Coco Palms Review

Project:Coco Palms Review
District:District 18 ( Pasir Ris, Simei, Tampines)
Region:Outside Central Region (OCR)
Address:Pasir Ris Grove / Pasir Ris Drive 8
Tenure:99 Year Leasehold
Site Area:446,857 sqft / 41,514 sqm
No. of Units:944 Residential and 6 Commercial
Expected T.O.P:Mid 2019
Developer:Hong Realty Pte Ltd (Joint venture by CDL and Hong Leong Holdings Ltd)
PSF ($):966 - 1300
Information to Note

19 May 2014 update (From Business Times website):

 

Interestingly, the whole Pasir Ris Grove area is being developed by the same developer. Yes. Livia, D’Nest, NV Residences, The Palette and Coco Palms were / are all developed by the same developer which is a collaboration of Hong Realty, Hong Leong Holdings and City Developments Limited (CDL). The Hong Leong group holds a controlling interest in CDL and this makes them the main developer effectively.

To read more about this relationship, links here:

http://www.hongleongholdings.com.sg/about.html

http://www.cdl.com.sg/app/cdl/company/our_heritage/overview.xml

http://ir.cdl.com.sg/phoenix.zhtml?c=60774&p=irol-ownershipsummary

The developer actually bought the land very cheaply from the Government many years back and only more recently in 2008, topped up the lease of the land to 99 years and started developing the Pasir Ris Grove site from there. With the pricing power afforded it by being the developer of all the projects in this area, Hong Leong basically can fix its pricing any way it wants. We will see more about that in the pricing section of this review.

It is also noteworthy that since the lease starts from January 2008, by the time the Coco Palms is completed by 2019, eleven years would have already been run on its 99 year lease, leaving it with 88 years on its land lease.

For our dear readers who are interested in purchasing the Coco Palms development or have any unanswered questions after reading our review, do drop us an email at contactus@propersquare.com or call/SMS us at 9081-5456 and our team will get in touch with you shortly.

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External (Location)

Surroundings (General)

 Location map of Coco Palms:

The Coco Palms site is probably the best plot amongst the five CDL residential projects in the Pasir Ris Grove area, being the nearest to Pasir Ris MRT and White Sand Shopping Centre with a walking distance of around 250 metres (measued from the side gate).

Bordered by Pasir Ris Grove, Pasir Ris Drive 8 and Pasir Ris Drive 1, the development is surrounded by roads. Pasir Ris Drives 1 and 8 are main roads with heavy traffic and Pasir Ris Grove is expected to be busy due to the 5 developments in the area sharing the same road. Thus, buyers of units facing outwards should expect traffic noise and a certain level of pollution. In this aspect, the other condominiums at Pasir Ris Grove are all better off than Coco Palms with the sole exception of D’Nest.

Nearby, we have two other future residential sites which might take away the Coco Palms’ title of being the nearest private condominium to Pasir Ris MRT although these two residential plots will almost certainly suffer from MRT track noise. 

 

Amenities

Some of your daily needs will be covered by the six commercial units located at the foot of block 21, next to the side gate. Most of the other daily needs should be covered by White Sands Shopping Centre, where there is a FairPrice supermarket which will fulfil the full groceries needs. Tampines Regional Centre (A two to three minutes MRT ride away), with its three shopping malls and office buildings, should provide even more amenities that cannot be found at White Sands.

Nearby pastime and entertainment outlets include a library at White Sands, Pasir Ris Sports and Recreation Centre, the Downtown East entertainment area, and Pasir Ris Park. 

 

Transport (MRT/Buses)

Being next to a MRT station certainly has its benefits. But one also has to deal with noise and traffic issues. With regards to proximity to an MRT station, we think the Coco Palms is at a very comfortable distance of around 200 meters to Pasir Ris MRT. Bring your umbrellas during the rainy season though because we do not expect the government to be building walking shelters for private residential projects anytime in the foreseeable future.

This being the last station on the EW line with no plans for further extension of this line, commuters will be able to have a seat during morning peak hours towards the city. But expect a 30 minute journey to the CBD area of Raffles Place and Tanjong Pagar.

In the future (Year 2030), the Cross Island Line will also be coming online. This MRT line will pass through Pasir Ris and common sense would dictate that it links up with the current end of the EW line to provide a continuous link to the rest of the island. By then, most of the island would be blanketed by MRT stations, so we do not consider this much of a huge factor unlike what most agents would say to the contrary. 

