in line with the design of the entire place – plus the sloping top, again, it’s great attention to detail.
You’ll also find a board that showcases the intricate thought put into designing the space here, along with its green initiatives.
One point to note under the Green Strategy you see on the board that I’d like to point out is the dual refuse chute – one for normal garbage, and the other for recyclables.
This is a new and very welcomed initiative by HDB that I hope to see more of!
At this stage, you can start to see how the numerous blocks around the area can be quite confusing – I’m sure many delivery riders would be able to resonate with this.
So it’s really a welcoming sight to see these signs littered around which is really useful to visitors!
On the west side of the development, you’ll find the childcare center.
If this looks familiar, that’s because it’s really the same company that runs the childcare center at Trivelis.
And right opposite that is the playground.
It’s certainly strategically placed here for obvious reasons. This playground here is a little bit different from the usual tall structures that you see. I would say that it looks more like a fitness area for children.
There are, however, slides that leads down to another playground section.
If anything, the playground here is a little bit underwhelming. To date, I am still not sure how HDB decides whether to make a playground a spectacular one or not, but it certainly varies a lot between different developments.
Parents can also rejoice in having a semi-sheltered area to watch over their children.
Nearby, there’s also the same viewing deck structure that I showed you earlier at the adult fitness area.
This one offers a peek of the greenery along Waterway Punggol.
Now let’s head up to check out what the common corridors look like.
Now this block that I am at is Block 665C. The block here is connected to stacks 536 – 542 via a long corridor.
As you can see, 6 out of 8 units here in a way are “corner units”, but not all corners are equal.
The first set of corner units are closest to the lifts – stacks 524 and 526. The amount of space afforded to put things is honestly quite limiting given the access points on the left and right of the unit that should not be obstructed.
Given how close the stack on the right is to the opening, the front porch may get a little wet during a heavy downpour.
It’s the same story for the next 2 corner units in this block.
These ones are slightly further away and faces the long corridor. This one does have slightly more space compared to the 1st two corner units.
So during heavy rain, I wouldn’t expect the front porch to be wet given the setback from the railing.
Along the way to the other side is the long corridor you see here.
There are 2 units to my left which isn’t captured here. There’s no doubt that these units would be getting a lot more foot traffic from the residents living on the end with 4 units.
The 4 corner units here are, in my opinion, the least well-off.
Firstly it’s because there are 4 units sharing this one space – that much is obvious.
Next, while I’m all for the kampong spirit, I would prefer if my main door does not face the opposite neighbour. These stacks are the only ones in this block that do so.
Finally it’s also the furthest away from the lifts, meaning that residents have a longer walk across the block to leave and return home.
I know it’s strange that I wouldn’t mind an extra minute of walking to an MRT along the Park Connector, but there’s something about already being within your block and still having to walk a little bit more that somehow irks me – but that’s just my personal take.
From along the long corridor, you can already get a glimpse of the Punggol Waterway and the views around – so I can imagine units on the higher floors here having pretty spectacular views, especially those just beside the river.
Now not all blocks here are the same. Over in the next block at 665B, you’ll find that there’re only 4 units per block here – without the long corridor.
Given only 4 units share this block, you can immediately get a sense of greater exclusivity here.
This is evident by how much more space the units here have at their porch.
There is even enough space to put a bicycle of two, so long as your neighbour is fine with it, unlike at the block I saw earlier.
From here, you can get a pretty good view of the Waterway Woodcress development.
Another thing to note is the use of solar panels on the rooftop – always a welcomed green initiative!
Finally, let’s head back down to check out the closest shops available to residents here.
Located on the 1st storey right next to the drop off point are 3 shops: a minimart, dental clinic, a medical clinic and a tuition center.
The minimart here is Fortune Supermarket. On the outside, it offers a very wide array of refrigerated drinks – perfect for a quick drink after exercising along the Park Connector Network.
Inside, you’ll also find shelves of foodstuffs along with some household items like cleaning solutions.
This is definitely unlike what the Hao Mart at Waterway Terraces offers, which is more or less a real supermarket given it has frozen/refrigerated meats as well as a whole section of fruits and vegetables.
Next to it is a tuition center which focuses on the primary and secondary school syllabus.
Finally, there is a dental and medical clinic just beside. While it is very convenient to have one just at your doorstep, residents would be glad to know that Oasis Terraces next door houses a polyclinic.
The final part of the tour doesn’t really feature something within the project, but this pretty nifty amenity called the Camello
This is a robot that delivers groceries and parcels, and it’s connected to a Mobile App which was just launched recently to selected blocks in Punggol (of which Waterway Woodcress is included!).
