Highline Residences Review

Project:Highline Residences Review
District:D03 Central South
Region:Rest of Central Region (RCR)
Address:Kim Tian Road
Tenure:99 Year Leasehold
Site Area:118,303 sqft
No. of Units:500
Expected T.O.P:2018/2019
Developer:Harvestland Development Pte Ltd (Keppel Land)
PSF ($):1800 - 2300
Information to Note

A record high land price of $1,162.86 was set by Keppel Land in April 2013 for a Kim Tian Road residential site. The winning bid of $550.28 million dollars was (we think almost reckless) 7.2% above the next highest bidder. Made amidst the still bullish market in early 2013 just before the Government jammed the brakes using the TDSR measures in June 2013, Highline Residences is expected to launch within the second quarter of 2014 to a lukewarm property market.

Just for a quick site price comparison, the troubled South Beach project site was won with a bid of $1,069 psf ppr in July 2007 and the more recent Clermont Residences at Tanjong Pagar Centre’s land price was $1,006 psf ppr in November 2010. These two developments are facing strong headwinds in selling their high end luxury projects, with South Beach repeatedly delaying launch until even today. Will Highline Residences face the same headwinds as these two premium ultra luxury projects, or will Keppel Land launch their units and price them according to the current market conditions after realizing their folly in paying such a high price for this Kim Tian road site? 

News link: http://business.asiaone.com/news/keplands-top-bid-sets-new-high-housing-land

 

More about Tiong Bahru town: 

Built in the 1930s before WWII and Singapore’s independence, Tiong Bahru Estate is one of the oldest housing estates in Singapore. It was the first project undertaken by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT), a government body administered by the British colonial authority, to provide for mass public housing in Singapore. 

 Tiong Bahru means "New Cemetery" (thióng 塚 – Hokkien for cemetery, bahru – Malay for new). Until the 1920s it was an area dotted with many cemeteries. They were new as opposed to the established cemeteries in Chinatown. The present day Tiong Bahru Rd was at one time called " Burial Ground Rd". In 1925 this area was declared unsanitary and designated for improvement. The SIT (S'pore Improvement Trust) cleared out the squatters and moved the graves and then filled in and levelled the area.

Another interesting feature of Tiong Bahru is that all its streets are names after prominent early Chinese pioneers in Singapore (e.g. Low Kim Pong, Tan Kim Tian, Tan Seng Poh, etc)

Today, Tiong Bahru has become one of the most highly sought after mature housing estate in Singapore with many new high rise HDB flats recently completed or being built in the area, bringing a fresh breath of life into its continuing rich history.

More links for interested readers to explore!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiong_Bahru_Estate

http://remembersingapore.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/old-neighbourhood-tiong-bahru/

http://tiongbahruestate.blogspot.sg/

National Heritage Board link

If you would like to purchase a unit in The Highline Residences through our marketing team after reading our review, or you have a question that we have not answered in our review, do drop us a call/SMS at 9081-5456 or email us at contactus@propersquare.com and we will get in touch with you shortly.

Thank you for supporting our site and reviews!

Sincerely, 

Team ProperSquare

 

External (Location)

Looking at the location of the Kim Tian Road site, we can almost understand why Keppel bid such an aggressive amount of almost $1,163 psf ppr for the site. Site location highlighted in red:

This is really a plum plot of land (though we still think it was reckless of Keppel Land to be bidding 7.2% more than the second highest bidder, and setting a private housing land record price at the same time). It is the only large plot of land left within its immediate vicinity of at least 500 meters. Both amenities and transport links are superb.

 There is not much greenery to be had in the immediate area, this being a very well developed area. Tiong Bahru Park and Henderson Park (600 metres) are just down the road after Tiong Bahru Plaza. Pearl’s Hill City Park and Mt Faber Park are also located within 2 kilometres.

 There are no potential new developments in the Masterplan Draft 2013 for Tiong Bahru that is note worthy except for a new small park along Kim Tian Road.

 

 Amenities

 

Amenities are aplenty in the very mature Tiong Bahru estate, especially in this part of the estate where the Highline Residences is located.

 Tiong Bahru Food Market and Hawker Centre (in short: Tiong Bahru Market), located 200 metres down Lim Liak Street, will provide you with all your fresh produce needs and local hawker food fare wants.

 You will find cafes, coffeeshops, restaurants and shops right outside the residence down Kim Pong Road at Block 78 and Yong Saik Court and even more of all these along Seng Poh Road towards the Tinog Bahru Market area. Residents will definitely have no lack of eating choices within a short walking distance.

 If you prefer to do your grocery shopping in an air-conditioned supermarket, Tiong Bahru Plaza houses six levels of mall retail space which includes a NTUC supermarket and a GV Cineplex. And if you do get bored of the Tiong Bahru area, Great World City and Chinatown are just one MRT stop away. We cannot imagine that you will have any complaints about the amenities available to residents at Highline Residences.

 If we were to assign a grade to the amenities, Highline Residences would certainly get an almost perfect A+ for amenities.

 

Schools

A list of nearby schools:

  • Alexandra Primary School (1km)
  • CHIJ (Kellock) (Primary) (2km)
  • Gan Eng Seng Primary School (2km)
  • Radin Mas Primary School (2km)
  • Zhangde Primary School (1km)
  • Bukit Merah Secondary School
  • CHIJ Saint Theresa’s Convent (Secondary)
  • Crescent Girls’ School (Secondary)
  • Gan Eng Seng Secondary School
  • Henderson Secondary School
  • Outram Secondary School
  • PSB Academy just behind Tiong Bahru Plaza

There are only two primary schools (Zhangde Primary and Alexandra Primary) in the area that are within a 1km distance. Do take note that some parts of Highline Residences might fall just outside of the 1km distance for Alexandra Primary as well. This might be cause for worry for parents as the high density public housing here means that there will be fierce competition for entry into the primary schools. Parents, please take note. 