For buses, there is a bus stop right outside Coco Palms which offers bus services to Punggol, East Coast, Yishun, Bishan, Serangoon, Hougang, Marina Bay Financial District and night bus services NR 7 and 4N. The placement of the bus stop is such that you have to exit via the side gate and walk back towards the bus stop away from Pasir Ris MRT. Not exactly intuitive. 

Pasir Ris Interchange, which is right beside Pasir Ris MRT, offers more bus services to connect Pasir Ris to the neighbouring Tampines and Sengkang / Punggol areas. For further areas, we see no reasons to take the public buses as the MRT is a superior alternative by far. In the future, a new integrated transport hub will also be built here as part of the Masterplan Draft 2013. 

 

Driving

 The Coco Palms is conveniently linked to Tampines via Pasir Ris Drive 8. This road also provides access to and from the Tampines Expressway (TPE). Expect congestion during peak hours as everyone in the area will be using this road to access the TPE. Using the TPE, drivers can access the KPE, PIE and SLE expressways. Due to Pasir Ris’ geographical location in the extreme north east, driving to most parts of the island will take some time.

 Under the URA’s Masterplan draft 2013, the authorities are seriously ramping up road network links and capacity in Pasir Ris.

 The following are the improvements that road users will be able to see under the Masterplan Draft 2013:

 

 

Schools

 The following is a list of schools and educational institutions nearby:

  • Coral Primary School (<1km)
  • Casuarina Primary School
  • Elias Park Primary School (<1km)
  • Loyang Primary School
  • Meridian Primary School
  • Park View Primary School (partial <1km)
  • Pasir Ris Primary School (top primary school, partial <2km))
  • White Sands Primary School
  • Greenview Secondary School
  • Hai Sing Catholic School (Secondary)
  • Loyang Secondary School
  • Pasir Ris Crest Secondary School
  • Siglap Secondary School
  • Meridian Junior College
  • Overseas Family School

 

Coco Palms is within a 1km radius from Elias Park Primary, Coral Primary schools for distance based preferential entry. Park View Primary also falls within the 1km radius if you live in one of the units nearer to Livia.

Other significant educational institutions in the area include the upcoming School of Design and Technology (SUTD) East Coast Campus located at Changi East and Temasek Polytechnic and Tampines Junior College in Tampines.

 

 

External (Pricing)

19 May 2014 Update:

Coco Palms launched at an average $980 psf pricing. This is lower than the developer's initial indicative pricing of $966 psf and above, reflecting CDL's reluctance to be too sticky on pricing, prefering to move units instead at this 944 units development. 

 

The area here at Pasir Ris Grove is huge. There are going to be more than 4000 private residential units on this plot of land! The completed Livia and NV residences have 724 and 642 units respectively. D’Nest and The Palette have 912 and 892 units respectively. This makes up a total of 3170 units already. Throw in Coco Palms’ 944 residential units and we get 4114 units on this Pasir Ris Grove site.

For comparison, your typical 15 stories HDB has around 6 to 9 units per floor, which makes for a total of 90 to 135 units in a single HDB block. Compare this number to the more than 4000 units here and you should be able to get a scale of the development here. We should think some of the allure the exclusivity of private residential living is reduced by the simply huge number of units in the area.

When we visited the showflat, the agent told us indicative prices for the one bedders starts at $498k. That translates to a psf pricing of $1,075 based on the one bedroom floor area of 463 sqft (for 2nd storey onwards). For two bedders and three bedders, the indicative pricing starts from $718k and $888k respectively, which translates to a psf pricing of $966 and $982. However, the pricing seems to take large jumps according to the stacks and blocks. So potential buyers, do take the indicative pricing now with a pinch of salt. 

Since the developer basically developed all the projects in the Pasir Ris Grove area, pricing is pretty much tightly buttoned up. By protecting the pricing of Coco Palms, CDL/Hong Leong will basically protect the pricing of the entire area and its reputation.

Below, we have the past six months of transaction (as of 11 May 2014) and rental prices for the surrounding developments:

With indicative psf starting at $966, Coco Palms will be selling equal to or slightly above NV Residences’ current asking prices. (NV launched in 2010 at prices averaging $830 psf) Sometimes, we do feel that this is how property bubbles are fuelled. The sellers start jacking up asking prices before a new project launch. The new project developer comes in and benchmarks their new development’s pricing against the higher asking prices from the older developments. And the next developer in turn benchmarks their project against this higher price when it is their turn to launch.

