Pasir Ris 8 is an upcoming 487-unit mixed-used development located right next to Pasir Ris MRT on the East-West Line (EWL) and above the Pasir Ris Bus Interchange. Read our review here.
MCL Land is a leading property group with a long track record of building quality homes over the last 40 years. A member of the Jardine Matheson Group under Hongkong Land Holdings, it holds an impressive portfolio of prime residential developments in Singapore and Malaysia.
Project Name: Sol Acres
Address: Choa Chu Kang Grove
Site area: Approx. 354,228 sqft
Tenure: 99 years commencing on 2nd June 2014
Configuration: 1,327 units
50 1-bedroom units (495 sqft)
101 1-bedroom + study units (570 – 646 sqft)
189 2-bedroom units (614 – 807 sqft)
137 2-bedroom + study units (850 – 936 sqft)
520 3-bedroom units (926 – 1,119 sqft)
148 3-bedroom premium units (1,098 sqft)
94 4-bedroom units (1,163 – 1,292 sqft)
67 4-bedroom premium units (1,216 – 1,238 sqft)
21 5-bedroom units (1,378 – 1,442 sqft)
Maintenance fees: Around $180 – $250
1,327 normal lots
9 handicapped lots
Expected TOP: March 2019
Expected legal completion: March 2022
Sol Acres is a 1,327-unit Executive Condominium (EC) located along Choa Chu Kang Grove. It is currently the largest EC in Singapore and also the first to offer 1-bedroom units. At time of writing (Sept 2015), around 280 out of the 707 units launched have been sold. The project was launched in August so sales have been good.
Unit sizes range from 1-bedroom units to 5-bedroom units. The lowest-priced unit on PropertyGuru is a 495 sqft 1-bedroom unit going for $350,000, which translates to around $707 psf. A 1,378 sqft 5-bedroom unit is going for $1,130,000 and this is an estimated $820 psf.
At time of writing, all unit types are still available.
Interested buyers should take note that the show flat is not on site, but further down along Bukit Batok Road, opposite Bukit Batok Driving Centre.
Sol Acres consists of 13 towers ranging from 19 – 25 storeys tall. They are organized in such a way that at least half of the units have a pool view, despite the scale of the project.
The development is carved into three zones, with each zone having similar facilities.
For the active:
- tennis court
- table tennis pavilion
- gym, aqua gym & outdoor fitness stations
- fitness corner and
- 50m lap pool
For the nature lovers:
- green fingers corner
- leisure trail
- lawn and
- foot reflexology path
For the kids:
- hexagon climber
- rollerblading trail
- sound tubes
- 4 playgrounds
- Water action zone
- children’s glee pool and
- pet’s corner
For family activities, there are 2 BBQ pavilions, media rooms, and children’s party room. After a long day at work, you can head to the spa pool, hydrotherapy pool or jacuzzi for some relaxation time. Alternatively, you can also wind down at the gourmet chef terrace.
Showflat units are available for 1- to 4-bedroom units. Photos in this review are from all units.
- homogenous and/or porcelain tiles for living, dining,
- homogenous and/or ceramic and/or porcelain tiles for kitchen, bathrooms, water closet, utility, yard, balcony or private enclosed space (PES)
- laminated timber flooring for bedrooms, study
- timber door for entrance
- hollow-core timber doors for bedrooms, study and bathrooms
- powder-coated aluminium-framed glass swing and/or sliding doors for balcony or PES
- glass swing or sliding door to kitchen
- basin and mixer with shelf/vanity top, wall cabinet with mirror, towel rail and/or robe hooks, shower mixer set, pedestal water closet and paper holder for all bathrooms
- pedestal water closet, basin with tap, shower set with tap for water closet
- built-in wardrobes for all bedrooms
- wall-mounted air-con from Mitsubishi for living, dining and all bedrooms
Cabinets with solid surface countertops and a sink come with the kitchen. Appliances provided include a built-in oven, cooker hob and hood, refrigerator from Fisher&Paykel and a washer cum dryer.
Kitchens in the 1- and 2-bedroom units are smaller and come with an electric cooker hob and hood instead. The kitchen is right in front of the entrance, and the living area just beyond it.
The kitchen is connected to the yard and water closet in the 3-, 4- and 5-bedroom units.
The living room extends to the balcony or the PES, depending on the unit type. The kitchen is the first thing you see when you enter with the dining area just behind it.
The arrangement is similar, but more compact in the smaller units. The dining area is to the side of the kitchen in this case.
The common bedrooms can fit a queen-sized bed with some room for movement. You can make the area more spacious if you decide to go with a single bed instead.
The master bedroom in the units can accommodate a king-sized bed with some room for movement.
Bathrooms have a wet and dry area as per normal and fittings are from Grohe.
Master bathrooms are slightly wider and larger.
The project was launched in August 2015 and around 40% of the launched units have been sold. Buyers are likely to be owner-occupiers due to Sol Acres’ location and the fact that it is an EC.
