• Christopher Chitty
  • 28 November 2016

 

TEE Land has completed twenty projects in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. With an intent to expand further into the ASEAN market, they are making a name for themselves as a serious boutique developer with an eye for interesting projects in well-established locations.

Project Name: Hilbre 28

Address: 68 Hillside Drive, S549015

Type: Residential

Site area: 21,809.19 sqft

Tenure: 999-years leasehold w.e.f 1st September 1876

District: 19

Configuration: 28 units in a 5-storey building

Unit types: 4, 2-bedroom units (495 sqft)

16, 3-bedroom units (807, 818, 861 sqft)

2, 4-bedroom units (1,410 sqft)

6, 5-bedroom units (2,045, 2,153 sqft)

Parking lots: 31 lots

Expected TOP: 31st October 2018

Project Details

Propshort: Units are Hilbre 28 are for the most part, well-designed. Bedrooms may come across as small but they can hold a queen size bed sufficiently. The living rooms and kitchens however take the layouts into consideration which helps with creating more usable space for the resident. The larger townhouse like units that sit above the condominiums are the most sought-after and those that can afford to buy one of them, should certainly do so.

Hilbre 28 is a unique development. The first two floors after the ground level are what you’d expect condominium apartments to look like. It is the third level that warrants the most attention. A communal pool sits out in the open but is otherwise shaded by units that resemble landed houses rather than conventional apartment units.

The third level units are two-storeys high. As this addition is a little avant-garde, they’re expected to be call signs of Hilbre 28. The house units will add a little distinction in the new property to an otherwise standard looking suburban area.

Hilbre 28 3D model

Hilbre 28 3D model

These units (come with attics) present an excellent opportunity for multi-generational families to live together under the same roof with the added advantage of large personal space.

As a result, these units are limited and are expected to have a higher quantum. So far at time of writing, two have been sold, out of six.

At the showflat however, only one unit is on display – the 861 sqft Type 3B 3-bedroom apartment. The Hilbre 28 showunit is at Thomson Road. It shares the showflat with TEE Land’s other upcoming development, 183 Longhaus.

3-bedroom unit

3BR

3BR

The 3-bedroom unit comes with something called a household shelter. It resembles a bomb shelter but is slightly smaller and more suitable as a walk-in wardrobe for your shoes. Facing the door directly makes it doubly suitable for putting on your shoes indoor and then proceeding straight out, rather than tracking dirt throughout the rest of the house.

Furthermore, its location guarantees that the other areas of the house, especially the living room and kitchen, won’t suffer the obstruction of space.

The living and dining area is about 2.2 sqm. The rectangular shape keeps things looking cosy while allowing for a little more room to play with.

3BR living room

3BR living room

As evidenced by the interior decorating at the showflat, a table for six barely takes up space, even with the presence of a six to eight-seater couch.

The layout is pretty good and the living room looks bright and comfortable. The corridor leading to the bedrooms is a little narrow and can be dark but this is easily rectified by having brighter lights installed.

3BR main corridor

3BR main corridor

The kitchen has see-through glass installed along the preparation area as part of its structure. This adds to the overall brightness and openness of the unit.

The spaciousness of the entire unit continues with how the common bedrooms are presented. In many developments, it’s easy for developers to offer units with large living rooms and kitchens but falter when it comes to the bedroom. Fortunately, that is not the case here.

3BR common bedroom with queen size bed

3BR common bedroom with queen size bed

It’s hard to tell from the picture but considering that the common bedroom can fit a queen size bed, including the built-in wardrobe and a small side table with ample space to walk around, it is impressive.

At 4.5 sqm, the common bedrooms, for the 3-bedroom unit at least, is bigger than what is commonly given. And with an average of 3.3m ceiling height, bunk beds can also be installed as seen in the second common bedroom.

common bedroom with deck

common bedroom with deck

Based on the size of the bedrooms and how it can accommodate at least two people, a family of six can live in the 3-bedroom unit comfortably for a time.

The master bedroom comes with its own bathroom and though the décor makes it look dark, at 11 sqm, it’s considerably more spacious than it appears.

3BR master bedroom

3BR master bedroom

All in all, the 3-bedroom unit looks good. Even the kitchen and its yard space is kept separated despite sharing basically the same area. As a result of two elongated areas, the kitchen is shaped like a T-bar and fits nicely with the rest of the unit.

kitchen

kitchen

The layout is clean and the appliances that come with are Electrolux and Rigel. Other than the kitchen and the bathrooms, the rest of the unit will come bare. That means no large reflective surfaces or lights installed.