Residents who buy groceries from NTUC FairPrice can leave their goods with the concierge which would be delivered by this robot. On the delivery date, residents would be notified and can collect them from the robot in the void deck. I can’t speak of its real life usage as of now, but it certainly sounds useful for the older generation!
Waterway Woodcress Location Review
Waterway Woodcress is located at the junction of Punggol Drive and Edgedale Plains.
The path outside is a bicycle-friendly pathway that’s sufficiently wide, making it very easy for cyclists to travel within the Punggol estate, but note that it’s not actually part of the Park Connector network.
This is really one of the benefits of a new estate – the infrastructure has been set up to allow residents to easily get around the estate without having to go on the roads.
While the greenery here is admirable, it’s still pretty hot to walk along here in the day as the trees have not grown to full maturity yet to provide sufficient shelter.
Moving along this path, you’ll reach Oasis Terraces which is really just next door.
As with all HDBs, the surrounding amenity plays a huge part in the attractiveness of the development – and Oasis Terraces is one big main attraction.
Oasis Terraces was built as a new paradigm for “eat, play and live” in Punggol, and is a one-stop waterfront destination for its shoppers – much like Waterway Point is for Waterway Terraces.
As usual, a safe tenant and restaurant of choice – MacDonalds is located just on the ground level.
There is also a Starbucks here for those looking to pay a premium for their morning Cuppa.
Now from the ground level, it really doesn’t look like much given it’s just a passageway towards the back where the Park Connector is. But you can head into the shopping mall itself where a large variety of shops are available.
And since this is Punggol, a highly-dense HDB estate (lots of young parents), there’s naturally a preschool here.
And of course where there are children and ambitious parents, a music school, because why not?
And just when they’re done learning music and found some spare time, children can fill up on enrichment papers – well catered by this Popular bookstore.
Of course if all of this is not enough, you could always send them for more tuition – another Super Genius outlet caters to this – from primary school up to JC!
There’s also the mandatory NTUC FairPrice here where you can get all of your grocery needs.
Those who find it too troublesome to cook can also get a faster, albeit less healthy option with the fully-airconditioned food court on the 4th storey.
Of course, it’s not just groceries and food court food. Those looking for a quick bite can find a Ya Kun Kaya Toast here.
Need something a little sweeter? There’s even a Baskin Robbins!
If you feel bad from loading up on all those carbs, feel free to pop by the gym any time (get it?).
Last but not least, there’s a Parkway Shenton Medical here that does both general and specialised medical checkups.
And to cap it all off, a polyclinic.
Talk about extreme convenience.
I don’t wish to bore you with a full list of shops here, so you can refer to this directory that showcases the number of offerings here.
On top of all these shops, there’s a well-known community rooftop garden that features some play area for children.
Unfortunately during my visit, it was closed due to COVID-19.
The 5th storey is where you’ll find a viewing gallery where you can admire the view of Waterway Punggol.
If there’s any photo that could summarise why you should live in Punggol, it’s really the photos of Waterway Punggol.
There are very few places in Singapore that can offer such a waterfront living lifestyle that is affordable, and a mall with (almost) everything you need, plus a park connector with nature all around.
Which brings us to the next part of our location tour – and probably the best thing about living in Punggol – the Park Connector and Waterway @ Punggol, a man-made river that stretches 4.2km that links up to the reservoirs at Sungei Punggol and Sungei Serangoon.
Residents with units having this waterfront view have it really good – and I can see why many are willing to pay a premium (read: COV) for such units.
Throughout the day, it’s common to see resident walking their dogs, running or cycling along here. The flora here is also astounding – according to Today, there are 35 species of mangrove trees planted along here – 3 of which are endangered native species. New bird and butterfly species have also been observed here.
The area also offers some seating options to relax and hang out – so it’s not just a place to exercise.
You can even cycle northwards to Serangoon River where you’ll find the entrance to Coney Island.
Here’s a view of Waterway Woodcress from the opposite side of the river.
From this side, you can see the beautiful and green architecture of Oasis Terraces. On first impressions, it doesn’t really look like much given how hollow the building looks from here, but there’s just so much it has to offer.
|Bus station||Buses Serviced||Distance From HDB (& Est. Walking Time)|
|Oasis Stn Exit A||386, 386A, 50||150m (3 min walk)|
Closest LRT: Oasis LRT station; 3-min walk
While the tour of the development so far has been overwhelmingly positive, it’s the getting to and from the development that I have the most issue with.