Etymology: Choa Chu Kang is a major suburban residential town in the north-western region of Singapore. Originally a kampong village, the area has been transformed into a modern township by the Housing and Development Board (HDB).
Its name’s origins can be traced to the former Chua Chu Kang Village located near the junction of Choa Chu Kang Road and Jalan Sungei Poyan, currently occupied by the National Shooting Centre. Chua Chu Kang is derived from the Teochew word ‘kang chu’, which refers to 19th century pepper plantation owners who used the river banks of Chua Chu Kang as their planting grounds.
Few villages including Kampong Belimbing and Chua Chua Kang Village sprang up in the small rural Chinese district and the people established pineapple, rubber and coconut plantations as well as vegetable and poultry farms.
The kampongs were gradually demolished in phases to make way for Choa Chu Kang New Town from 1985.
Today, Choa Chu Kang new town comprises seven neighbourhoods with Choa Chu Kang, Yew Tee and Teck Whye being the three largest ones.
Getting there: Sol Acres is located at the junction of Choa Chu Kang Grove and Choa Chu Kang Way, which joins up with the arterial Choa Chu Kang Road 100 metres down. For early-morning commuters, Raffles Place will be a 40-minute MRT ride away and City Hall, a 43-minute ride.
The Kranji Expressway (KJE) on the left connects to the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) and takes you to the Yishun, Sengkang and later Tampines areas via Seletar Expressway (SLE). The CBD and town areas are a 25-minute drive away via the BKE towards the Pan Island Expressway (PIE).
Teck Whye LRT is a 3-minute walk away. From there, it is three stops down to Choa Chu Kang MRT and Lot One mall. From Choa Chu Kang MRT, it is three stops down to Jurong East, where you have JEM, Westgate, JCube and the future Jurong Lake District. Phase 2 of the future Downtown MRT line set to open in December 2015 will connect Bukit Panjang LRT to Newton and Little India.
The estate: Currently Sol Acres is surrounded by residential area with ITE College West to its side. According to the 2014 Master Plan by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) however, there will be a health and medical centre further down along Choa Chu Kang Grove.
This means that construction for the proposed healthcare centre could be ongoing even when residents move in to their units. There is quite a distance between the two plots of land but if you still wish to get away for a while, you can visit Choa Chu Kang Park or Bukit Batok Town Park for some peace and quiet. Both are a 5-minute drive away.
There is a bus stop right in front of Sol Acres with services 67, 188 and 556. 67 connects Tampines and Choa Chu Kang while 188 runs from Harbourfront to Choa Chu Kang. 556 is a one-way service that goes to Raffles Place.
As for school options, there are quite a number.
- South View Primary School
- Choa Chu Kang Primary School
- Teck Whye Primary School
- PCF Choa Chu Kang
- Methodist Church of the Incarnation Kindergarten
- Christian Gospel Mission Kindergarten
- Al-Khair Mosque Kindergarten
- Ichiban Nurtureland Kindergarten
Within 2 km:
- Bukit Panjang Government High School
- Choa Chu Kang Secondary School
- Teck Whye Secondary School
- Fajar Secondary School
- Swiss Cottage Secondary School
- Saint Anthony’s Primary School
- West View Primary School
- Pioneer Junior College
Within 5 km:
- Millennia Institute
- Jurong Junior College
- Singapore American School
- Canadian International School
Lot One Shoppers’ Mall is a 3-minute drive away and is the biggest mall in the neighbourhood. Its eight anchor tenants include Shaw Cinemas, so you won’t have to travel far to catch a movie.
Junction 10 is also a 3-minute drive away, so you will have some more dining options there. It houses an education cluster so parents can enroll their kids in any of the enrichment centres. Giant Hypermarket is spread across two levels in the mall so your daily grocery needs will be easily taken care of.
Bukit Panjang Plaza is just next to Junction 10 and houses Bukit Panjang Community Library in addition to dining, fashion and lifestyle outlets.
The upcoming Hillion Mall in Bukit Panjang will be ready in 2016 and will be yet another retail and dining option for residents.
A 5-minute drive away, Bukit Gombak Sports & Recreation Centre would be a good place for some family fun. It is connected to Bukit Gombak Stadium, which used to be the home stadium of Gombak United FC in the S-League. It has since been converted to a Centre of Excellence for the Singapore Athletic Association and is a great place for jogging or running.
Warren Golf and Country Club is a 5-minute drive away for avid golfers. If that’s too far, Bukit Batok Golf Range is a 3-minute drive away.
The upcoming Keat Hong Community Club opposite Lot One will feature a bowling alley, child development units and medical facilities.
As for the healthcare needs of residents, Choa Chu Kang Polyclinic is 800 metres away. Ng Teng Fong General Hospital is less than a 10-minute drive away and the proposed healthcare and medical centre will be right behind Sol Acres.
