• Christopher Chitty
  • 7 November 2015

Interested in this project? Visit our listings page.

Name: Bellewoods

Address: Woodlands Ave 5/6

Type: Executive Condominium (EC)

Site area: 21,004 sqm

Gross floor area: 59,400 sqm

Tenure: 99-years leasehold from 12th August 2013

District: 25

Configuration: 561 units over 12 blocks of 11 and 12 storeys

Unit types: 36, 2-bedroom units (786 sqft)

291, 3-bedroom units (936 – 1,280 sqft)

200, 4-bedroom units (1,152 – 1,378 sqft)

34, 5-bedroom units (1,528 – 1,550 sqft)

Parking lots: 566 including 5 handicap lots (Basement carpark)

Shuttle service: 2 years free shuttle bus service to Woodlands MRT station

Expected TOP: November 2017

Qingjian Realty is part of the Qingjian Group Co. Ltd conglomerate with a business portfolio that extends from real estate development to investments. The Group has been developing buildings in Singapore since 1999.

Project Details

Interested in this project? Visit our listings page.

Building an executive condominium so far from established centres is a challenge. Especially for places like Woodlands, the onus is on the developer to create enticing features to attract people to either upgrade to an EC from the area, or move in from other parts of the island.

Bellewoods side entrance

Bellewoods side entrance

Location is very important even in a small place like Singapore, but price and layout are just as critical. Aesthetics is the other factor that helps to justify the cost, provided layout and space delivers on all fronts.

Preliminary showflat viewings show that Bellewoods is on the right track. Qingjian Realty is developing this EC to exude a resort-like atmosphere, hence zone names like Bamboo Forest and Mangrove Forest.

The forest themed EC is uncommon in this part of the island but on point with the national increased focus on sustainability.

Bellewoods Estate

Bellewoods Estate

The Bamboo Forest in particular is supposed to produce better air quality for residents in blocks 106 and 108. Bamboos are known to absorb a higher percentage of carbon dioxide and produce more oxygen. They’re also quite rare for developments to have.

There are six forest zones: Aquatic Forest, Urban Forest, Bamboo Forest, Evergreen Forest, Wellness Forest and Mangrove Forest.

Each zone has its own repertoire of facilities, like the Aquatic forest pool, 50m Infinity pool, Yoga lawn, gourmet pavilion, spa pool, sensory pod and mangrove trails. There are 44 different facilities throughout the six zones and all are professed to be high-end resort like facilities.

Aesthetically, the project looks good but what about the layout and the space allocated?

For people that like bigger kitchens and living rooms, then Bellewoods answers on those fronts. As is the trend with other developments, these items are provided: kitchen appliances (gas hob, cooker hood, built-in oven and fridge), kitchen cabinets, built-in wardrobes for all rooms and air-conditioning.

Tiles are ceramic and/or homogeneous with laminate skirting with the exception of balconies as the skirting matches the tiles. Kitchen table tops are solid surface tops. Bedrooms have laminate flooring with matching skirting.

Two showunits are presented; 4-bedroom and 3-bedroom.

4-bedroom Type D2A (117 sqm/1,259 sqft):  One thing you’ll notice immediately upon entering is how spacious the unit is. The kitchen in particular feels big, especially where it curves into the yard. The usual space constraints evident in other developments, including BTOs are taken into consideration here and its results are immediately evident.

Entrance to kitchen

Entrance to kitchen

A kitchen as a workspace should always allow for mobility for more than just one person and the layout offered at the showflat does just that.

Even the utility room, though benefiting from an interior design treatment, shows how a comparatively smaller space can be used adequately. The addition of a pull-out bed (ID designed for showflat) does wonders for a cramped nook.

It is something homeowners can consider adding to their renovation if necessary though the utility room is still not a proper living space for anyone bigger than a gnome.

Though the showunit presents a configuration that makes use of the space, its current layout does not take into consideration the entertainment console.

More than likely, the sofa would be facing the wall, with the back against the dining area.

Kitchen, living and dining room from balcony

Kitchen, living and dining room from balcony

One option would be to do away with the dining table, but only if eating in front of the television is a family prerogative. Still, whether you leave space for the dining table or not, there’s enough to play with.

