Park Nova is a luxury development located in District 10. Aside from its freehold status, the development also offers super spacious units and easy access to MRT stations and nearby amenities.
Project Name: The Serenno
Address: 103 Haig Road, S438750
Site area: approx. 20,226 sqft
Configuration: 33 units in a single, 5-storey block
Unit types: 1BR (484 sqft)
2BR (775 sqft)
3BR DK (1,044sqft)
1BR penthouse (818 sqft)
3BR penthouse (1,270 sqft)
3BR DK penthouse (1,625 sqft)
TOP: Dec 2016
Propshort: Despite not being an altogether bad project, The Serenno does have some quirks that may contribute to it being less favoured by interested parties even if its location is good. Some curious architectural layouts with the high quantum may push people toward other projects in the district. Still, the units are pretty standard and decent with good living spaces. The prices however make The Serenno a project more suitable for long stay than investment.
It seems that The Serenno was developed and completed with little fanfare. The 33-unit development came quietly onto the scene and is now facing completion at the end of the year. The project already looks done, with no sight of any remaining construction from the exterior.
The Serenno’s darker façade is striking amongst the lighter hued HDB buildings. It is also one of the lower-rise buildings when compared to opposite neighbour, Dunman View and the HDB estates around. Haig Road itself is a narrow road though it’s not particularly congested.
The Serenno’s developers, Vicland, seemed to have opted for quiet inclusion rather than the typical marketing brouhaha. While the project seems good, this flying under the radar tactic isn’t doing it any justice.
2BR (775 sqft)
There are three unit types available – 1,2 & 3-bedrooms – with the 3BR having a DK option. The 2BR units have an interesting layout. Depending on the type, the household shelter either takes up space in the kitchen area or the master bedroom. The misstep of including a household shelter into the unit rather than outside as is common in most modern condominiums these days may be a tough design choice for interested parties to accept.
As important as household shelters are, they, in the decreasing size of houses in Singapore, have no business being included into the actual floorplan of a home. Household shelters, like planters and bay windows are massive space wasters.
Other than this however, the rest of the unit seems fine. They’re fairly standard save for Types A1 and A2 where it appears that the common bedroom has no separation from the living room. It could be that is a quirk of the drawing and that the actual units will indeed come with a wall and door of some kind.
The balcony is fortunately adequate, rather than large, although the two long A/C ledges do their part in eating up space. The main entrance has a foyer with a door separating it from the bedroom and the living room, which does raise some questions as to just how small the communal spaces are.
But for a 2BR unit, it’s sufficient. It won’t be winning any awards but it’s nowhere close to some of the year’s worse offenders.
Propshort: The Serenno is nowhere close to being out of the way, as shown by online maps. It is within walking distance to Tanjong Katong Girls, bus stops, even Joo Chiat and Tanjong Katong. It’s far enough from the hustle and bustle of Joo Chiat for residents to have some peace and quiet without much congestion, even on Dunman Road. It is three stops to and from Dakota MRT station and there’s a straight bus to town or Parkway Parade and Bedok Interchange.
Haig Road is a quiet neighbourhood that has always benefited from its outer rim status punctuated only by the few schools like Tanjong Katong Girls, Canadian International, Tanjong Katong Primary and to an extent, Broadrick Secondary when it was still situated along Guillemard Road. Even though Broadrick Secondary had moved further up to be closer to Dakota MRT station, there are several other schools within the 1 – 2KM radius.
According to onemap.sg, these schools are:
Haig Girls School
Tanjong Katong Primary School
Eunos Primary School
Geylang Methodist School (Close to Aljunied MRT station)
Kong Hwa School
Tao Nan Primary
There are other schools of course, but these may fall just outside the 2KM range which makes them slightly less desirable since the government impetus is to favour school enlistees that live within the aforementioned 1-2KM radius of the chosen school (s). But if the child is successfully enrolled in those schools, they will still be within convenient distance.
The Serenno may be located much closer to Dunman Road, but amenities in the immediate area are a little light, though Joo Chiat is absolutely within walking distance. The HDB estate next to the Geylang Serai Community Centre (which is next to The Serenno) is a thoroughfare to Crane Road, which leads to the rest of Joo Chiat and Tanjong Katong.
Upon entering through the open HDB carpark, walking straight to the end will lead you to a road of private houses. Less than a minute down is the beginning of Joo Chiat, as evidenced by the row of hawker centres, Chinese restaurants, bars, pubs, confectionary shops and much more.
