Rivercove is a 624-unit executive condominium located at Anchorvale Lane and overlooking the Sungei Punggol. It has 3, 4 & 5-room units.
Project Name: Northwave
Address: Woodlands View
Type: Executive Condominium
Site area: 13,33,47 sqft
Tenure: 99-year leasehold
Configuration: 358 units in 6 blocks of 16 storeys
Unit types: 47, 2BR units (678 – 752 sqft)
121, 3BR units (893 – 1,001 sqft)
138, 3BR Premium units (1,097 – 1,130 sqft)
31, 4BR units (1,270 sqft)
15, 5BR units (1,496 sqft)
6, Penthouse units (1,593 – 1,722 sqft)
Parking lots: 358 carpark lots incl. 4 handicapped lots and 60 bicycle lots
Expected TOP: 2019
Executive condominiums in Singapore are a strange breed of property. They begin their first ten years as public housing and therefore purchasable only by locals and PRs. During the first ten years, all resale transactions can only be made to locals and PRs but on the 11th year, it leaves public property space and is converted automatically into private property and therefore opened for purchase by anyone, local or otherwise.
Also due to their lower barrier to entry, ECs are inherently a much better investment opportunity than most condominiums. It certainly doesn’t hurt that for some unfathomable reason, ECs tend to look and feel bigger than condo units while at the same time offering all the expected facilities and in some cases, much more, than condominiums.
Northwave does absolutely nothing to change this fact.
To its credit, it goes one step further by making the idea of living in Woodlands View far more palatable for someone that’s not familiar or interested in living so far from the central or eastern areas.
At the Northwave showflat launch on the 22nd (E-app for public starts on the 25th of June 2016), there are two showunits available for viewing; a 3BR and 4BR.
3BR (Type C2M) 990 sqft
Even at a mere 990 sqft, the 3BR unit on display is far superior to several larger condo counterparts. No unnecessarily long corridors, massive balconies and tiny bedrooms here. The best way to describe the unit here is that everything – every room, balcony, and kitchen – is proportionate to the overall space.
The living room is spacious and with a clear demarcation for where the dining table can sit. The layout puts the kitchen behind the structural wall and as the kitchen is enclosed, it makes for a much better visual upon entering the unit.
The kitchen is by no means small. Two people could be in there with little problem. The width between the counters on either side also makes it easy for you to reach out for things on either side while cooking.
The washing machine sits in the corner and while it is nice that it’s not in the way of the cooking section nor taking up valuable cabinet space, the washing area might be a bit too small for a family of four.
Fortunately, this is the only area of the house that can be considered as ‘too small’. For a washing area, adding a dryer would eliminate the need to hang clothes, but with the window there, you can still hang clothes out to dry. Its smaller size therefore, is mitigated by the options you have. If a bedroom is small, then there’s little that can be done save breaking down the wall to another bedroom. A small yard has less of an impact.
With that said however, the common bedrooms here are spacious. The large floor to ceiling casement windows help in making the space feel bigger by admitting large quantities of natural light.
The bedrooms are all fitted with laminated timber flooring and built in wardrobes that come with sliding doors. A super single as always gives you more room to add additional furniture but a queen side bed fits.
While doing so means there’s no more room for a table or a shelf (unless its wall mounted somewhere), there’s quite a good amount of space between the foot of the bed and the wall. But this of course, is not ideal.
A common bedroom requires more than just walkable room between the wall and the bed. It needs to function as more than just a place of respite and this is certainly possible with the common bedrooms.
As good as the common bedrooms are, the master bedroom is that much bigger, even with its own, large bathroom.
As all bathrooms, common or master, are wheelchair accessible, it’s easy enough to imagine just how much more space there is compared to most condominiums now.
4BR (Type D1) 1,270 sqft
One of the more interesting features of Northwave has nothing to do with its condo-like facilities or even the air-conditioned badminton court that can be used for weddings, birthdays and other events as well.
This feature is available for the bigger units and it makes a large living room even bigger. The verandah or balcony that runs around the living room also connects to where the entrance is. By sliding open the balcony doors fully, you can step onto the verandah immediately from the main entrance.