However, we think Coco Palms should rightfully be sold at a premium to the other Pasir Ris Grove projects due to its nearer proximity to Pasir Ris MRT. (The HDB development Costa Ris thankfully blocks off the noise from the trains) How much of a premium will be revealed on the launch day when the developers reveal their asking prices.

Nearby, we also have two other future residential sites which will take away the Coco Palms’ title of being the nearest private condominium to Pasir Ris MRT although these two residential plots will almost certainly suffer from MRT track noise. 

The fact that the project will only be completed in 2019 is also significant as this will mean that 11 years will have lapsed in its land lease by then, leaving no comparative advantage for Coco Palms when the other surrounding CDL developments will have been ready before then and could potentially be rented out for income long before Coco Palms is ready. This detracts from the Coco Palms as you could potentially be renting out your NV / Livia Residences unit for the next five years between now and 2019. This could amount to $100k and up even for a small sized unit.

Nearby, we also have two other future residential sites which will take away the Coco Palms’ title of being the nearest private condominium to Pasir Ris MRT although these two residential plots will almost certainly suffer from MRT track noise. Starred in red is Coco Palms, while the purple starred sites are future residential sites.

 

Note: CDL has a previous record of dropping prices when the market turned for the worse, so buyers who have a pessimistic view of the property market might want to wait a bit before committing to a purchase.

Link: http://www.stproperty.sg/articles-property/singapore-property-news/cdl-cuts-prices-of-livia-units-by-about-5/a/4918

 

Development (Unit)

Breakdown of units:

 

We will go through the 2 bedroom unit Type B2 which has a floor area of 743 sqft or 69 sqm. 

Looking at the floor plan above, the first thing we noted when we looked at the floorplan was the abundance of bay windows and the presence of a planter box. Wow. We haven’t seen so much of these for a long time. It should a legacy of Coco Palms’ site lease topup and development application from January 2008. Prior to September 2008, bay windows and planter boxes were exempted from Gross Floor Area calculations, which gave developers development charges-free area for which to charge customers for. Simply irresistible, isn’t it? Very cheap area to sell for the same price as the rest of the area that the developer actually paid full for. Fortunately for buyers, URA removed that loophole by September 2008 and the days of plentiful planter boxes and bay windows have gradually faded from our memories. Until now.

A small snippet of what the development charges are for the Changi/Pasir Ris area as of March 2014:

Let’s say the planter box and bay windows take up an area of 3sqm. Non landed residential belongs to category B2 and attracts a development fee of $2730 per sqm of GFA. That would easily translate to extra profit of $2730 x 3 = $8190 per unit. Multiply that by 944 units and you get $7,731,360 of free money. Extremely lucrative for the developers.

 

On to the unit itself! Do note that we are reviewing the second storey unit floor plan whilst the showflat unit is of the ground floor unit which means they have an extended Private Enclosed Space compared to the second storey and above units.

We enter the unit via a small hall way. Good for privacy; not so good for space utilisation. Ceiling height of 2.9 metres is pretty impressive. The living area is small. A small dining table for four, a two seater sofa and a small coffee table makes the living area seem very busy already. Even the small extended space provided by the planter area does not seem to help much in alleviating the sense that this is a very small living room area. 

The kitchen area has a sliding door which means occasional heavy cooking is possible. However, note this is only for this particular two bedder Type B2 layout. Types B1 and B3 employ an open concept kitchen.  As usual, most kitchen and bathroom fittings are provided. These are of average quality from what we see in the show unit. We like the fact that the fridge is not built in so that you can easily find a replacement in the future.  Outside the kitchen is a small planter area which we absolutely do not see the point for.  Perhaps you could store some stuff there. But we would much rather have the developer extended the kitchen area instead of giving a planter area.

Here are some suggestions on what you can do with the two planter areas in the unit:

http://www.absolutoutdoors.com/what-to-do-with-balcony-planters-in-singapore/

 

 

The master bedroom is not very large due to the presence of the bay windows. Basically, after you put in a queen sized bed, there will not be much space left for any other large fixtures though you do get a wide walking space from the hallway the door entrance creates. There are bay windows in both bedrooms.  The bay windows and planter boxes together rob the unit of quite a bit of space and the bedrooms seem smaller than the floor area might suggest even though the interior designer for the showflat has tried hard to disguise the bay windows. The bay windows might be useful for placing a TV set or some shelves but that basically sums up most of its usefulness. Wardrobes are provided in the bedrooms. 

