Advice We Are Looking To Upgrade From An HDB To A Condo: Will Kingsford Waterbay, Boathouse Residences or Riversails Be Better?
- August 5, 2022
- 21 min read
Dear Stacked Homes,
We are your silent follower and we love your articles!
We are looking to upgrade from a 4rm HDB to a private 2+Study or compact 3 bedroom.
Which one of the following are more worth buying for own stay and potential capital appreciation in future?
Kingsford Waterbay 850sqft (Pool or River facing), Boathouse Residence 915sqft or RiverSail 850/915sqft?
There’s only 2 of us and a dog. No requirements for any school.
Thanks in advance!
We are so glad to hear you guys enjoy reading our content, and thanks for writing in!
Given your requirements, a 2 bedroom + study or a compact 3 bedroom will definitely be a good fit other than the fact that you will be likely looking at a step down in terms of interior living space. Also, the extra bedroom or study could come in handy should you guys ever decide to start a family (understand this may not be in the plans at the moment since school isn’t a requirement in this search).
Since all 3 developments are located in District 19 and are less than a kilometre apart from one another, it’s hard to really pin point which will be better over the other in the long term future as they share the same locational attributes. As such, if there are things like future upgrades to the area, or rezoning of the URA Master Plan, all 3 developments will stand to benefit.
But just from an overview of how the 3 developments have been performing, the trendlines for Riversails and Boathouse Residences are what you want to see, while Kingsford Waterbay is the least optimistic of the 3. Nevertheless, we will share more below on each individual development.
For now, since they are all sharing the same amenities and transport links, let’s start by giving an overview of what you can look forward to in the area.
Amenities & Transport Links
As mentioned earlier, the 3 developments are just a stone throw away from one another and thus share roughly the same amenities and transport links. We are assuming being near an MRT station isn’t vital here, as it takes roughly 20-25 minutes to walk to Hougang MRT which most people will not consider a daily walkable distance. If it helps, Kingsford Waterbay is the nearest, but it’s really not by much.
There are, however, bus stops situated outside each project with feeder buses that will take you to the MRT station. For those who are driving, it’s a 2-7 minute drive (depending on traffic conditions) from the developments to Buangkok East Drive which then connects to the KPE and TPE.
In terms of future upgrades, the URA has announced that by 2030 the new integrated transport hub at Hougang MRT station will be completed. It will be a fully air-conditioned bus interchange that is linked to the current Hougang North-East Line (NEL) station as well as the upcoming Hougang Cross Island Line (CRL) station. The CRL will considerably reduce travel time from the north-east region to central areas like Sin Ming as well as industrial estates in the east like Loyang and Changi Aviation Park. Needless to say, the increased connectivity offered by this new MRT line will greatly benefit those working and living in the area.
As with most heartland malls, Hougang Mall which is located next to Hougang MRT station boasts a decent selection of eateries, fast food chains, supermarkets, clothing stores, clinics, as well as a library. For days when taking a bus ride out to the mall is too much of a hassle, there is an NTUC Fairprice and food court just a 5-minute walk away at the neighbouring HDB cluster – Hougang Capeview (476 Upper Serangoon View). They also have a Texas Chicken outlet, a bakery, a clinic and a hair salon. Just about everything you need! (If you want to watch our video on it, you can do so here!).
For nature lovers, fitness enthusiasts or if you just like to enjoy a leisurely stroll, the 16-hectare Punggol Park is a mere 10-minute walk from the developments. Set behind Kingsford Waterbay is the Serangoon Park Connector which runs along the Serangoon River and makes for a pretty scenic stroll/ run/ ride. For those who are more adventurous, after a 6km walk, the Serangoon Park Connector eventually leads to the Punggol Promenade Riverside Walk. If you can go a little further, you will find yourself at Lorong Halus Wetland or Coney Island which houses a variety of flora and fauna.
To wrap up, we can see why this part of Hougang is an ideal spot for you and your dog. You are surrounded by the Sungei Serangoon (which makes for a really nice path to walk your dog), as well as having Punggol Park so close by (with the dog run there). For nature lovers, this is a pretty great spot to be in.
Now let’s take a closer look at each development!
Out of the 3, Kingsford Waterbay is the newest, having obtained its TOP in 2018. There really isn’t much between the 3 in terms of age though, so we wouldn’t sweat on this.