Even as a bare unit, it looks good.

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Location

Propshort: Hilbre 28 is located within a landed enclave where rows and rows of privates housing and condominiums reside side by side in relative peace. It has a smack of suburbia about it and is blissfully isolated from the chaos of the roads and malls. While owning a car can feel like a requirement to make living here convenient, there are several buses at the nearby bus stop that go to and from Serangoon MRT station, where NEX, a mega shopping mall is situated. 

Hillside Drive is a landed enclave. Rows of private houses sit side by side are shrouded with thick trees, limiting what prying eyes might see. The atmosphere is one of calm, with only the occasional car or person walking by.

Getting to Hillside Drive or any of the private roads that link to it, like Rosyth and Glasgow Road will be more convenient if you own a personal vehicle. However, unlike in other affluent areas, there are bus stops situated relatively close by to facilitate travel for people averse toward buying a car.

Yio Chu Kang Road

Yio Chu Kang Road

There is public transport to and fro the MRT station and various other locations in Singapore although the bus routes aren’t as connected here like the other parts of the island. There is a bus stop along Yio Chu Kang Road, just after the Moonlight Home for the Aged & Handicapped with only one bus from the stop at Kovan Station – 136 – servicing that route from the station.

However, from Serangoon MRT station, there are several buses that will bring you to that same stop; 43, 43M, 70, 70M, 76 etc., making it the more convenient choice. Furthermore, Serangoon MRT station is an interchange for the North-East (NE) and Circle Lines, of which Kovan is one stop away on the NE line. With an MRT interchange this close by, residents can still get to various other parts of Singapore.

The closest entrance/exit to Hillside Drive by personal vehicle from Yio Chu Kang Road will be along Rosyth Road. This is about two bus stops down from the Moonlight Home.

From Serangoon MRT station, it’s roughly a 10-minute bus ride down, depending on traffic. Walking to Rosyth Road from the bus stop after the Moonlight Home however takes about five minutes. While the walk there is unsheltered, it’s both closer and a lot less tedious.

Yio Chu Kang Road toward Rosyth Road

Yio Chu Kang Road toward Rosyth Road

So, to save time, cross the road and walk past the Shell Station, the construction offices and interior design firms until you reach the entrance leading down to Rosyth Road. You’ll know you’re on the right path when you see Rosyth Ville condo along Rosyth Road. In front of it is a bus stop with buses that go to Upper East Coast, Serangoon and Clementi Interchange, except Kovan MRT station.

Rosyth Road

Rosyth Road

Reaching Hillside Drive from Rosyth Road is straight forward, if a little long. Turn right at Leith Road (not Leith Park) and then a slight left when you see the sign leading to Hillside Drive. The walk is about 10 minutes downhill. If you drive, then you’ll get there under five minutes. Residents in the area may already know of specific shortcuts to better navigate the area but as there were several constructions and redevelopment in the area at the time of writing, it is advisable for future residents to explore their surroundings once Hilbre 28 launches in 2018.

Hillside Drive and Hilbre 28 technically are just behind the Shell station you’ll see on the walk to Rosyth Road. If you could scale the wall separating the Shell station and the private homes behind, then Hilbre 28 is a two minute jaunt to and fro the bus stop.

Hillside Drive and Shell Station

Hillside Drive and Shell Station

Hilbre 28 is currently undergoing piling works for the foundation to be set. It will be sometime before the framework of the development can be seen. With two years for it to TOP however, there’s plenty of time for the project to take shape. Editor’s note: At the time of publishing, five storeys have been completed.

Hilbre 28 actual site at Hillside Drive taken in Dec 2015

Hilbre 28 actual site at Hillside Drive taken in Dec 2015

Hilbre 28 is also close to several main roads that make travelling to work in various locations in Singapore easy enough to get to if you drive or cab frequently.

Yio Chu Kang Road is connected east to Upper Paya Lebar Road, the PIE (Pan-Island Expressway) and Geylang. Going the opposite way leads to Ang Mo Kio. From there, you can get on the CTE (Central Expressway) or SLE (Seletar Expressway). Yio Chu Kang Road also connects to Hougang Avenue 2 which leads to Tampines Road and the KPE.

The closest shopping mall – NEX – is also a short drive away and reachable through Serangoon Central from Yio Chu Kang Road.

There are several schools in the area, like Zhonghua Primary and Peicai Secondary along Serangoon Avenue 4. They can be considered a little far if you’re just relying on public transport. The closest stop is at a bus stop at Serangoon Community Park. Bus 109 from the bus stop in front of Rosyth Ville stops there.