The balcony is 140 sqft, thus granting you additional space when you have many guests over or just want to ventilate your living room. The entire living room is decked out in porcelain tiles which leads to an enclosed kitchen. This kitchen is connected with the yard area but this is located in the back and out of the way of where you’d be cooking. The layout of the kitchen is extremely neat and accessible.
Aesthetically and functionally, the kitchen ticks all the right boxes. It’s simple but attractive and spacious enough so you don’t accidentally obstruct yourself while cooking. Basically, it’s what a kitchen needs to be.
Bedrooms are more of the same, which for Northwave, is both consistent and good. A common bedroom can take a queen size bed quite ably but as mentioned for the 3BR, while it does give you quite a bit of walking room, it doesn’t leave much else for additional furniture. A smaller bed or even a bunk bed will be the best use for the amount of space the common bedroom has.
The master bedroom is obviously a lot bigger but it is surprising how much bigger it feels when compared to several condominium units that have the same en-suite bathrooms. The bedroom with a queen bed still has ample room for a dressing table. Rearranging the bed would free up more space for additional furniture.
The bathroom is big so that it remains wheelchair accessible. The wet and dry areas are separated by a swinging glass door. That wet area is also quite big so you don’t feel like you’re bathing in a cramped cell.
The 4BR unit is impressive and is expected to be quite popular as long as it is priced right. It will be an excellent choice for larger families upgrading from the HDB estates in the area.
It is hard to convince people who have never lived in locations like Woodlands or Sembawang to uproot from their comfort zones and relocate. For the multitude of reasons flying in the face of how small Singapore is compared to other countries, distance plays a huge part.
And while Woodlands and Sembawang have more available land for big developments to be built on which implies a bigger opportunity for growth they are, when compared to matured districts, currently less vibrant.
But its strength is a quiet one and the latest executive condominium, Northwave, is the first arrow pulled from the quiver of modernisation. The first few shots have been fired and Woodlands is well on its way to evolving from sleepy little town into a bustling metropolis.
But with such modern trappings come the inevitable influx of people. This results in better-connected transport infrastructure, pedestrian paths, shopping malls, retail shops, grocery stores and much more. Property prices too will increase. The closer you live to an MRT station or shopping mall, the higher the cost. The advent of such amenities invites a population boom in the district and prices will adjust according to the demand. But modern conveniences bring an inevitable wild card to the table; congestion.
It is with this understanding that the seemingly isolated Northwave EC benefits from being relatively close to these busy hubs (concentrated around the MRT stations) without suffering the full force of noise and congestion that are bedfellows of modernisation.
The EC is currently being built on the massive plot of land along Woodlands View, overlooking both Gambas Ave and Woodlands Ave 12.
Around it are a series of HDB blocks. Behind Northwave runs Gambas Avenue and behind that are Seagate Technologies International and 3M Innovation Centre. Diagonally across is ARK Gambas and beyond that are more factories and business centres. In between those factories are schools, HDB flats and community areas.
Despite the piling works and the purr of traffic on the nearby highway, Woodlands View owns an atmosphere that is far less frantic than its matured counterparts. Situated equidistant from Admiralty and Sembawang MRT stations, Northwave residents are close enough to the hubs but far from the noise that accompanies being in the centre of such activity.
It must be said though that the walk from Northwave to Admiralty MRT station will take 15 minutes or more.
Admiralty MRT station is along Woodlands Avenue 7 and from Northwave that is a walk out from Woodlands View, a right turn along Woodlands Drive 75 and a straight walk along the pedestrian path out. Once you’re at Woodlands Ave 7, Admiralty MRT station is on the left. The path is mostly sheltered by the train tracks that run overhead and the park connectors is a straight walk path with a few traffic intersections along the way.
If you brisk walk, then the time is shaved off but it’s still not so close that you get there in record time when rushing. Fortunately, there’s a bus stop on the right going toward Admiralty MRT station so hopping on a bus would cut travel time to about five minutes.
