SeaHill Review



  • Christopher Chitty
  • 16 February 2016

Far East Organization is the largest property developer in Singapore and have developed over 500 properties in Singapore, especially in the Orchard Road area. It is the only developer in the world to have won eight FIABCI Prix d’Excellence Awards, which is considered the highest honour in international real estate.

Project Name: SeaHill

Address: 119 West Coast Crescent 126777

Type: Residential

Site area: Approx. 136,301 sqft

Tenure: 99-years leasehold

District: 5

Configuration: 338 residential (SOHO, Condo, Townhouse) and 1 commercial

Parking lots: Condo & SOHO, 320 lots

Townhouses: 2 lots per unit

Expected TOP: 2nd quarter 2016

Project Details

The showflat for SeaHill have been removed, as all condominium units save one (at time of writing) have been sold. Only the townhouses remain, so Far East Organization outfitted one of their townhouse units with fittings and furnishing to be used as a gallery.

This unit is still on sale, though with the interior designing done (including beds, bedsheets, television etc.), it will cost more than the other townhouses that come bare.

It must be said that while all three types – condominiums, townhouse and serviced apartments –share the same plot of land, each residential type is planned separately and possess separate parking lots, landscaping and communal features. As such, SeaHill is like three projects existing under one banner managed by Far East.

For the purpose of this review, only the townhouse unit will be shown, since all the condo units have been sold out. While Far East has yet to release the service apartments for rent, their overall design is similar to a condo’s.

The service apartments will also be located within their own tower. As an added incentive for residents of SeaHill, they have the option of booking a service apartment for their out-of-town relatives to stay for a short period of time.

(Actual townhouse unit is shown)

The townhouse is a triplex unit in a condo like setting. All the units face the 50m lap pool which runs like a stream between the townhouses. The living area looks onto the pool, and for better or worse, into the opposite neighbour’s living room as well.

Seahill townhouse living area

SeaHill townhouse living area

The ability to go from your living room straight into the pool is evocative of a villa, but if you’re wary of your privacy being intruded upon, some curtains will go a long way.

The living area is quite huge. Compared with other developments, it resembles the size of that in a 3-bedroom unit. The open kitchen has a sliding door that when closed, separates the cooking area from the preparation area.

All appliances, which are Gaggenau branded, are included. There’s even a wine cellar that comes with the unit. This is certainly one of the most equipped kitchen seen thus far with the appliances all neatly arranged in easy to reach spots.

 Townhouse kitchen

Townhouse kitchen

In front of the kitchen is the guest room and common bathroom. If you have an older relative to whom walking up and down stairs is difficult, then this guest room will resolve that matter quickly. It is smaller than the common bedrooms but the space is adequate for a single bed.

The developer has included a built-in wardrobe, unobtrusively situated against the far wall, leaving much space for walking. The best thing about the guest room is that it’s on the ground floor, next to the main door, which makes ingress and egress convenient for those whom walking long distances can be difficult.

On the basement level there are two things: the entrance to the personal 2-lot carpark and the bomb shelter/maid’s area.

Basement with access to bomb shelter and car park

Basement with access to bomb shelter and car park

There is a small washing area with toilet and shower next to a small corner where the washing machine and dryer are stacked one on top of the other. Next to that is the heavy door to the bomb shelter.

It is an odd place to turn into a maid’s room but the bomb shelter does have more usable space than a typical yard in many mass-market condominiums. There’s room for a single bed, a small wardrobe and even a writing/laptop desk. Furthermore, there’s a ventilation shaft to prevent it from getting too stuffy.

While the heavy doors do provide privacy, it might make things difficult when the person behind the door can’t hear what’s going on in the rest of the house. Removing the door however, is illegal so owners might want to consider building in an intercom system of sorts.

Bomb shelter and washing area

Bomb shelter and washing area

Moving onto the third level, there are three bedrooms, including the master bedroom, and a communal bathroom.

The two common rooms are bigger than the guest room and capable of accommodating a queen size bed, though space will be a little restricted. However, even with a queen size bed in the rooms, there’s room to walk. It is a good, reasonable size.

Thus, the townhouses as SeaHill can accommodate six people not including the maid and whoever might occupy the guest room.

Common bedroom

Common bedroom

This particular townhouse looks out toward Vision, another development with townhouses as well.

However, due to the smaller land size, the townhouses at Vision are narrower than SeaHill with the common bedrooms large enough for a super single at best. As such, if space is a major requirement, then SeaHill is the better option.

The master bedroom on the other hand is big and made even bigger when you shut the room door to reveal an en suite bathroom with wet and dry areas partitioned off.

Master bathroom with bathtub

Master bathroom with bathtub

There’s a bathtub there, next to the regular shower area. A rain shower is provided in the townhouses as well as all the other units throughout the development.

The bedroom has a full length wardrobe that spans the entire opposing wall. This is quite rare for many developments and is a much appreciated addition.

Clothing space is very difficult to plan for, on the developer’s side and built-in wardrobes can only be so big before they eat into the room. In this master bedroom, the space is more than twice than what is conventionally offered, reducing the need to add your own.