Ceiling height is approximately 2.75m, unless you choose to install L-boxes or cove lighting for a cosier feel.

The corridor leading to the bedrooms are more than shoulders width apart which adds to the overall spaciousness of the unit.

Living area

Living area

Common bedrooms are sufficient, though it can be tight if you intend to place more than a bed and the wardrobe.

Creating a workspace in the common rooms with a bed would prove challenging, especially if you own a desktop rather than a laptop. The ID treatment here hurts the look of the bedroom unfortunately.

A good amount of space has been allocated to the kitchen, living room and master bedroom, but it does eat into the space available for common bedrooms.

Common bedroom

Common bedroom

What you can do with the common rooms, and the size of bed you can fit in would depend on the layout and orientation. Most common rooms can fit a queen size bed with enough walk space but little else.

For more space, put a single bed. The units may even seem more spacious once stripped of the ID treatments. Looking at a bare room might offer up a better perspective than one already fitted with furnishing.

Common bedroom with queen size bed

Common bedroom with queen size bed

However, as this is the current trend right now for family sized units in most ECs and condos, this can be solved by a little judicious renovation. Even older BTOs practice this mismatched size allocation, although to a more serious degree than what is offered here.

Fortunately, with the master bedroom and personal bathroom, the developer had the right idea about space. The master bedroom feels different from the other rooms as a result of its size.

Master bedroom

Master bedroom

A king size bed fits comfortably in the room, with a lot of walking space. The master bathroom – like the common bathroom – is big enough for a wheelchair bound person to enter. It is certainly bigger and more spacious than the common bathroom however, with a much larger wet area.

Despite the gripes about space, the 4-bedroom unit does its job admirably. A clever contractor or interior designer will be able to make better use of what is provided, though the units are fit for immediate move in with little to no construction required.

3-bedroom Type CS3A (119 sqm/1,281 sqft): It was odd, when viewing the smaller 3-bedroom unit, to feel like it’s bigger with a better overall layout than the 4-bedroom unit. This could be because of the interior designing for the showunit but even without it, one can see how much better the layout of this particular unit is.

Living and dining area

Living and dining area

The kitchen has its own nook and while it is not as long or L-shaped as the 4-bedroom unit, its U-shape allows for convenience and increased mobility.

The cooking area and cabinets are all within reach of one other, which is better while cooking. Though the in-built stove is in the dining area.

Entrance to kitchen and built in cabinets

Entrance to kitchen and built in cabinets

It is uncertain if this is a result of ID treatment or will the default design for this particular unit. Weirdness of stove placement aside, it does not look bad, thanks to the layout.

Even the common bedrooms benefit from a better layout (and arguably, a more practical ID setup), as the rooms feel bigger and more airy.

In one of the bedrooms, there was space for two beds – one above the other – and a study area, though such a set-up will soon taste the limits of what it can offer two persons sharing a room.

However, it benefits from a much better treatment as common bedrooms in many developments usually show the opposite of what good space allocation is about in the pursuit for aesthetics.

Common bedroom

Common bedroom

The ID mirror treatment is a nice touch as it adds a little depth to the room. Fortunately, the showunit presents a room that is more space-friendly than the 4-bedroom. This proves that good ID treatment makes all the difference.

Even the master bedroom has a decent layout, with straight lines and no odd corners. There’s enough wall space to mount a television if you wish, otherwise a compact study table can sit in the room or the balcony. In this regard, it’s not all that different from the 4-bedroom unit.

Master bedroom from balcony

Master bedroom from balcony

The master bathroom, like the common bathroom is wide enough for a wheelchair. Its rectangular shape is hardly the best for a bathroom, but it works here because it’s not just long with the door opening into a narrow corridor.

Both units however, benefit from a relatively smarter design, with no bay windows or bomb shelters taking up relevant space.

Interested in this project? Visit our listings page.

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Interested in this project? Visit our listings page.

Etymology: A long time ago, Woodlands was home to villages and squatters that made their living as small-time shopkeepers and vegetable farmers. There were rubber plantations and poultry farms throughout until the first HDB flats arrived in 1972 in Marsiling.

Now it is part of a greater plan that will see Woodlands turned into a large regional centre in the future.

