Hillion Residences Review



  • Christopher Chitty
  • 17 October 2016

Project Name: Hillion Residences

Address: Jelebu Road

Type: Mixed development (integrated bus interchange, retail and residential)

Site area: approx. 204,000 sqft

Tenure: 99-year leasehold

District: 23

Configuration: 546 units in three, 23-storey blocks

Unit types:  328, 1BR & SoHo units (463 sqft, 474 sqft, 538 sqft & 549 sqft)

164, 2BR & SoHo units (710 & 872 sqft)

12, 3BR units (1,163 sqft)

24, 4BR units (1,356 & 1,410 sqft)

18, Penthouse units (2,616 sqft, 3,197 sqft & 3,208 sqft)

Est. TOP: 2016

Project Details

Propshort: Units at Hillion Residences are well designed with good, smart layouts. There’s not much wasted space regardless of the size which makes the 1BR units feel spacious proportionate to itself. The bigger units only get better. Hillion Residences sets the bar quite high and as a result, makes it tempting to want to live in Bukit Panjang. 

The popularity of Hillion Residences is without question. Already, it is mostly sold out leaving only the 1BR and Penthouse units left.

Also, as the area is mostly surrounded by HDB estates, the private property options for buyers who are beyond the HDB ceiling that want to live in this area are currently limited to three projects – Maysprings, The Linear and The Tennery – of which the latter is the most recently built. The other two projects were done in 1998 and 2006 respectively.

Hillion Residences tower

Hillion Residences tower

Regardless, all three would offer only resale units and as two of them are also 99-year leasehold, it is more sensible to purchase new property. The Linear is 999-years which is as good as the property being freehold but buying a unit there depends on whether a tenant is selling.

Hillion Residences has a few things that broadens its appeal to a wider range of buyers. Its smaller, SoHo units are ideal for a single or a young couple purchasing their first private property.

The smallest available unit is a 1-bedroom at 463 sqft. The 1BR units vary between a typical unit type and a SoHo type which typically means a unit with a furniture deck.

Source: Sim Lian Group Limited

Source: Sim Lian Group Limited

These units are all outfitted with high and/or low kitchen cabinets with solid surface counter top and kitchen sink. The cooker hood and cooker hob are also provided though whether they are electric or gas is dependent on the size of the unit. Normally, the smaller units get the electric versions while the big family sized units get the gas ones. Unit Types C1 (3BR) and E2 (Penthouse) do not come with the upper cabinet above the sink as the kitchen is not enclosed.

The appliances are all Bosch branded and will be provided for all units.

The regular 1BR unit is quite nice. It’s a novel concept and while not entirely a comfortable prospect if you have guests, it’s a quaint and yet, elegant design for a single or a couple.

Source: Sim Lian Group Limited

Source: Sim Lian Group Limited

As a 1BR, the design does not leave much wasted space at all. The balcony is a decent size as the developer smartly shows that it is the living areas that require more space than a terrace. Other developers should be following in this august example.

The TV is set into a counter that can be revolved which means you can turn the TV to face you when you’re on the bed. The only issue here is that there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to put a video player or a console or a stereo as the dividing wall is too narrow for those things.

Furthermore, wires will be dangling everywhere with no means of concealing them which means people who buy this particular unit may have to pay for extra renovation to fix this little issue.

Source: Sim Lian Group Limited

Source: Sim Lian Group Limited

Other than that, there’s nothing really bad about the unit. The cooking area is long, which is expected and the dining area is small but somehow the layout keeps everything from looking cramped or tacked on.

The colour scheme certainly helps as the bright hues and sunlight can make a smaller unit feel more spacious. The bathroom is simple as well, with clean lines and bright colours. The wet and dry areas are separated by a glass pane and door so there’s no worry of stray splashing.

Source: Sim Lian Group Limited

Source: Sim Lian Group Limited

The units with a furniture platform are quite popular among younger, single buyers. The bright colours in these units also help to liven up the space, making it look and feel homely and comfortable.

Source: Sim Lian Group Limited

Source: Sim Lian Group Limited

Furthermore, with the deck, it does free up a bit more room beneath to turn into a proper study without having the bed infringing on the floor space. These units come with a higher floor to ceiling of 3.60m so not only is there ample space to use horizontally, the extra ceiling height contributes to better airflow and spaciousness.

If the smaller units are anything to go by, the bigger units should be similarly well-designed albeit with more floor space. Hillion Residences is shaping up to be a good-looking, well-planned and encompassing project that wears its conveniences proud on its sleeve.

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Location

Propshort: Bukit Panjang may seem a little ‘out there’ but with Hillion Residences, a smorgasbord of convenience and inter-connectivity will be coming to the area soon. As an integrated bus/MRT interchange with retail and residential components, the mixed development is like rain on a hot day – it’ll bring much relief to everyone living in the vicinity. 

Bukit Panjang is gearing up to add one more point of interest for its residents. Integrated with the Bukit Panjang MRT Interchange which is also the last stop for the blue downtown line that connects via LRT to Choa Chu Kang MRT, the site of Jelubu Road is set to welcome Hillion Residences.

Hillion Residences along Jelebu Road

Hillion Residences along Jelebu Road

Mostly residential, Hillion Residences will have two basement carparks that will also come with numerous retail outlets. Similar to how Bedok Mall is an integrated hub of shopping, public transportation and residential, Hillion Residences brings that same amount of connectivity and convenience to an area that is gradually being gentrified.

