Advice We Work In The CBD: Would Emerald Garden/UE Square Or Pinnacle @ Duxton Be A Better Choice?
- February 11, 2022
- 12 min read
Hello, Stacked homes,
Thank you for all your great content! I’ve really been enjoying your editorials.
And finally, it is my turn to be hunting for my next nest 🙂
Some of our needs/considerations are:
We want to be close to the CBD (and MRT) since we don’t have a car and don’t need to be near a super school yet.
Our budget is about $2-2.3M, and we don’t really need the facilities of a full-fledged condo. (Not keen on walk-ups because I’m not a climber, especially when travel returns)
I’ve narrowed down my search options to Emerald Gardens, UE Square, and actually am considering Pinnacle @ Duxton too, but open to other suggestions.
The reason why we have Pinnacle in the mix is that it is half the price, and still fits our needs. But given the high prices in the last years, I am worried it’s reached its peak, and buying it soon will only mean that there are capital losses to bear.
Would be great to have your thoughts on those 3 properties, and any others you think might be a good fit.
Thank you for writing to us and thanks for your support. We appreciate it a lot!
Regarding your choice among the three shortlisted development – it’s a tough one as all three have strong plus points as well as downsides, and are very different developments overall.
Two of the developments shortlisted are private developments that are 999-year leasehold (which is practically freehold) while The Pinnacle @ Duxton is an entirely different proposition altogether since it’s public housing. At this point, it’s hard to really recommend one over the other as it’d be ideal to know more about your requirements such as your holding period, your needs from the property – intentions of starting a family, etc.
As such, since we can’t exactly compare thoroughly, we’d list down some thoughts on each property shortlisted so far!
Emerald Garden is a very interesting choice and one that can be considered to be quite under the radar. While its location is no doubt very central, and one that many people have probably come across if you frequent the Club Street area to eat, not many people realise that there is actually a condo development behind those front doors. Get beyond the entrance, and it’s almost like a whole new world – plus the fact that it is a 999-year leasehold development located in District 1 makes it all the more appealing.
With a total of 265 units, it is located in close proximity to the Telok Ayer DTL line and the upcoming TEL Maxwell station, so it offers great convenience to amenities in the Maxwell/Chinatown areas. As it is located on a small plot area with 265 units, it does lack facilities in our opinion. The facilities may seem dated and the pool is on the smaller side for development with over 200+ units. While we understand that that’s not a high priority on your list, that does remain a downside when it’s time to exit.
Currently, the average price stands at $2,0xx psf, which is on the higher side as compared to the 99 years leasehold counterparts (e.g One Shenton, The Clift) which are newer developments.
Do also take note that there aren’t many schools located within a 1 km range from Emerald Garden. Hence future buyers especially family profiles may look at other resale options if proximity to schools is one of their main criteria. That being said, the single primary school within 1 KM is Cantonment Primary School.
- 999-year leasehold development, value retention.
- Proximity to CBD and amenities
- Walking distance to a few MRT stations, Maxwell, Telok Ayer, Chinatown.
- Dated facilities
- Lack facilities, small swimming pool
- Lack Primary School within 1km range
For the budget, you could get a 1+Study, 925 sq ft which is spacious in size for the unit type. There is also a larger 1,055 sq ft unit but this will still be again a 1+Study unit. That said, unlike some of the newer launches today, the study here is quite sizeable and can double up as a second bedroom (albeit one that can only contain a single bed). The unit opens up to a small foyer area before entering a spacious living and dining area. It also comes with a good size kitchen and yard area which is great for laundry. And because there is only one bathroom here, the provision of the Jack & Jill bathroom is definitely a plus point too.
Like Emerald Garden, UE Square is one development that many tend to overlook – perhaps given the exterior of it looks more like an office building than it does a residential one. If you can get past its looks, it does have some perks up its sleeve.
UE Square is a 929-year leasehold mixed development with a total number of 429 units. It offers a full range of condo facilities including a tennis court and swimming pool and is located right across the street from Fort Canning DTL station. The price has risen quite significantly over the years. Currently, the average price stands at $1,8xx psf, which is competitive to the Freehold/ longer leasehold developments in the locality. For the budget, you could potentially get a spacious 2 bedder unit size.
There will also be further upside in the area when CanningHill Piers is completed given its price points as well as commercial shops that will be added.
Do also take note that there aren’t many schools located within a 1 km range from UE square. Hence future buyers especially family profiles may look at other resale options if proximity to schools is one of their main criteria. That being said, the single primary school within 1 KM is River Valley Primary School.
- 929-year leasehold development, value retention.
- Proximity to CBD and amenities
- Walking distance to Fort Canning MRT station.
- Decent range of facilities
- Lack of Primary School within 1Km range
- Not the most homely looking building
At 1,055 sq ft, the 2 bedroom unit is spacious in size as compared to its new launch peers. If you are after interior space, this one has it in spades because you don’t have a balcony included (hence that exterior that you see). It has a separate living and dining area with good size bedrooms. It’s also great that the bedrooms are set apart, so you do get more privacy here.