Through walking down the street, residents of The Serenno can end up in 112 Katong and even Parkway Parade despite them being geographically further away. However, the easy to navigate paths and the endless supply of distractions along the way eases the slow walk. All in all, it should take no more than 15 minutes, provided the pedestrian paths aren’t packed as they often are during the evenings.
At 112 Katong, where the cinema is, crowds are a little more prominent, which makes The Serenno’s location more of a good thing.
When compared with projects like The Red House, no doubt their proximity to these places are a convenience, but residents will have to tolerate far more noise and congestion than at Haig Road.
The Serenno is better inoculated against these things and while there’s a bit of walking (driving may be faster but roads can get quite jammed), it’s nowhere as inconvenient then for example, projects like The Balmoral.
The project is located roughly equidistant from Paya Lebar and Dakota MRT station though it’s easier to get to Dakota since the two buses that service Dunman Road are 16 and 33. Dakota MRT station is three bus stops away from The Serenno, is on the circle line and one station from Paya Lebar MRT.
The bus stop on the left in the above picture is located just across the road from Tanjong Katong Girls School and it is the closest stop to alight at when returning to The Serenno from the direction of Dakota MRT or even Orchard on bus 16 or 33. The opposite stop is where you’ll take a bus toward Dakota MRT station or straight to town on bus 16.
You can get across the road by the traffic junctions close to The Serenno or by the overhead bridge next to the bus stops. The Serenno is less than a three-minute walk to and from the bus stop though the short walk is mostly unsheltered, save on the school’s side.
The upcoming Marine Parade MRT station is too far to be a viable option for residents. However, there are buses that already go to Parkway Parade, though from the bus stop closest to The Serenno, it is only bus 16. If you were to take a bus from Dakota, then add bus 31 to that list. Other buses like 10 goes in the direction of Joo Chiat and Tanjong Katong which are still within walkable distance to Parkway.
From The Serenno to 112 Katong/Parkway Parade, a bus journey is about 10 minutes, not including waiting time. Getting to town on bus 16 will take roughly 35 minutes, if traffic is smooth.
To date, only four out of 33 units have been transacted. The transaction dates were all in July 2013 after which, it has been quiet on the sales front. The developer hasn’t offered any details though the lack of marketing may have contributed to its unpopularity.
Of the four transacted, one was a 484 sqft 1BR unit. The other three were the 1,044 sqft 3BR DK units. The 1BR was transacted at $796,000 while the other three were $1,357,200, $1,492,920 and $1,510,000. For 2013, the prices were already significantly higher when compared with Dunman View. A 1,173 sqft unit was transacted at $1,130,000 in 2014. Though it was a resale unit, it’s still far cheaper for a bigger unit than what The Serenno is offering.
The PSF for the 3BR units transacted at The Serenno averages out at $1,430 psf which is way higher than the $961 psf for Dunman View. Granted, inflation plays a part but the high prices might be a deciding factor that works against it, when for that same price, there are other more affordable units on the market.
According to URA, the median rental price for projects in Haig Road is $3.08 psf. With the 1,044 sqft unit as a guide, monthly rental comes up to $3,859 when adjusted with a 20% new build premium. Average rental yield therefore is 3.10%. This is healthy, based on the number of private projects in the vicinity but rental yield is similar to BMI, in that it only takes a surface value to give an overall worth to the area. It’s not an entirely trustworthy metric.
With prices as they are, it not certain that investors can find someone willing to pay close to $4,000 a month to live in The Serenno. Even though it’s close to public transportation and is walking distance to schools and amenities, it’s still a little bit far from most conveniences for that heavier price tag to be justified. There are projects closer to public transport, schools and amenities that offer rental at about the same price, and these projects are more favoured.
The Serenno is in a curious place. The high quantum may turn some people off which is unfortunate because The Serenno is a decent project with good returns. It is certainly suitable for singles, young couples and even families of three or four that want to be in a relatively quiet area close to certain schools. The project has much promise and doesn’t quite deserve its lack of interest.
Should the developers decrease the price or adjust it according to what interested parties are willing to pay, then the 33-unit development should see faster uptake.
For now, it’s in an unfortunate situation, albeit one that is salvageable. The Serenno has potential and perhaps a more robust marketing strategy with some discounted prices may increase its favour in the eyes of the public.