As someone who uses public transportation a lot, having to take the LRT to reach the MRT has always been a pet peeve of mine.
This is especially true during peak hours when queuing up is more or less a given – both for the LRT and the MRT.
While the journey to the station is short and so is the ride from Oasis to Punggol, it’s really something that not many buyers would be willing to go through on a daily basis.
For those who want to skip the MRT and rely on buses, you’ll find that the bus network in Punggol leaves much to be desired.
The only bus that goes outside of the estate is bus 50 which leads you to the Bishan Interchange.
As such, those looking to take a direct public bus to other parts of Singapore would be disappointed too. You would need to change buses, perhaps more than twice, to get to where you want.
Hence, those looking to call this development their home would need to have to come to terms with this downside.
Perhaps for those who drive, this would not be much of an issue. But if you’re heavily reliant on the train system, then resale flats that’s closer to the main station would not just save you time, but energy too.
|Key Destinations||Distance From HDB (& Est. Peak Hour Drive Time)|
|Raffles Place||19 km (30 mins drive)|
|Orchard Road||19.4 km (25 mins drive)|
|Suntec City||16.1 km (20 mins drive)|
|Changi Airport||11.9 km (16 mins drive)|
|Tuas Port||49.9 km (55 mins drive)|
|Paya Lebar Quarters||11.7 km (25 mins drive)|
|Mediapolis||25.8 km (32 mins)|
|Mapletree Business City||26.7 km (32 mins)|
|Tuas Checkpoint||45.3 km (48 mins)|
|Woodlands Checkpoint||22.3 km (31 mins)|
|Harbourfront Cluster||24 km (31 mins)|
|Punggol Cluster||0 km (It’s within Punggol)|
Immediate road exit:
Punggol Drive or Edgedale Plains
Those who do not drive would find Waterway Woodcress to be quite inconvenient. Without a diverse bus network and a sole reliance on the LRT to get to the MRT, commute here would be quite troublesome. For those who drive, things do look better – less the slow traffic towards Halus Link and the KPE, if you’re going towards town.
|Name of Grocery Shop||Distance from HDB (& Est Time)|
|Fortune Supermarket||Within the development|
|NTUC FairPrice||Oasis Terraces (3 minute walk)|
|Sheng Shiong Supermarket||660A Edgedale Plains (3 minute walk|
|Preschool – 2|
|Nobleland Arts N Learning Place||Within the development|
|SuperGenius Preschool||150M (3-min walk)|
|Primary School (1KM only) – 7|
|Edgefield Primary||1KM (12-min walk)|
|Greendale Primary||750M (10-min walk)|
|Horizon Primary||450M (5-min walk)|
|Mee Toh School||1.3KM (16-min walk)|
|Oasis Primary||550M (7-min walk)|
|Punggol View Primary||1.4KM (17-min walk)|
|Waterway Primary||650M (8-min walk)|
|Secondary Schools – 3|
|Punggol Secondary||700M (9-min walk)|
|Greendale Secondary||700M (9-min walk)|
|Edgefield Secondary||1.7KM (22-min walk)|
|Junior College – 1|
|Tampines Meridian Junior College||30-min by bus|
Punggol Digital District (PDD)
This is without doubt the most exciting transformation to look forward to in Punggol.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fighter jet noise pollution
About 30 seconds. That’s how long you’ll have to hear a fighter jet passing above you here.
Waterway Woodcress is situated directly below the flight path from the fighter jets coming from Paya Lebar Airbase. If it wasn’t clear enough from our YouTube video, the noise pollution from fighter jets passing by is really loud here.
If you’ve never stayed in Punggol and only did your viewings on a Sunday, then you’d be in for a rude awakening (literally) upon moving in. So be sure to check out the place during weekdays as well to get a real feel of how loud and frequent it can get.
For those raising a young family, this noise pollution would be quite unbearable as it could wake the young one. Moreover, with an increased focus on Working From Home, these plane noises could prove to be quite unbearable.
The good news is that Paya Lebar Airbase is scheduled to move out in the 2030s. From there, the area around would start to see more industrial and commercial development.
Still, this is quite some time away. You would already have achieved MOP well before the moving out date if you purchased today. So if the sound of fighter jets irks you, this may not be the right place to stay for now.
Possible air pollution
Residents staying at Punggol and Sengkang have been complaining of strange and unusual smells in the area that resembles the burning of plastic.