Across the road from where Hillion Residences is being developed is CapitaLand’s Bukit Panjang Plaza (BPP) which for a heartland mall, is quite expansive with many eateries, restaurants and shops. The library is also located here. It is consistently packed which is expected since it was the only mall for people in the area. As a heartland mall, it’s also one of the much better designed and more modern-looking ones.

Bukit Panjang Plaza

Bukit Panjang Plaza

Though the initial reaction to adding another shopping element this close to an existing mall may be one of confusion, both Hillion Residences and BPP can co-exist happily. With more places to go, congestion is eased out and having more dining and shopping options minutes from one another is a good thing.

Getting around

The convenience of an MRT station close by is punctuated by the rising costs of the properties that are near it. Bukit Panjang MRT station is now linked with the LRT that connects to Choa Chu Kang. When the rest of the downtown line is completed, travelling from Bukit Panjang to Sungei Bedok is an extremely long but suitable and more affordable alternative to a cab.

The downtown line also connects to Newton, which is now an interchange on the north-south line, Little India, which is an interchange on the north-east line, Bugis, which is an interchange on the east-west line and Promenade which is an interchange on the circle line.

Highway and LRT to Junction 10

Highway and LRT to Junction 10

The LRT also brings commuters to places like Junction 10, which is visible from Bukit Panjang and overlooking Woodlands Road. The KJE is accessible from Woodlands Road which is connected to the Bukit Panjang Flyover that runs along where Hillion Residences is, just around the corner from Petir Road.

Upper Bukit Timah Road, in the opposite direction, goes south toward the PIE, thus facilitating a trip to the east, if you drive or take a cab.

Petir Road to Bukit Panjang Flyover

Petir Road to Bukit Panjang Flyover

The one thing Bukit Panjang and Hillion Residences seem to lack is a cinema. The closest one is at Choa Chu Kang but that is a six-stop ride on the LRT. Convenient enough when you need it but not so much if you’re a movie aficionado that makes it a point to watch a show at the cinema once a week.

Then again, it’s not a big deal given how many people prefer to stream shows on programs like Netflix but it is still a missed opportunity.

Hillion Residences

Hillion Residences

However, the important things are covered here. Nearby grocery stores, retail outlets, childcare centres, a library and more add so much to a growing Bukit Panjang.

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Analysis

Out of its 546 units, 301 have been sold. The sales have been consistent since 2013 though better in some years than others. With a large number of units available, from small 1BR to the larger 4BR, Hillion Residences does have a little something for everyone with the means to buy.

Prices do seem a little on the high side, considering the area is surrounded by HDB estates. However, the project is integrated with the MRT, LRT and Bus interchanges, not to mention owning two floors of more than 100 retail shops. Similar to The Tennery, prices at Hillion Residences rank a little higher due to both yearly inflation and its more central location.

Source: URA, PropertyGuru

Source: URA, PropertyGuru

The higher number of units belonging to the lower priced groups is not surprising, considering those unit types have the most number of units available. However, it has long been acknowledged that the comfortable buying power of most Singaporeans lie within the $1m to $1.5M range.

The graph above shows that this is somewhat untrue and when compared with the growing trends of buyers in other projects, that comfort zone seemed to have increased well beyond the $1.5M mark.

The median PSF values of the transacted unit types are as follows:

Source: URA, PropertyGuru

Source: URA, PropertyGuru

With the exception of the penthouse, of which only one out of the 18 units were sold, the other units have a considerable quantity purchased. Sales is healthy, even if it has slowed but this is the natural lifeline of any sales transaction where a good number are transacted and then sales peters off while construction continues.

Compared to The Tennery, Hillion Residences has more units in more sizes. While The Tennery does seem to have units that are bigger and priced slightly lower than Hillion Residences, it is important to note that these prices would be similar to Hillion now, minus the inflation.

Rental

For rental, we will take a look at the 710 sqft 2BR unit as it has the most number of units transacted. The median PSF for the past four quarters in District 23 is $2.43 which means monthly rent comes up to $2,070 after adding a 20% new build premium. With a, average transacted quantum of $960,000, the annual gross rental yield is at 2.6%.

The low rental yield should not be a concern since Hillion Residences is surrounded by HDB estates. In time, and with residents partaking in resale transactions, the rental yield will see some increase. The most important factor however is that the units can be comfortably rented out at a decent price.

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Summary

Hillion Residences is a gem, yet for a project that aims to bring more amenities and conveniences to a far-flung location, it can fail if its main component – the residential- failed to keep up with the standard.

That the developer, Sim Lian has shown good foresight when designing their living spaces, is a boon.

Source: Sim Lian Group Limited

Source: Sim Lian Group Limited

The project can co-exist well with the Bukit Panjang Plaza and the units therein have something for everyone. Singles, young couples and families have options here. With the integration of the MRT and LRT, travelling to Choa Chu Kang on the LRT line or toward central via the new downtown line is easy.

Getting from Bukit Panjang to places like Newton and Novena takes roughly 15 minutes, not including the transit time. Driving is also fairly easy, with the BKE accessible via Bukit Panjang Road or from Dairy Farm Road by Upper Bukit Timah southward.

In closing, Hillion Residences is a well-designed project that brings plenty of positives to Bukit Panjang. It’s a foregone conclusion that property prices, especially for neighbouring Maysprings, will see an increase so founding owners of Hillion Residences can look toward owning appreciating assets.

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Eric Wong

Christopher Chitty

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