Bus stop in front of Rosyth Ville

Bus stop in front of Rosyth Ville

It’s a bit of a walk through Serangoon Avenue 4 to the schools but that stop is the closest. If you have children that attend those schools, do check if the school provides shuttle service.

Zhonghua Primary School is within 1km of Hilbre 28. Other schools in the vicinity that are within the 1 – 2km radius are:

  • Rosyth School
  • Xinmin Primary School
  • Xinghua Primary School
  • Paya Lebar Methodist Girls School
  • Maris Stella High School
  • Yangzheng Primary School
  • Gabriel’s Primary School
  • CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel

Hilbre 28 by virtue of its location promises a peaceful and quiet environment. While amenities are a little out of the way, if you drive, it won’t be a big inconvenience. The location certainly has its beats with popular food places like Chomp Chomp Food Centre along Serangoon Garden Way and about a 15 minute drive from Rosyth Road.

The total distance is about 1.4km, so while not within walking distance, it’s convenient enough as a family trip for a weekend meal. The most important factor about Hillside Drive is that the location is meant to be a haven for people who prefer peace and quiet over the busyness that comes with being near malls.

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Analysis

As of November 2016, Hilbre 28 has achieved about 50% sales. 16 out of 28 units have been sold so far. The first three units were sold in May of 2015, out of which only one was a 2-bedroom unit below $1m. The other two were transacted at approximately $1.6m and $2.2m.

Transactions moved steadily from May, with about three units sold per month with the exception of August and November that had no sales.  September and December saw one unit sold respectively. In 2016, three were sold – 807 sqft, 2,045 sqft and 861 sqft – in the months of March and June respectively.

The quantums for these units, despite being in a private enclave are surprisingly within market expectations.

Source: URA, PropertyGuru

Source: URA, PropertyGuru

The larger units that go for $2.4m are also some of the most uniquely built ones. These offer interested parties the chance to live in a home that looks like landed property without incurring landed property prices.

The units that have been transacted above $2m are the 4 & 5-bedrooms while 2-bedroom units are around the $700K mark. With only four 2-bedroom units available however, they are as of October 2015, sold out.

Rental

The median rental for District 19 is $2.90 for the past four quarters at the time of publishing. Using the 495 sqft unit as a gauge, monthly rent on average is $1,722 after adding a 20% new build premium. The median transaction for the four, 495 sqft units is $770,696 which brings the annual gross rental yield to 2.68%. This is due to the abundance of landed houses rather than apartment buildings. Rental yield in the years after Hilbre 28 is launched should increase, provided residents actively rent out their units. With only 28 units however, the percentage of increase is expected to be small.

However, rental yield is mercurial at best and it cannot quite adequately ascertain the inherent worth of a development.

For clarity, owners of the bigger 2,045 sqft units can charge a monthly rental of $7,117. The median transaction for the 2,045 sqft unit is $2,100,000 which brings the annual rental yield to 4%.

The disparity is directly related to the size of the units in question. The bigger units have a larger worth simply because of the higher price tag. Ironically, people tend to buy smaller units for investment while bigger units are more suited for personal stay.

All that is clear is that Hilbre 28 is certainly worthwhile a purchase, but it is likely that most people that buy a unit here will do so because they love the area and want to live in it.

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Summary

TEE Land has a reputation for picking interesting locations for their boutique developments and Hillside Drive is no different. As it stands, Hillside Drive is an unorthodox place to build a residential building but with Hilbre 28, two things will stand out.

Firstly, the landed houses that sit atop the more regular condominium type units adds some additional flair to an area rampant with run-of-the-mill landed houses.

Secondly, its 999-year leasehold status just screams for a double take on the page.

Hilbre 28

Hilbre 28

Freehold homes in Singapore are rare but 999-years leasehold homes are rarer still. Granted at some point in history the lease will expire, but unlike regular 99-year homes that will see expiration within your children’s lifetime, 999-year homes are practically freehold from the perspective of 2016.

But all of that will be moot if the development fails to present itself as an attractive home to buyers. Hilbre 28 looks to be avoiding that pitfall. Its different unit styles will be attractive to many people and will likely be the driving force toward positive sales in this slightly inaccessible area.

Other than the 2-bedroom units which are the smallest ones offered, the other room types go from spacious to large rather quickly.

Hilbre 28 looks to be an exciting new project with prices at a reasonable range according to market expectations. That it is tucked away in Hillside Drive, may seem like a missed opportunity but this only adds to the aura of exclusivity Hilbre 28 has surrounding it.

 

 

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Eric Wong

Christopher Chitty

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