This has been widely attributed, quite possibly, to the Pasir Gudang industrial estate in Johor. The estate is about one-third the size of Singapore.
The complain of strange smells also came about during the unfortunate chemical spill at Pasir Gudang. The government did acknowledge that the smells were likely from Johor – indicating that pollution from here has a good chance of wafting into the estate.
So for those who are extremely sensitive to breathing issues and/or don’t want to take the risk of possible poor air quality on your long-term health, this should be enough to turn you away.
More amenities & connectivity coming up
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.
Waterway Woodcress Development Site Review
In 2015, Waterway Woodcress received the Certificate of Merit – Design.
And rightfully so – it was designed by ADDP architects, the same architects behind developments such as Martin Modern, Seaside Residences and Avenue South Residence which explains why it has a significantly different look compared to other HDBs.
But not only is the design beautiful and appropriate for the area it’s in, it’s also laid out in a way that allows more than half the units here to enjoy the view of the river.
In total, there are 7 blocks here with a maximum of 18 storeys high.
As the carpark is located below the 2nd storey where the main padestrian pathways are, it’s also much safer for residents – especially since there’s a preschool located within the development too!
Overall, I really like the layout of the development. The curved pathways and placement of the blocks create a very organic feel to the place that could possibly make this HDB project unique on its own right.
|Block Number||No. of Storeys||3-Room||4-Room||5-Room||Total|
It’s obvious from here that the best stacks are really those that front the river. These are stacks:
- 596, 598, 572, 574, 564 and 566 for 5-room flats
- 584 and 586 for 4-room flats
- 576 and 578 for 3-room flats
As you can see, those looking for a 4-room and 3-room flat would have a lower chance of getting a direct river-facing unit – so these stacks would command a pretty hefty premium considering how rare it is.
Mind you, there are only 24 4-room flats in this development that have a direct river facing view – making it just 7% of all 4-room flats (total of 350 4-room flats here).
This also means if you are gunning for such a flat here, you’ll need to sit tight and wait for such a unit to appear which can be quite agonising.
We wouldn’t be surprised if you had to come up with a high COV for such a flat too, since the seller would probably receive lots of interest which would drive the price up.
Those looking for a 3-room flat would also face the same issue – you’re faced with either the junction-facing unit, the inside-facing unit (with about 23m distance to the opposite block) or the river-facing unit.
The choice is clear – and so is the price gap.
While the development was built such that more than half of the units here should get some river views, the question is really just how good these river views are.
Co-incidentally, these are also the stacks that would not receive afternoon sun as they face north or north-east.
Many of the stacks closer to the south side and facing inwards would receive only pocket views of the river – though the silver lining here is that these stacks would also receive the greenery view from the center of the development.
However, it is worth noting the higher floor units in stacks 540, 542, 524, 526, 544 and 546 (given these face the lower-rise block 667B) – so views of the river are also good here.
At first glance, it would appear that stacks 512, 514, 500 and 502 should get some good views of the river too. But next to it is Oasis Terraces, so these stacks would be blocked by the shopping mall. Those looking to get these stacks should aim for the higher floors.
The worst stacks are those facing the LRT tracks – especially those from floors 3 to 5 due to privacy issues.
And in a development where more than 50% of the units have a river view, these units would clearly be the inferior ones and would face immense difficulty commanding any premium of sorts.
Waterway Woodcress Price Review
I think the first question that comes to mind is, what exactly is the premium of having a river-facing view?
Now, HDB data is not as transparent as URA’s data, so we can’t tell which stacks have transacted.
However, given that all the 3-room flats in block 667B faces the river directly, we can use this and compare it with another block where all 3-room flats faces inwards.
Do note that transaction volume is low as well, so this may not be very accurate. Here are the results:
|Date||Flat Type||Storey||Size (SQM)||Facing||Actual Price||Storey-Adjusted|
|2021-01||3-Room||10 to 12||68||Inwards||$395,000||$380,000|
|2021-02||3-Room||13 to 15||68||Inwards||$406,800||$376,800|
|2020-02||3-Room||07 to 09||68||River-Facing||$430,000||NA|
You can immediately see that despite being the same size but being on the higher floor, the inward facing units still transacted well below the river-facing unit.
If we adjust the prices accordingly by storey (assuming each storey jump is worth $5,000), you’ll find that the inward-facing units on floor 8 (just an assumption) is worth around $380,000.
This puts the river-facing view at a premium of $50,000.
Now is $50,000 worth the premium for a river-facing view?