On the other side of the bed are the sliding doors that allow the resident to open and look down into the pool. A security railing is built in the room instead of outside to prevent potential accidents.

An extremely spacious and well-designed master bedroom

An extremely spacious and well-designed master bedroom

While it does affect the look and aesthetics of the room, it is a URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) requirement that it be built inside the room rather than outside.

However, the steel railing does blend with the sliding windows so it’s not bad, especially once some long curtains are hung and used to conceal the opposite ends of the railing. All in all, it does little to diminish the look of the room since it does not stick out like a sore thumb.

Lastly, there is a roof terrace and the space is quite generous. In the enclosed area are some cushions and a television. Once again, the other units do come bare, but this gives you a good idea of what can be done. A small toilet is hidden behind a door and flush with the wall once you clear the top of the stairs.

Terrace on the uppermost floor

Terrace on the uppermost floor

Beyond that and outside, are spaces you can include a large table for family BBQs. A Jacuzzi is provided for all townhouses and that sits in its own corner at the back.

The ‘roof’ beneath the table does not keep the rain out. However owners can retrofit it with a screen or umbrella according to their preferences.

On the other end, facing the pool, is a large outdoor space that can accommodate more than 10 people in one sitting.

It’s great for large parties or even yoga sessions on the deck.

Terrace facing the pool and neighbours

Terrace facing the pool and neighbours

The proximity to the neighbours however, may be an issue because just as they can hear you, you’ll be able to hear them too. The distance is so close that you can casually toss something over to your neighbours and have it land on their deck.

Aside from a few design oddities that are a result of the buildable space, the townhouse unit is impressive. From branded kitchen appliances to high quality marble and timber flooring, it certainly brings the quality.

Admittedly, the quantum is a lot higher than what most Singaporeans are comfortable with but if you have the cash and like a suburban/villa hybrid lifestyle, then this townhouse delivers in spades.

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Location

Etymology: In the 1970s, the West Coast, like its eastern counterpart, came from reclaimed land. Back then, the west was created as a hub for industries while the east was largely recreational.

Much has changed since then. The West Coast is now prime land for real estate development. With new plans for land development in the government’s pipeline that will radically change the West Coast, there are potential upsides to entering the market.

Journey to the west…

Though often cited as being close to Clementi and Haw Par Villa MRT station, these stations aren’t within walking distance to SeaHill.

In August 2015, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew discussed the possibility of extending the Jurong Region MRT line through a West Coast Extension in the West Coast and Haw Par Villa area. If or when this plan comes to fruition, accessibility will be further eased, as will traffic congestion.

Until then however, the quickest and most convenient way to reach SeaHill will be by taxi.

Seahill side gate bus stop

SeaHill side gate bus stop

There is a bus stop near the side gate of SeaHill and along West Coast Highway (and across the road) with only two buses – 175 & 176 – that service that route.

Alternatively, there is a bus stop opposite Clementi Park, just after West Coast Plaza with buses 30, 51, 143 and 189. From there, it’s about a five minute walk past Westbay Condominium toward SeaHill. Across the West Coast Link road from SeaHill is the Bijou showflat; another development by Far East Organization.

People who drive may be able to park there as it’s the easiest meeting point between potential buyers and the Far East sales representative.

When SeaHill is completed, a shuttle bus service will be provided by Far East Organization for the first year, after which it will likely be managed by the SeaHill committee. The shuttle bus will have set departure and pickup timings to and fro Clementi and Haw Par Villa MRT station.

This greatly alleviates the burden of travelling, especially for residents that would be renting the serviced apartments. Though there are straight buses to NUS and other areas, getting to the MRT stations can take a bit longer as they not within walking distances.

The most convenient station by far is Haw Par Villa, which, along Pasir Panjang Road, is a straight drive to and fro West Coast Highway.

Clementi MRT station is much further but with many tertiary education institutes around like Singapore Polytechnic and Yale-NUS one stop down at Dover, having the shuttle bus go to Clementi MRT station is good.

Clementi MRT station is also a stop away from the Jurong East Interchange, making travel to the North-South more manageable.

West Coast Plaza ground floor

West Coast Plaza ground floor

As for amenities, SeaHill residents are in a good location. West Coast Plaza may not have a cinema but it has a good variety of shops.

There are novelty cafes like Jalan Kayu Prata Café and Sunny Korean Cuisine, clinics, hair salons, book stores like POPULAR, a NIKE factory store and most importantly, Cold Storage supermarket.

Across the road is the West Coast Community Centre. Next to that is Kent Ridge Secondary School. Behind the Community Centre is Sheng Siong Supermarket.

Kent Ridge Secondary School

Kent Ridge Secondary School

Suffice to say, SeaHill residents have a plenty of options, be it shopping or recreation, within walking distance to the development. The walk to West Coast Plaza takes about 10 minutes and though it’s not sheltered, it’s not far either. There is a bus stop along West Coast Link (after Bijou showflat) that has one bus – 175 – that goes toward Kent Ridge School.