 

The master bathroom is just about right sized in our opinion for this unit’s sizing. It is not huge but the space is just enough to be fully utilized without being wasteful. 

Bedroom 2 has a under floor storage space, which we find interesting. This could help a lot in storing away thing given the very limited amount of storage space in the unit. We are looking at you, planter boxes and bay windows. The room is again small. Small seems to be a theme in this unit. The showflat unit utilizes an upper platform to maximize the living space here and actually make the room seem liveable for two persons. Kudos to the interior designer here. 

 

Lastly, bathroom 2 is slightly smaller than the master bathroom but again, space is utilized quite well. We don't see the need for huge bathrooms in a two bedroom unit, when the floor area is already so small.

 

Key things to note:

-          Presence of bay windows and planter boxes significantly reduces the fully useable areas of the unit

-          Both bedrooms have their fully useable area reduced by the bay windows

-          Small enclosed kitchen (enclosed only for Type B2)

-          Huge AC ledge is almost equal to the size of bathroom 2

 

Development (Building)

Note that the model of the project does not depict blocks 23 and 25 fully.

Site Plan:

Analysis of site / actual land site

The majority of units in the development have a North-East or South-West orientation.

This means all the South-West facing units facing Pasir Ris Grove will get hit by the afternoon sun to some degree or another, albeit at a steep angle, which will reduce the amount of sun rays and heat penetrating into the units.

The inter building distance at some places at Coco Palms is roughly 22 to 25 metres. That is an uncomfortable distance in our opinion, considering the buildings are facing each other and not slanted away at an angle from each other.  We would rather take the units that face outwards or pay a (large) premium for the main lagoon facing stacks where you get at least 70 metres of clearance to the opposite facing units.

Because of the Grand Lagoon, residents at Blocks 11, 13, 31 and 33 will also have to make a detour instead of walking in a straight line towards the side gate to the MRT.

 

Building Architecture

There is nothing much to shout about for the Coco Palms’ architecture. We can see the architect’s efforts to try to differentiate it from the surrounding developments. But we really cannot see much difference between Coco Palms and the other developments by CDL/Hong Leong in the area. Sorry, Mr Architect!

 

Quality of Air/Noise/Light

We do not expect the air quality to be particularly fantastic for the Coco Palms as it is bounded by two major roads, Pasir Ris Drive 1 and Drive 8. Noise levels will be a factor for the units facing out towards these two roads.

 

Facilities

Full Facilities here at Coco Palms, though the large number of residential units (944 units) will mean that facilities will be very busy. Imagine an average of 2.5 persons per unit, making a total of 2360 residents. During the weekends, even if just 10% of the resident population uses the facilities at any one time, that would still be a massive 236 people using the facilities at the same time. So just be aware of this fact when considering a unit at the Coco Palms.

Every unit will get at least one vehicle parking lot. Visitor lots would be quite limited though.

Maintenance costs are expected to be in the range of 200 to 300 a month. That is about the average for such a big development. 

 

Final Thoughts/ Summary

Being the last CDL project to be developed at Pasir Ris Grove, Coco Palms is located at a comfortable walking distance to Pasir Ris MRT and White Sands Shopping Centre. At the same time, it is well shielded from the track noises and high human traffic at White Sands.

On the down side, the orientation of some units leave much to be desired. The planter boxes and bay windows, a legacy of its pre-2009 days, deprives the development of precious living space, especially for the smaller sized units. The large number of units/residents will also detract from the enjoyment of the facilities as well.

If you are looking to buy a unit in Pasir Ris now or in the near future, the Coco Palms should definitely be near the top of your shopping list. But do take into account the start of its land lease from 2008 and the long time from now (May 2014) till its TOP in 2019, along with the huge number of residential units in the Pasir Ris Grove area. We would advise our readers to get Coco Palms only if you can live with all the downsides that we have mentioned in the review above. Otherwise, we think there will be other better projects coming online soon.

See you at our next review of Kallang Riverside!

On an ending note, if you are interested in purchasing a unit at this property and require further advice, do let us know via contactus@propersquare.com and our team will help you evaluate your options further. At the same time, your property purchase through us will help us to keep this review site running and make the property landscape a better one for everyone!

Sincerely,

Team ProperSquare

Reviewed on 13 May 2014
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