Getting there: Visiting the showflat at Woodlands is not complicated, just really, really far. Well, far by Singapore standards. Unless you live in the area, going to Woodlands has all the exhilaration of braving the jam at the Causeway, minus actually going across the Causeway.

The quickest way to get there, if you’re coming from the east, is to ride the East-West line (Green) to City Hall then switch to North-South line (Red).

In the future, Bellewoods is about equal distance between Admiralty MRT (about 8-11 minute walk) and the upcoming Woodlands South MRT (2019) near Christ Church Secondary. For now, stick to Woodlands MRT station for showflat visits.

From the station, head to the bus interchange (there’s an escalator leading down to it). At the bottom of the escalator, make two lefts and walk a little bit down to find the 901 bus berth.

Bellewoods map

Bellewoods map

The journey takes about 10 minutes/seven bus stops. Along the way, you’ll pass by:

  • Woodgrove Primary
  • Christ Church Secondary
  • Covent Evangelical Free Church
  • Lacasa EC at Woodlands Dr 16
  • BW monastery (currently under construction)
  • Woodgrove Secondary

If you are visiting the showflat, then you must alight at Woodgrove Secondary bus stop. Before this stop, the bus will be at an intersection with Lacasa on the left and BW monastery on the right.

Field separating showflat and the bus stop you'll alight at

Field separating showflat and the bus stop you’ll alight at

When the bus makes a right turn, hit the bell and alight. The showflat is across the field behind the bus stop.

There is a path that leads to the showflat but it is a very long walk. A shortcut would be to trek across the field. Just be careful of the drains.

If you want to take a look at the actual site, which is visible from the showflat, then cut across the field but on the right of the bus stop when you’re facing it from outside the showflat. Bellewoods is next to Twin Fountains EC. It’s the shorter one.

Bellewoods showflat

Bellewoods showflat

With the airbase nearby, the taller projects require a security screen to prevent residents from being able to look into the base. To eliminate the need for that, Bellewoods blocks are 11 – 12 storeys.

The site the showflat is currently zoned as light industrial.

The surroundings: Woodlands is a lot different now than it was before, though it still has a long way to go. Right now, there’s less ‘wood’ and way more ‘land’. If anyone complains about overcrowding in Singapore again, send them to Woodlands. Amenities might be a little sparse for now.

Amenities are going to come in as Woodlands grows, but until then you’ll be getting most of your recreation from Causeway Point.

Causeway Point mall is integrated with the MRT station and bus interchange so there’s the standard fare of retail outlets, restaurants and even a cinema. It does get rather crowded but this is to be expected as it is the retail hub of this district.

Admiralty Place would be closest to Bellewoods. It does not have a cinema but there are eateries, barbers, clinics and a supermarket; everything residents would need within radius of their home.

One thing this area has a lot of however, are schools. Here are some, starting with closest:

  • Woodlands Ring Secondary
  • Woodlands Ring Primary
  • Woodgrove Secondary
  • Greenwood Primary

The government grand plan to turn Woodlands into a new regional centre rife with modern commercial facilities and residential development but it will be some years yet before it fully converts from ‘wide open land’ to a vibrant lifestyle hub.

Plan for Woodlands Regional Centre

Plan for Woodlands Regional Centre

Still, it is good that plans are underway. It’s just a matter of time before the ‘sleepy suburb’ of Woodlands turn into a ‘high-traffic hub’, albeit one built with nature in mind.

After all, our bursting population demands that such massive redevelopment occur to adequately sustain and satisfy a continuously growing populace.

Since the current trend is sustainability and eco-friendliness, Woodlands is barebones enough to begin development from the ground up, unlike other matured districts that would require a lot of retrofitting.

Interested in this project? Visit our listings page.

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Interested in this project? Visit our listings page.

UPDATE: As of January 2018, 550 out of 561 units at Bellewoods have been transacted. For a development this far out in the periphery of Woodlands, it’s extremely promising for the project and the immediate area. 

Credit: URA, PropertyGuru

Credit: URA, PropertyGuru

It is also important to note that while a larger number of transactions were in the SGD910K to SGD1M range, the highest transacted was at SGD1.2M. For the sweet spot of SGD1M to SGD1.5M, this relative affordability of Bellewoods is no doubt attractive although its lower price point is driven largely by the fact that Woodlands Ave 5/6 is a gentrifying area. Owners are likely to make a good profit after the MOP and conversion to private property respectively.