That bus brings you to the bus stop in front of Kent Ridge Secondary. One stop after that is the Clementi West Street Wet Market and Food Centre.

Right across the West Coast highway from SeaHill is West Coast Park and MacDonald’s is the first landmark you’ll see on your way through to the park.

Macdonalds at West Coast Park opposite Seahill

Macdonalds at West Coast Park opposite SeaHill

In addition to Kent Ridge Secondary School, there are other schools in the vicinity, albeit a little out of walking distance. Fortunately, most of them are a short bus ride away with the rest requiring MRT/bus combos to reach. Some of these schools are;

  • Clementi Primary (near Clementi MRT Station)
  • Pei Tong Primary (Near Clementi MRT Station, next to Clementi Police HQ)
  • Clementi Woods Secondary (West Coast Road, after Clementi West Street Wet Market)
  • Tanglin Secondary (At the end of West Coast Highway, toward Jalan Buroh)
  • Japanese Secondary School (West Coast Road, after Tanglin Secondary)
  • United World College South East Asia (Dover Road)
  • NUS (Clementi Road)
  • Ngee Ann Polytechnic (between Clementi Road and PIE)

One important thing about SeaHill and the vicinity is the proposed large scale plan for the Southern Waterfront City in 2027. This government initiative is expected to bring a flood of commercial, retail and residential developments into the 1000ha plot of land.

As a result, SeaHill’s unique make-up of condominiums, townhouses and especially serviced apartments was deliberately done to capitalise on this future growth.

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Analysis

West Coast is expected to become as popular as East Coast, given the influx of new developments occurring, chief of which is the massive mixed development that is Far East’s SeaHill.

As all condominium units have been sold, and the only options available are the townhouses, unless you’d prefer to rent serviced apartments. Rental will be handled by Far East’s rental arm and will only be available closer to TOP.

The four townhouses that have been sold range from $4.6m to $4.8m.

Approx transaction data SeaHill

It is likely those townhouses were part of some early bird discount seeing as how they’re almost on par with up-market penthouses.

With all condo units sold out, Far East does not need to rush to sell its remaining 14 townhouses. From the four already sold, there is interest, though the higher quantum instils a certain reticence from potential buyers.

With that said, West Coast is up and coming. Though it has some time to go before the development of the Southern Waterfront City brings much needed blood to the area, the foundations have already been set.

Rental

Investors would take to West Coast and SeaHill as something that will explode in worth rather than appreciate slowly. But owners of townhouses are unlikely to sell. They represent the best of living in landed property with the security and safety of being within condominium grounds and the facilities it provides.

Thus, the potential for rental lies heavily in condominiums, though townhouse owners may choose to rent out individual rooms.

For condos however, taking the 687 sqft 1-bedroom condo unit, with a median transacted price of all units so far averaging to $963,610 as a gauge, monthly rent comes up to roughly $3,200 with a rental yield of 4% per annum.

This will only increase with the Southern Waterfront City and other upcoming developments. Already the potential is on par with other matured districts but unlike them, West Coast Crescent is new fertile ground that can grow higher.

Additionally, in 2012, the Government implemented a drastic change to developments similar to SeaHill that comprise strata-landed homes and apartments within a single development. Foreigners that want to purchase landed property – townhouses – in these developments have to get LDAU (Land Dealings Approval Unit) approval first. This rule does not apply to locals.

SeaHill however, having had the land and given provisional permission prior to the implementation of this rule is exempt, thus allowing foreigners to purchase townhouse units without LDAU approval.

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Summary

SeaHill represents a kind of lifestyle that is more reminiscent of the West than what is common in the East.

But since it has three distinct property types, there’s a little bit of something for everyone. And SeaHill does have certain identifiable aspects that gives each type its own identity.

For example, SOHO (studio apartments with raised furniture platform) and condo units get a view of the sea and parks. The townhouses are closer to the main entrance, and provide private parking and quick access to the pools for residents.

The serviced apartments have their own concierge and housekeeping services; a first of its kind in the western part of Singapore. Serviced apartments are also primed to provide lodging for a future influx of professionals that will be entering the west coast by way of NUS-Yale and the Mapletree Business Park 2.

Close to completion

Close to completion

The new business park brings with it anchor tenants like Google and Microsoft, thus adding a new and large tenant base, both local and foreign that may need to rent nearby. Furthermore, with all the existing schools in the area, SeaHill is really one of the better connected developments currently in the West Coast.

And not forgetting the upcoming Southern Waterfront City, slated to occur sometime after 2027, but already expected to make a radical change to the existing area. By then, prices are likely to increase so existing owners of SeaHill apartments/townhouses can take advantage of that future potential by allowing their property to appreciate in the interim years.

The West Coast by virtue of the government’s gentrification plans will only increase its value so Far East’s development, being bigger and providing more variety in property types than its immediate competitors is a smart buy.

Interested in finding out more about SeaHill? Contact Far East Organization at 65348000

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Eric Wong

Christopher Chitty

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