Fulcrum Review



  • Christopher Chitty
  • 18 July 2016

Project Name: Fulcrum

Address: No. 33 Fort Road S(439092)

Type: Condominium

Site area: Approx. 47,888 sqft

Tenure: Freehold

District: 15

Configuration: 128 units in a single block of 24 storeys

Unit types: 1BR (441 – 635 sqft)

1BR Loft (818 sqft)

2BR (678 – 700 sqft)

2BR Duplex (840 – 1,089 sqft)

3BR (1,346 sqft)

Penthouse (2,153 – 4866 sqft)

Parking lots: 128 + 3 handicapped lots in a 2-level basement carpark

Expected TOP: December 2016

Project Details

As a mid-density single tower development, Fulcrum’s strengths are in providing a smaller variety of unit types that are then designed well. There are some aspects of the units that are a concern, particularly the large balcony in a 1BR unit. Balconies are a staple of condominiums but their size will always be a point of contention. For bigger units with more room to play around with, a large balcony is less of a concern than in a small 1BR unit.

Source: Developer brochure

Source: Developer brochure

From the above floorplan, the unit minus the balcony looks to have a good modern layout. Similar to 1BR units in Kallang Riverside, the merging of bedroom with living room (separated by a folding door) is a cool workaround the issues a solid wall will add to an already small unit. The foldable door lets the resident determine when there’s a need for privacy and when the apartment would benefit from having the space opened up.

Thus the biggest detractor here is the large balcony. If it were smaller, more space could be allocated for the living room but this is likely a result of the development façade’s design.

Source: Developer brochure

Source: Developer brochure

The 2BR unit (not loft) arguably has the better space allocation, with a seemingly smaller balcony. The larger living room makes the balcony look smaller as well as the fact that its more outward shape helps to project this visual. This particular layout is also interesting as the master bedroom is located in the annex of the unit, giving that space more privacy than the second bedroom that is adjacent to the living room. Interestingly, only one balcony is given with its singular point of access through the living room.

That the developer did not see a need to inundate the unit with more balconies than it needs and instead kept things fairly simple is notable and appreciated.

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Location

Fort Road is in a peculiar way.

It is relatively close to Mountbatten Road and thus, within walking distance to the amenities there. Things like the bars and cafes (Café Melba) in Goodman Arts Centre as well as the massive Eton House Pre-School are all within a 10 minute walk or so. Even the Katong Swimming Complex is nearby along Mountbatten Road and between Eton House and Goodman Arts Centre (formerly La Salle-SIA).

Eton House Pre-School

Eton House Pre-School

Further down, past Goodman Arts Centre and across the Geylang River, there’s a MacDonald’s and KFC quite close to Mountbatten MRT station. It is along Mountbatten Road toward Nicoll Highway.

From there, the National Stadium can be seen. Around the National Stadium are several malls like Leisure Park Kallang (the nearest cinema) and the newer Kallang Wave Mall. The National Stadium is also integrated with Stadium MRT station, which like Mountbatten is on the Circle Line and connected to the Paya Lebar MRT Interchange.

On paper, all of this looks extremely good but while Fort Road and the Fulcrum – the condo in question – is certainly within range of all these conveniences, it is at the same time, somewhat isolated from them. Yes you can walk there, but all of these are about 10 minutes away and for the MacDonald’s and KFC, 15 to 20 walk. To some it’s not a big deal but seeing as how the entire trek to those locations is unsheltered, it does impede travel on an extremely hot day or during monsoon season, making a car almost necessary.

Bus stop in front of Fulcrum

Bus stop in front of Fulcrum

Fortunately, there’s a bus stop in front of Fulcrum though out of three buses, two end in the Bedok Interchange (30, 30e) and one goes to Serangoon Interchange. Bus 30 does bring you closer to the MacDonald’s which is one stop after the HDB estate across the road from Goodman Arts Centre.

The bus stop at Goodman Centre has more buses that go toward Katong and more importantly, Parkway Parade Shopping Centre. From there, you can walk to Roxy Square, Roxy Square 2, 112 Katong (another cinema location) and even Katong Shopping Centre.

Goodman Arts Centre

Goodman Arts Centre

Slightly closer amenities are found in the two petrol stations (SPC and Esso), on the way to Goodman Arts Centre. In SPC, there’s a Choice mini-mart and a POSB/UOB ATM while at Esso, there’s a FairPrice Express. While still, about a 10 minute walk out, that there are 24-hour options where you can grab food or money in the wee hours of the night is helpful.

SPC and Esso petrol stations

SPC and Esso petrol stations

There’s also a market and food centre through the HDB blocks behind the bus stop after the petrol stations. There are many stalls with a large variety of food options there but many are closed on certain days and those that are opened every day, tend to close quite early.

Before 3pm however, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to grab some food but come evening time, it may be better to look elsewhere or cook.

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Analysis

With only 39 units sold out of the 128 available and a TOP set for the end of this year, Fulcrum has quite the slope to climb. Its prices are high but similarly priced with its competitors. And this is the difficulty Fulcrum would face; it is next to De Centurion and LA Ville while The Waterside is just across the road from it.

The Belvedere and The Seafront on Meyer further down the road are expected to see their value increase as they are next to Katong Park and therefore closer to the new MRT station. Those are also closer to the amenities than Fulcrum.

Source: URA, PropertyGuru

Source: URA, PropertyGuru

Fulcrum’s position in an area fairly crowded with other developments while being a good 15-minute walk from the closest shop/eatery fights against its luxurious units. The average PSFs for transacted units at Fulcrum are as follows:

Source: URA, PropertyGuru

Source: URA, PropertyGuru

Also, as Fulcrum’s indicative price range is at a high $1,975 PSF against De Centurion’s $1,383 PSF and The Waterside’s $1,271 PSF makes it a bit of a tough sell. Granted those two properties are older and Fulcrum is, in fact, the newest one, the indicative price ranges show that Fulcrum is far higher than it should be for a property in this area.

Even The Belvedere’s indicative price range is $1,555 PSF and it is closer to the amenities along Mountbatten as well as being easier to get to Parkway Parade.

Right now, it seems like Fulcrum is being priced with the future MRT in mind which is worrying since the resale quantums once the station is up and running will likely increase further. Smaller units under $1m may be easier to sell but the ones that have been sold at $2m and above may find it harder to find buyers, especially with competing properties nearby that are closer to amenities.

Rental

URA sets rental yield at a steady 3.01% and a steady rate of rental has been recorded throughout the many developments. The area however, is more conducive for personal stay rather than rental and with so many developments in one area, it is a renter’s market rather than the landlords.

With the new MRT station upcoming, it may open up the rental pool though not by a significant volume. After all, properties like The Belvedere will benefit far more due to its closer proximity than Fulcrum.

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Summary

As a place of personal stay, Fulcrum is a decent choice smothered by a variety of other competing choices. Its greatest asset is unlike those competitors, it is new and therefore units can be easily bought as opposed to convincing someone from De Centurion for example, to sell theirs.

Fort Road

Fort Road

And this is an important distinction since aesthetically, Fulcrum does not look all that different from the other properties around it despite being more expensive. Its higher-end luxury status and units that with almost futuristic sanitary fittings and kitchen appliances are also a potential pull factor for interested buyers but are ultimately small considerations when faced with a much higher quantum.

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Eric Wong

Christopher Chitty

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