Furthermore, Bellewoods does offer good sized units regardless of the bedroom types so young couples and those with families whether new or growing will find much to love here. 

2015 original analysis

At the time of this writing, Bellewoods has achieved 43% total sales, with 2-bedroom units sold out and all CoSpace units selected. For an EC in Woodlands, this is decent progress.

When compared with one of its direct competitor, Twin Fountains, Bellewoods has a higher PSF (707 psf vs 703 psf) with a price difference of $96, 292.

Some of this can be attributed to the one year difference, as Twin Fountains, like Forestville, began in 2012, while Bellewoods started in 2013. Forestville is boasting 93% of its units sold, same as Twin Fountains.

This implies that despite the distance, Woodlands is fertile ground for development. The distance also benefits the psf as when compared to developments in more matured areas of Singapore, is a lot lower with a larger unit size.

Source: PropertyGuru, URA

Source: PropertyGuru, URA

The price difference for a 1,098 sqft unit in Forestville and a 1,119 sqft unit in Twin Fountains is small, since both were launched in the same year and would need to be competitively priced to increase take-up.

The abovementioned unit size in Twin Fountains is $786,751 versus Forestville’s $794,000 shows a mere $7,249 difference. Similarly sized units in Bellewoods – 1,066 sqft & 1,098 sqft – have been transacted at $792K and $863K respectively.

While still needing to be competitive, Bellewoods’ pricing takes into consideration its more robust facilities, forest-theme, yearly inflation and its location in relation to the streets.

Traffic to and fro the EC is alleviated as residents have entrances and exits specific to their condos. All in all, three of these developments share the same amenities and distance to the MRT station, with their size, layout, look and prices setting them apart.

Buying a unit as an investment is to play a long waiting game and is recommended only for the most patient of investors. Rental however, is a different beast as ECs by their very nature can only be rented out after the requisite five years MOP has been fulfilled.

By then however, more of the Woodlands area should be done up, providing more incentive for foreigners to either rent or buy a unit in Bellewoods. Of course, with two other options to choose from, it will all boil down to what the rental cost or resale price is ten years from the day the tenants start moving in.

Interested in this project? Visit our listings page.

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Interested in this project? Visit our listings page.

Qingjian Realty is slowly making a name for itself as the developer with projects in the younger estates (Woodlands, Anchorvale etc.) in Singapore. Perhaps in these areas, the developer feels a little freer to experiment with less common designs and leave their mark.

With Bellewoods, it attempts to do so again with a forest-themed resort executive condominium, in Woodlands.

Bellewoods Construction site

Bellewoods Construction site

It’s difficult to postulate how the project will look upon completion but granted, it won’t be that far off from what is currently shown at the showflat. Naturally, certain sizes would differ when taking into consideration the land size but overall, with over 70% of the construction done, it won’t be long before it is completed.

It’s the small details that give this project a little more boost. For example, the garbage disposal area sits under the tennis court, far from the blocks. This limits firstly the garbage truck moving through the estate and secondly, keeps the area clean and blissfully absent of the stench of refuse.

This EC is already more affordable with larger size units than condominiums. The only drawback would be that it is considered public housing for the first ten years of its life and thus only available to locals and PRs at first.

Once the ten years are up, then the EC is automatically converted into private property and can be sold on the open market to foreigners.

Bellewoods 3D model main entrance

Bellewoods 3D model main entrance

Therefore, Bellewoods is in a very unique position. Most ECs aren’t necessarily the best investment choice as owning one requires you to satisfy the five years MOP and then another five years before you can sell your property effectively.

For Bellewoods however, given that the Woodlands area is undergoing redevelopment, sitting on your property for ten years or so while the rest of the district is being built-up gives the property time to appreciate further.

Whether Woodlands is a goldmine waiting to be prospected remains to be seen. What is apparent however, is that it holds potential. After all, Singapore’s size more than guarantees its sleepy suburbs a high volume wake-up call in the future.

The only question is, how long will the wait be.

Interested in this project? Visit our listings page.

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Eric Wong

Christopher Chitty

"I read, I write, I lift. I am content"