It is entirely possible for there to be additional bus stops closer to Northwave once the EC has been completed. Already, there are plans to connect Woodlands View with Gambas Avenue which in turn is being morphed into the North-South Corridor or NSC, Singapore’s next expressway. And this expressway which runs behind Northwave is bordered by a pedestrian/cyclist pathway.
This pathway circles around the back of Northwave, passing by Seagate Technologies on the right and looping back around to the abovementioned bus stop. From a side entrance, taking that route may in fact be a quicker option rather than walking out along Woodlands View then Drive 75 to get to Ave 7. Furthermore, a back gate in Northwave would help with cutting walking time.
Woodlands Avenue 7 is connected to the SLE and once the NSC is up and running, that’s two expressways close to Northwave.
Following this, Gambas Avenue will also be easier to get onto, and from there, Sun Plaza at Sembawang MRT station is about a 10 – 15-minute drive away. Sembawang Shopping Centre along Sembawang Road is also about a 10-minute drive from Gambas Avenue. Even Yishun is relatively close by, if you drive that is.
On the opposite side, toward Admiralty MRT station there are several schools. Many of these schools are located within and around HDB estates so there are buses that service the route from Woodlands Ave 7 to each them or at least, within walking distance of them.
The closest thing to a shopping mall currently is at Admiralty MRT station. Already there are plans for a building cluster consisting of a hawker centre, swimming complex, childcare and eldercare centres as well as other community facilities next to Admiralty MRT station.
It is expected by 2018 for the hawker centre and swimming complex to be ready, with the other facilities following soon after. In the meantime, the shops and eateries behind the station are more than sufficient.
There’s a wet market, a KFC, MacDonald’s, Guardian Pharmacy, 7-11, several clinics, a Giant Express (on the ground floor of the station), pastry shops and many other smaller shops that sell affordable everyday items like sandals and clothing.
The second floor is the Foodfare food court. It is air-conditioned and home to numerous food stalls. As it stands, all the shops fulfil the most basic requirements without a shopping mall and therefore lacking in many of the more ‘fluff’ things. This whole area called ‘Admiralty Place’ is usually occupied with residents from the vicinity, either shopping or having a meal so it’s fairly busy.
Therefore, unlike the HDB flats that front the train stations, Northwave residents whom have to walk out to take a bus down to do grocery shopping, won’t need to endure noise from the crowd or the train station.
At the time of writing (prior to launch of e-app),there hasn’t been any indicative prices though there is speculation that an average price of S$760 psf can be expected. Since Northwave is targeting people already living in the area as well as residents currently working in the nearby numerous factories, prices are expected to not go above S$800 psf.
Northwave is also close to the highways and has big units with full condo-facilities. With that said, some condos do not even have a tennis court, let alone an air-conditioned badminton court. Of course, these should not factor into the price much but it does help prop Northwave up a little more attractively.
Ideally however, Northwave should not be priced similarly or higher than Bellewoods, simply because that EC is closer to the Woodlands hub.
Executive condominiums represent a more balanced form of investment also, since the barrier to entry is far lower than condominiums which results in a small loan taken and therefore, a lower interest to be repaid over time. For all its attributes, Northwave is a good, strong buy with plenty of future potential.
Northwave reaps the benefits of being close to the MRT station and retail hubs without being bogged down by the noise and congestion that typically comes with being in proximity of such things. Admiralty MRT station is within walking distance even if it’s not recommended to attempt to walk when you’re in a rush.
Northwave represents a good starting point for homebuyers wanting to get in on the EC game for an upcoming district like Woodlands/Admiralty.
It’s far enough to keep you inoculated from the busyness that comes from being in proximity to a hub but close enough that you can get there in five minutes via bus. Furthermore, it’s an excellent upgrade for people who work in the area.
The upcoming expressway and Northwave’s central location between Admiralty, Sembawang and Yishun means you have several options to choose from when it comes to shopping. If you drive, this is arguably more convenient but the added bus routes and upgraded infrastructure likely to come with the redevelopment will make travelling to and fro these places fairly simple.
Northwave in conclusion is an excellent buy for residents already living and/or working in the area. And for people wanting to move to this district, it’s a good first step.