It is on the lower end of a mega condominium with 1,165 units spread across nine towers. The development has an excellent unit mix ranging from 1 – 5 bedroom units, as well as strata terraces and semi-detached houses, catering to a wide array of buyer profiles. At 292,747 square feet of land though, it is quite a dense plot – especially with its elongated nature. We know it’s not a direct comparison, but a similar unit size condo like The Interlace with 1,040 units is sitting on a much bigger 869,321 square feet piece of land. As such, you might find it quite crowded here. Take a look on Google reviews and you will find that to be a common issue.
That said, the developer has designed the towers in such a way that every unit is either overlooking the Serangoon River or facing the extensive condo facilities which include two 50m lap pools, an aqua gym, a tennis court and a putting green, just to name a few.
Also, most of the units that are looking over the facilities are west facing and will likely get the afternoon sun. Within the development, there is also a childcare centre, mini mart and a small cafe. To be sure, these commercial entities are a great added convenience for the residents.
3 bedroom – 850sqft
At 850 sq ft for a 3 bedroom unit, this is no doubt a compact size. But for 2 people, you should find no issues for what it offers.
At the entryway, there is some room to do up a small shoe cabinet and maybe even a sitting area to put on your shoes. This also gives you some privacy, which you may or may not appreciate.
The kitchen is ventilated and enclosed with a glass panelled wall that will allow more natural light in. It’s rather compact in size but probably still adequate for a couple or small families (important to think about for resale in the future). There’s no yard or utility to speak of though, so when it comes to laundry you might still need to utilise the balcony here.
The living and dining areas are decently sized with the dining being able to just about fit a 6 seater table. The balcony is spacious enough for a couple of outdoor seats and maybe a small coffee table, but not overly huge that it eats into the liveable space. Given the views you can get here, having a balcony is definitely a plus point. Do note that one of the bedroom is a tad smaller than the other two and can only accommodate a single bed and wardrobe, but for you needs will probably be converted into a study instead (although it doesn’t have the greatest window). Both bathrooms are ventilated which is a plus point!
These are some of the recent 3 bedroom transactions:
|DATE||BLOCK||LEVEL||PRICE||SIZE (SQFT)||PSF||TYPE OF SALE|
|05 JUL 22||80||#04||$1,270,000||958||$1326||RESALE|
|10 JUN 22||74||#07||$1,100,000||850||$1294||RESALE|
|27 MAY 22||72||#14||$1,389,000||1033||$1345||RESALE|
|09 MAY 22||68||#06||$1,160,000||883||$1314||RESALE|
|05 MAY 22||68||#10||$1,400,000||1044||$1341||RESALE|
|27 APR 22||78||#02||$1,180,000||850||$1388||RESALE|
|14 APR 22||66||#12||$1,400,000||1033||$1355||RESALE|
|08 APR 22||66||#03||$1,060,000||850||$1247||RESALE|
|05 APR 22||70||#16||$1,050,000||861||$1220||RESALE|
|10 FEB 22||80||#06||$1,300,000||958||$1357||RESALE|
The 3 bedroom units at Kingsford Waterbay ranges from 850 – 1,044 sq ft. There are 3 different unit types – 3 bedroom, 3+Study, and a 3 bedroom dual key. Given that majority of the 3 bedders are made up of smaller units (850 – 883 sq ft), it’s only natural that there are more transactions for these unit types.
If we are looking at the 850 sq ft units specifically, they are going at $1m – $1.18m with an average of $1,288 psf. There are 10 stacks with this layout (Stacks 06, 11, 29, 42, 47, 60, 64, 68, 69, 77) but note that only stack 68 is river fronting.
You might have noticed that the #02 unit sold in April 2022 transacted at a higher price than the ones on #03 and #07 even though it is on a lower floor. This price premium could be due to it being the only river fronting stack of its size, giving it an edge over the other two units which are facing the facilities. Waterfront views are not the most common in Singapore, so units with this attribute do sometimes command a premium.
Next up, Boathouse Residences!