Caveated transactions for Sol Acres at time of writing (Sept 2015) stands at 272. Recorded transaction prices range from $367K to $1.142M, with an estimated 90 percent of the transactions coming in at $1M or below (see Chart 1).
Sol Acres’ closest competitor would be Hillsta, located 200 metres away along Choa Chu Kang Road. Launched in April 2012, its current median price is $1,103 psf to Sol Acres’ $786 psf. However, its current median price for transactions in the past four quarters is $1,181 psf. Hillsta is a private condominium, hence its relatively higher price.
Occupants of Hillsta are likely to be a mix of home buyers who like the surrounding areas and investors looking to lease their units. Keeping in mind that the future Jurong Lake District (also known as the CBD of the West) is three MRT stations down, value for property in the surrounding precincts will definitely see a spike.
Units at Hillsta range from 1-3 bedroom units and 4-bedroom terrace units while Sol Acres consists of 1-5 bedroom units. Sol Acres’ launch came on the heels of the recent announcement to raise the income ceiling for ECs and the general consensus is that there will be increased sales.
To have a clearer picture, we will be looking at 3-bedroom units in particular, across both developments. According to caveats, Sol Acres’ 3-bedroom units have a median price of $786 psf while Hillsta’s is $979 psf. Transactions for the units at Sol Acres range from $670K to $883K, and from $1.04M to $1.33M at Hillsta.
Before deciding based on these numbers alone, we should look at unit sizing as well. By comparison, 3-bedroom units at Hillsta have larger proportions and are between 1,124 sqft and 1,334 sqft. At Sol Acres, they range from 926 sqft to 1,119 sqft.
While Sol Acres is clearly the more affordable option, we should keep in mind the very different launch dates for the two projects. Hillsta was launched soon after the government implemented the first round of Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) in late 2011. Sol Acres offers more cost savings, but it comes with a few restrictions as well, being an EC.
However, in terms of sale prices alone, Sol Acres comes out on top.
Future Rental Potential
This is a little different for Sol Acres since it is an EC, with a Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) of five years. Rental of the entire unit is therefore prohibited during this time. However, EC units have been known to see substantial appreciations in price after the MOP.
To have a general idea of what rental prices will be like Sol Acres, we need to look at rental prices for projects in the vicinity. The current median rental price for District 23 (Hillview/Dairy Farm/Bukit Panjang/Choa Chu Kang) is around $2.52 psf per month at time of writing, based on rental transactions for the past 4 quarters. At these rates, a 3-bedroom unit around 1,050 sqft at Sol Acres would go for around $2,800 to $3,000 a month. With the median price for the unit being around $766K, the annual gross rental yield at the current rate would be an estimated 4.5%. Assuming that rental prices increase in future with the upcoming transformation of Jurong East, the same 3-bedroom unit could possibly fetch up to $3,300. Gross rental yield then moves up to 5.2%.
The median unit size of a 3-bedroom at Hillsta, on the other hand, would probably fetch around $3,300 a month at today’s rental rates. This translates to around 3.3% in annual gross rental yield. Rental could go up to $3,600 a month with future developments in the surrounding areas. Annual gross rental yield would then be in the 3.6% range.
Rental yield for Sol Acres is higher than Hillsta, but this is to be expected given the lower quantum prices. Despite higher yields, buyers will have to wait five years after key collection to be able to legally lease out their units. There is therefore a five-year period of opportunity cost, while units at Hillsta can be rented out immediately. Both projects are within 200m of each other, so there is no real difference in terms of nearby amenities. Unit sizing differs slightly with Hillsta having more generous proportions. Overall however, rental yields for both developments seem to be in the safe zone.
Sol Acres is a good option for young couples as well as bigger families who want to have a home in the suburbs, away from busy activity. With 1,327 units across the spectrum of sizes, it is the biggest EC launch to date.
Residents will enjoy the easy access to major expressways and proximity to nearby malls. The upcoming Jurong Lake District will be less than a 10-minute drive away and this will definitely translate to more job opportunities in the area. For families with children, the range of schools nearby are another plus.
A potential drawback could be the fact that there are no MRT stations nearby. Keat Hong LRT and Teck Whye LRT however, are on both sides of Sol Acres respectively. Residents can choose to take the North-South line from Choa Chu Kang MRT station or the upcoming Downtown line from Bukit Panjang MRT station.
Investment potential is high if you are willing to wait out the MOP. The surrounding areas will see many changes in the coming years with the government’s plan to transform the West and this could mean significant capital appreciation. However, there are other regulations as well, such as eligible buyers being Singaporeans or PRs only. For complete privatization of the project, you will need to wait for a decade. The highest recorded profit made from the resale of an EC is close to $1M, so being patient may prove worthy.
Overall, units at Sol Acres are attractively priced and residents will be getting value for their money with the project’s proximity to several malls nearby as well as the future CBD of the West at Jurong.