You do also have an enclosed kitchen that comes with a small service yard area which is great for laundry. The unit has quite a number of window panels too which is great for natural ventilation and allows natural light to penetrate into the unit.
Pinnacle @ Duxton
Comparing Pinnacle @ Duxton with the other two private development will be a complete mismatch because of the price point, but if you are most concerned about location this would make the most sense at the price points. There’s no question that Pinnacle @ Duxton will be the most affordable based on quantum for its proximity to the CBD.
For the past 6 months of transactions, prices have ranged between $980k – $1,288,000. While the Pinnacle is priced at a premium for public housing, ultimately it is still public housing, with lease decay that will occur over the years. To be fair, it is one of the few public housing located in close proximity to CBD and still one of the newest developments hence it will likely remain appealing especially for the convenience to amenities and proximity to the CBD. With the upcoming PLH model too, it does stand to gain some added benefit here.
Like the other two choices, there aren’t many schools located within a 1 km range from Pinnacle @ Duxton. Hence future buyers especially family profiles may look at other resale options if proximity to schools is one of their main criteria. And with that, the single primary school within 1 KM is Cantonment Primary School.
- Proximity to CBD and amenities
- Walking distance to a few MRT stations, Outram Park, Maxwell, Tanjong Pagar
- Affordable quantum
- Panoramic view, depending on floor and stacks
- Lease decay
- Lack of Primary Schools within a 1Km range
At 105 sqm, the 5-room does come in smaller as compared to the usual 5-room HDB flats (110 sqm). However, the unit layout is squarish and efficient. The unit opens to a small foyer area which acts as some form of privacy from neighbours peering into the unit.
Depending on the stack and level, certain units come with a planter box in either the bedrooms or the living area. We do like that the kitchen area comes with a service yard which is great for laundry. However, it does come with a long bedroom hallway which can take up space.
Other Developments To Consider
One development that has caught our attention is The Arris. Considering you were looking at UE Square and Emerald Garden which are both almost freehold properties, The Arris may very well be up your alley too. It’s a freehold boutique development located along Yan Kit Road. What we like about the development is that it’s just a 3-minute walk to Tanjong Pagar MRT, so it suits your criteria of being close to the CBD quite nicely. In fact, it is within the CBD so to speak.
The Arris is also well below the $2.3M budget. At just slightly below $2M, you can find a very decent 2 bedroom unit here that’s 900+ sqft in size too. The development also comes with some basic facilities, including a small lap pool. Given that you are not particular about condo facilities, perhaps this development could be suited for you.
Another cluster that you could consider is the Spottiswoode cluster of private residences. For example, Spottiswoode Residences is a full-fledged facility condominium that is much taller than The Arris – and the project is freehold too. You can get a decent 2-bedroom unit for over 900 sqft here for just over $2M – well within your budget. Moreover, the views towards the sea can be a bonus! It is also freehold – so the prospect of holding it over the long-term isn’t too daunting.
Convenience-wise, there’s no doubt that The Arris wins here, however, the Spottiswoode cluster is known to be more tranquil yet within a comfortable distance to the CBD. Furthermore, residents here can look forward to the completion of the Cantonment MRT station (CC Line) which will further improve the cluster’s connectivity.
As we’ve laid out above, all three developments are very different in nature.
Emerald Garden is good if you prioritise convenience over everything else. With amenities and a few MRT stations all within close walking distance, there is quite a wide variety of food options in the immediate area too. (Maxwell, Chinatown). However, it doesn’t offer much beyond the small swimming pool, and the exterior is the most dated of the lot.
It is also the most pricey option, and with the budget, you have in mind, it is still a 1+Study unit after all. While comfortable enough for a pair, if you are planning on having children, this may be a real downside in terms of it being future proof.
UE Square, on the other hand, ticks the boxes for convenience to an MRT station with amenities options in the Clarke Quay vicinity. It does offer better facilities too if you do consider selling in future as it opens up to a wider group of buyers as compared to an older development with basic facilities.
Between the 2, we do quite like the vibes of Emerald Garden as a hidden oasis within the city. The surroundings of Club Street is also vibrant with very differentiated food options, and the addition of buildings in the area like the recently launched 51-storey 280m biophilic skyscraper, CapitaSpring. It has S’pore’s tallest observatory deck & rooftop farm that is open to the public, and you’d probably be seeing more of such additions in the CBD area as moves are being made to make the area truly a work/live/play lifestyle.
All that said, family planning and future proof options aside, we might actually plunge for the Pinnacle @ Duxton given the circumstances. Since facilities aren’t so important for you, it could represent a more rational choice. And while it is priced at a premium for an HDB, the locational attributes that it offers is unbeatable. With the extra budget, you could think about a second property in the future, perhaps for rental income.
Apart from the above-mentioned projects, we also highlighted The Arris and Spottiswoode Residences – both freehold in tenure and are within/close to the CBD for you to explore further.
Thank you and we hope this helped!
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