Boathouse Residences is also a relatively young development that obtained its TOP in 2015 (it is the “oldest” of the 3). It is a mid sized condominium with 493 units spread across six towers, comprising of 1 – 4 bedroom units. It sits on a land size of 139,935 square feet, so it is about equivalent to the density of Kingsford Waterbay. It is on a regular plot though, so it may not feel as dense (also because it has much fewer units).
The project is flanked by Serangoon Secondary School and Heron Bay. As such, the mid to high floor units that are facing the school will most likely enjoy an unblocked view. Due to the configuration of the towers, certain stacks will have odd shaped layouts (stacks 09, 12, 16, 19). Facilities include the usual 50m lap pool, tennis court, gym, bbq area and one really interesting feature that caught our eye – river rafting! There are inflatable donut floats available for residents to cruise through a small meandering course on. Since this is more of a kid-related activity this may not appeal too much to you now, but could be an interesting point when it comes to reselling in the future!
2+Study – 915sqft
For what it’s worth, at 915 sq ft for a 2 bedroom + study unit, it’s quite a good size.
To start, the layout is quite an unusual one as instead of opening up into the kitchen, it opens up into a foyer (which you don’t usually get at a 2 bedroom unit type). In some sense, you could even configure this as a dual key layout (you’d need to install a small kitchenette in the common bedroom).
The dumbbell layout puts the two bedrooms on opposite ends of the unit which offers more privacy. The built in dining table is actually quite a sensible design seeing that it can be quite awkward to place a regular dining table between the kitchen and the living room given the space constraint.
The kitchen is ventilated but not enclosed, so if you were to do heavy cooking, the smells from the food is still likely to emanate through the house. You could install a glass panel and sliding door to close up the kitchen, however by doing so it may feel a little cramped. If you appreciate al fresco dining, the balcony is of a good size and can definitely accommodate some outdoor furnitures.
Both the bedrooms are spacious enough to fit a double bed as well as side tables with much room left to manoeuvre around. The common bathroom also has an entrance from the bedroom which makes both bedrooms en suite, although some may gripe at how long the entranceway is to the second common bedroom. The size of the study is good enough to serve its purpose but if you have plans to use it as a guest bedroom, it may not be the most ideal as its rather narrow and may not be able to fit even a single bed.
Probably the biggest plus point is that both bedrooms have access to the balcony here, which could be ideal given you have a dog.
These are some of the recent 2 bedroom transactions:
|DATE||BLOCK||LEVEL||PRICE||SIZE (SQFT)||PSF||TYPE OF SALE|
|01 JUL 22||23||#03||$872,000||732||$1191||RESALE|
|11 MAY 22||23||#08||$840,000||732||$1148||RESALE|
|31 MAR 22||33||#02||$965,000||915||$1055||RESALE|
|29 MAR 22||33||#01||$840,000||775||$1084||RESALE|
|24 MAR 22||23||#09||$888,000||732||$1213||RESALE|
|23 MAR 22||23||#07||$1,021,000||915||$1116||RESALE|
The 2 bedrooms at Boathouse Residences range from 732 – 1,130 sq ft with 3 different unit types – 2 bed 1 bath, 2 bed 2 bath and 2+Study. The 2+Study are mostly 915 sq ft with the exception of ground floor units which have a larger private enclosed space (PES). The development consists of 9 stacks of 2 bedders with 5 of these being 2+Study (stacks 02, 05, 24, 28, 29). The 2+Study are going at $965k – $1.038m with an average of $1,083 psf.
Since you’re looking at a 2+Study, we assume you might have some use for the extra room. If budget allows, you could also consider the 1,001 sq ft 3 bedroom units (stacks 13, 17) which are going at $1.15m – $1.18m with an average of $1,150 psf. The 3 bedroom will potentially cater to a larger buyer pool in the future when you decide to sell the place, given that it has 3 proper bedrooms, it’s an option bigger households will look at as compared to the 2+Study. This is the layout of the 1,001 sq ft unit:
Riversails obtained its TOP a year later than Boathouse Residences in 2016. It is a big development with 928 units spread across twelve towers and has a balanced mix of 1 – 4 bedroom units. It sits on a land size of 265,015 square feet, so a little smaller than Kingsford Waterbay, with less units too. If you are looking for maximum water frontage though, Riversails definitely loses out.