That really depends on how much you value the view, of course. This premium is certainly a lifestyle one – so if you’re the type that likes to sit around the window to read and look out the window once in a while, then yes.
Otherwise, if you’re constantly facing the screen at home, or busy traveling most of the time, then it may not be worth paying for such a view.
Moreover, buying such a unit would be easy if the HDB values the flat at $430,000 – this means you can loan this “premium”.
But given the rarity of such a direct view, it’s likely that buyers would have to cough up cash of $50,000 (assuming a valuation of $380,000) on top of the downpayment made.
It’s more likely that the valuation would not be pegged to the direct river-facing unit. And this would be where most of the difficulty lies, as $50,000 can purchase a whole new renovation package for your resale flat.
If you really think about it though, one of the main attractions of staying in this area and putting up with some travel inconvenience is having this river beside your doorstep, so personally I do think that it is a big deal to have a river-facing view in your unit.
Now how does Waterway Woodcress compare to other developments around?
|Project||Lease Start Date||3-Room||4-Room||5-Room|
|Damai Grove||2012||$348,000 ($475 psf)||$440,000 ($440 psf)|
|Edgedale Green||2007||$426,000 ($439 psf)||$605,000 ($511 psf)|
|Punggol Breeze||2013||$456,000 ($455 psf)||$625,000 ($498 psf)|
|Waterway Brooks||2016||$508,000 ($507 psf)||$655,000 ($539 psf)|
|Waterway Sunbeam||2016||$358,000 ($512 psf)||$460,000 ($475 psf)||$586,500 ($495 psf)|
|Waterway Woodcress||2016||$385,000 ($526 psf)||$505,444 ($505 psf)||$651,000 ($535 psf)|
To compare, we only looked at the other waterfront developments that reached their MOP, plus the ones right opposite which are slightly older and do not have the waterfront-facing units.
The real comparables of Woodcress is Brooks and Sunbeam which is to Woodcress’s west and east side respectively. These were not only built around the same time, but they all front the Waterway river.
Waterway Brooks looks to be more expensive in general, and this is understandable given it is closer to the main Punggol station.
Conversely, Sunbeam is the cheapest as it’s furthest from the Punggol station.
So in the end, prices are pretty clear here. If you want more convenience, look towards Waterway Brooks, but it would come at a greater cost – though not by much.
If you don’t mind living further away, Sunbeam does offer more attractive prices – though I cannot guarantee that these are for mostly inward or river-facing views.
Of course, if you want to go for somewhere cheaper around the area, the older developments like Punggol Breeze and Edgedale Green offers that – while still allowing you to enjoy the waterfront living – just not from your unit.
I think it’s safe to say that Waterway Woodcress has left a great impression on me. From the flora within the development, to the gorgeous waterway right at the doorstep – not to mention the mall just next door! Waterway Woodcress has truly carved out a unique aspect for itself.
Punggol also has some upcoming exciting changes, such as the Punggol Digital District and the Town Hub!
But the pink elephant in the room as with a lot of Punggol developments is this: travel time.
The lack of a strong bus network here and an over-reliance on the LRT infrastructure is quite off-putting for those who need to take the MRT everyday.
Having to take the LRT to the MRT to get somewhere has always been an issue for me when time is of the essence. Not to mention the constant queues you’ll be facing to get on the LRT, and subsequently MRT later on.
So unless you drive, I think that staying in this part of Punggol requires you to be comfortable with the commute here.
In addition, the plane noises won’t be going away any time soon, so this is something you’ll have to consider.
Ultimately, if you drive or take the taxi everywhere you go, Waterway Woodcress will be one for those that enjoy waterfront views. If convenience is still the top priority for you though, it’s best to look elsewhere.
What this means for you
You might like Waterway Woodcress if you:
- • Want an affordable waterfront living lifestyle:With the Park Connector and My Waterway @ Punggol river right opposite, buyers looking for an affordable way to experience waterfront living in Singapore should give Waterway Woodcress some consideration.
- • Love coming home to greenery:Unlike Waterway Terraces I and II, Waterway Woodcress has a lot of well-pruned trees and open spaces within the development which creates a very calming vibe upon coming home. Not to mention its design which is quite pleasant.
You may not like Waterway Woodcress if you:
- • Hate commuting:While commutes are an expected daily routine, Waterway Woodcress is quite far from the main MRT which exacerbates the commuting inconvenience.
- • Are wary of noise pollution:Being directly under a flight path means you’ll be hearing a lot of noise during the day. So if you work from home a lot, this may not be the right place for you.