Due to the design of the towers, the majority of the units here are inward facing. Units that are overlooking the Sungei Pinang canal will get a nice water view. Facing a canal may not sound the most ideal, but Sungei Pinang is actually under the PUB’s Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters Programme which is an initiative launched in 2006 to improve the quality of water and life in our waterbodies. For Sungei Pinang, landscaping has been done along both sides of the water banks to enhance and spruce up the area. Do note some units are facing Upper Serangoon Road which can get pretty busy during the peak hours, so there may be some traffic noise.
Riversails is packed with a multitude of facilities. In addition to the usual 50m lap pool, gym, bbq areas, they have 2 tennis courts, 2 spa pools, a sky lounge on the 18th floor with a star gazing lawn and bird spotting deck, 3 different kids zones which include a flying fox and miniature golf course, and the list goes on.
2 bedroom – 850sqft
At 850 sq ft for a 2 bedroom unit, this is the equivalent of the size of the Kingsford Waterbay unit, albeit with more space.
Upon entering the unit, the first thing that you’ll notice is the fridge sitting outside the kitchen which some may find unsightly. If this bothers you, then some reconfiguration of the kitchen will need to be done in order to place the fridge inside. The kitchen is ventilated, enclosed and comes with a home shelter which is great for storing all your household appliances and miscellaneous items.
There is no segregation for the living and dining area, so you can get creative with how you’d like to place things. Although the living room is of a fairly decent size but if you want a properly big dining table, it may feel a little cluttered and cramped. For those who enjoy the al fresco vibes, you can consider placing the dining table at the balcony instead as it is quite big.
Both bedrooms can fit comfortably a double bed and side tables. By building the wardrobes in the nooks of both bedrooms, it flushes them to the wall which is a clever utilisation of these odd spaces. Both bathrooms are also naturally ventilated, which is always good to have.
2+Study – 914sqft
There is also a bigger 2+study unit to consider at 915 sq ft.
Certain features of this layout is identical to that of the 850 sq ft unit – fridge placed outside the kitchen, awkward positioning of the dining table, home shelter in the kitchen. Similarly, both bedrooms can also fit a double bed and side tables, the only difference is that the wardrobes are not flushed to the walls.
Like the 2+Study at Boathouse Residences, the size of the study is good enough to serve its purpose but if you have plans to use it as a guest bedroom, it may not be the most suitable.
These are some of the recent 2 bedroom transactions:
|DATE||BLOCK||LEVEL||PRICE||SIZE (SQFT)||PSF||TYPE OF SALE|
|05 JUL 22||24||#03||$978,000||850||$1151||RESALE|
|30 JUN 22||20||#06||$1,170,000||915||$1279||RESALE|
|24 JUN 22||24||#13||$1,060,000||883||$1200||RESALE|
|20 JUN 22||4||#15||$1,030,000||851||$1210||RESALE|
|09 MAY 22||20||#04||$940,000||851||$1105||RESALE|
|05 MAY 22||20||#05||$1,010,000||915||$1104||RESALE|
|24 MAR 22||24||#16||$1,020,000||882||$1156||RESALE|
|21 MAR 22||14||#03||$978,000||883||$1108||RESALE|
|01 MAR 22||20||#15||$983,000||850||$1156||RESALE|
The 2 bedrooms units at Riversails range from 850 – 947 sq ft with 2 different unit types – 2 bed 2 bath and 2+Study. There are 6 stacks of 850 sq ft units (stacks 08, 09, 49, 54, 57, 58) which are going for $940k – $1.03m at an average of $1,160 psf. As for the 2+Study at 915 sq ft, there are 4 stacks (stacks 38, 45, 50, 53) of these and they are going for $1.01m – $1.05m at an average of $1,161 psf.
Which of the 3 will be a better investment?
You’ve mentioned that this purchase is for own stay purposes with potential capital appreciation when reselling it. Since affordability and holding period wasn’t revealed to us, our advice will generally be based on which development we think will be most suited for your family of 2 and a dog, with value retention potential.
All 3 projects are relatively new with Kingford Waterbay (TOP 2018) being the youngest followed by Riversails (TOP 2016) then Boathouse Residences (TOP 2015). Given that they are all less than 10 years old, lease decay is not a huge concern here unless you’re planning to stay for the long term, say over 20 – 30 years.
With the upcoming CRL, accessibility will be significantly increased and all 3 projects will stand to benefit from this. Looking at the URA Masterplan, you’ll notice that not only will the current Hougang MRT station become an integrated transport hub, it will also be an integrated development with residential and commercial components. The possibility of an additional shopping mall in the area would mean a greater array of amenities for residents.
The launch of this integrated development could also help to push or hold up prices in the neighbouring projects. Looking at Sengkang Grand Residences, an integrated project one station away at Buangkok MRT, it was transacting at an average of $1,762psf. This was launched in 2019. If the recent AMO Residence which is going at an average of $2,112 psf is any indication of where prices of future launches are headed, we can expect that this upcoming integrated development at Hougang is not going to come cheap. Of course, AMO Residence is in a more central location and there is pent up demand due to the lack of new condominiums in the Ang Mo Kio area so it may not be the best example. But with land prices on the rise, it’s no question that future launches will also be priced accordingly.
Let’s take a look at how the 3 developments are performing in comparison to the existing new launches in Hougang, namely The Florence Residences and Riverfront Residences.
We can see that when Kingsford Waterbay obtained its TOP in 2018, the price gap between that and Boathouse Residences as well as Riversails is rather significant. However in recent years the price disparity is getting smaller. With the The Florence Residences and Riverfront Residences transacting at an average of $1,723 psf and $1,458 psf respectively, this could drive up demand in the secondary market where units are going at $1,130 psf – $1,291psf. For the same quantum, you will likely be able to size up and buy a bigger unit in the resale market.
There is already a number of subsale transactions for Riverfront Residences. A 721 sq ft 2 bed 2 bath unit on #03 recently went for $1.03m ($1,428psf) in July 2022, and in May, a 915 sq ft 3 bedder on #09 went for $1.4m ($1,530psf).
If we were to compare the other developments in the vicinity such as Heron Bay (TOP 2015), Rio Vista (TOP 2004) and The Florida (TOP 2000), we can see that prices of all the projects are moving in accordance with the market even for the older condominiums.
Based on these figures, the value for the 3 developments you are looking at should still hold up in the near future.
With the 3 developments sharing the same amenities, transport links, future integration in the area and being so close in age, it is no doubt a tough call deciding which project to go for.
Here’s how we would look at the 3.
Kingsford Waterbay is the newest of the lot, and if you are concerned about the views, this would be the most suitable choice (if you can get a river fronting view). Though we would caution that the current views across the Sungei Serangoon won’t last forever as this is zoned under Business in the URA Master Plan.
For its size, the 3 bedder unit here also potentially caters to a larger buyer pool when it comes to reselling the unit.
That said, we would be wary of the workmanship issues and construction problems that has plagued the development from the beginning. BCA had to halt construction at a point after receiving feedback on “suspected construction safety issues”. Even after it was built, there were complaints from residents over issues of the workmanship. To be fair to the developer, there were works done to try to rectify issues, and they did build a fence around the condo at their own cost after residents complained about safety and privacy issues.
But if you are staying over a longer term, definitely the upkeep of the condo is important – especially when it comes to reselling in the future. While it is also reliant on a good MCST, the overall build quality has to be there. This will be a point we are less sure about.
Boathouse Residences will be a good choice if you are looking for something less dense and crowded given that it has much fewer units than the other two. The size of the unit is decent too, and if the 2 bedroom + study makes sense, the layout with both bedrooms being accessible to the balcony is sensible for your dog. It also has the advantage of being slightly closer to Punggol Park, yet not far off from the Sungei Serangoon. With the lower quantum, that could also help go into your renovation budget.
Riversails is probably your best bet if facilities are a priority. There’s a huge range to choose from here, and the Sky Lounge is something different that the other 2 do not offer. In a way you are also more sure of what your view is in the future unlike Kingsford Waterbay, and having a household shelter for more storage is an underrated feature to have in units today.
Overall, all three developments do have their pros and cons which we’ve laid out above. However, we must add that there’s a lot more work to be done to hone down on the numbers – particularly in comparing it with more developments around so that you are aware that you’ve made a well-researched decision when picking a condo here. For that, we would advise engaging an agent to assist you in the numbers.
Thank you for reaching out to us, we hope our insights into the developments will help in your decision-making!
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