 

Transport (MRT/Buses)

Highline Residences is located about 250 meters to Tiong Bahru MRT station and 520 meters to the future Havelock MRT (under Phase 3 of Thomson Line to be completed in 2021). This distance is measured from the road side along Tiong Bahru Road. If you are staying in the inner most part of the project, add another 150 meters to that distance. Tiong Bahru Road should be the main access way to public transportation infrastructure for most residents.

The bus stops outside Tiong Bahru Plaza/MRT has 8 bus services servicing the area. The bus stops are roughly around the Tiong Bahru Plaza area and distance is around 130 or 250 meters from the road side of Tiong Bahru Road, depending on the direction you are taking the buses in. The buses at these bus stops (Bus services 5, 16, 33, 63, 121, 123, 195, 851 and NR5) mainly ply routes that pass through the eastern and central parts of Singapore before terminating somewhere in Bukit Merah. Areas served include Ang Mio Kio, Bedok, Bukit Merah, East Coast, Eunos, Geylang, Marina Bay, Novena, Orchard, Pasir Ris, Queenstown, Tampines, the CBD area (Raffles Place, Tanjong Pagar) and Yishun.

Alternate routes of public transport include bus stops along Jalan Bukit Merah, though that necessitates a 600 meters walk along Kim Tian Road. There are 8 bus services that call at these bus stops, 6 of which will bring you to other areas of Singapore (Bus services 147, 167, 175, 196, 197, 961) including Orchard, Serangoon, Hougang, Woodlands, Bukit Panjang, Thomson, East Coast, Bedok, Tampines, West Coast, Clementi, Jurong East. Basically almost everywhere in Singapore if you prefer to travel by bus somehow. The other two (Bus services 120, 121) simply ply around the Tiong Bahru estate and Bukit Merah / Outram area.

Tiong Bahru, being located centrally in a very mature estate, has superb public transportation links. The MRT is nearby, and if you so wish to take a bus, there are bus services to almost all other parts of the island. This is one of the best places to be taking public transportation in our opinion.

 

Driving

Drivers, do expect heavy traffic along the two lane (each way) Tiong Bahru Road as this is the main road to access Tiong Bahru Plaza and the Tiong Bahru Market area. The housing estates in the area also feed into this road, which means plenty of congestion during peak hours. The single lane (each way) Kim Tian Road does allow access to Jalan Bukit Merah Road though Jalan Bukit Merah does get jammed during rush hours as well.

The AYE and CTE expressways are very accessible via Tiong Bahru Road and Lower Delta Road respectively.

Drivers should have easy access to most parts of the island via the expressways and a straight drive to the Tanjong Pagar and Raffles Place CBD area via the Outram/Chinatown area (with the obligatory ERP charges).

 

External (Pricing)

Pricing the Highline Residences will be very tricky for Keppel Land. We can safely assume the days when the Echelon at Redhill could sell for an average of $1,700 psf for its initial launch and achieving an $1,795 project average psf are behind us for now, with the series of Government cooling measures looming above buyers in the property market.

The Highline residences is launching into an area with very fierce resale competition. The following are the competing private resale residential projects in the area:

Central Green Condo; 99 year Leasehold; 12/12/23/23 stories; 412 units; completed 1995

 

 Regency Suites; Freehold; 36 stories, 104 units; completed 2008

 

Twin Regency; Freehold; 36 stories tall; 234 units; completed 2007

Do let us know if this is too much info for you readers!

Keppel Land traditionally has a reputation of maintaining their prices seemingly regardless of market conditions. Yet even it has had to drop prices amidst the current market conditions by more discrete methods such as offering star buys at another project “The Glades” at Tanah Merah. 

But the hard truth is that because it bidded so aggressively for the site, Keppel Land has little room to manoeuvre in terms of pricing down the development. Expected breakeven cost by analysts ranges from $1,500 to $1,800 psf. (Link) If we take the middle ground at $1,650 psf, that is still a huge barrier to surmount for the developer.

 Comparing Highline Residences to the freehold Regency Suites and Twin Regency next door, we do not see a reason to pay so much for a 99 year leasehold project when we can get a below ten years old freehold development for about the same psf pricing or even much lesser. And here is what else your money can get you in terms of Singapore properties:

 

Development (Unit)

To be updated.

 

Development (Building)

Whilst the location is really great, the surroundings are fairly limited by the height profiles of the neighbouring developments. Almost every new development in Tiong Bahru in recent years seem to be built up to or near 40 stories. While some marketing agents will try to tell buyers that the east facing stacks will have an unblocked view, that view is NOT guaranteed as we will see later. 

The tallest floor for Highline Residences will be 36 stories. This brings us to the fact that there will be no awe inspiring view for half of the project. Namely, the north and west facing sides of the project will not be enjoying much of a view. The north side will be facing the 40 stories high Tiong Bahru View HDB flats and the 21 stories tall flats along Boon Tiong Road. The consolation for the north facing stacks will be that you wont be directly peering into your neighbour’s windows since there is Tiong Bahru Road separating the buildings. For the west facing stacks, depending on which particular stacks you get, you get a choice of view of either Twin Regency or Regency Suites (though the Twin Regency buildings are farther away, being located behind a row of four storey shophouses).

South facing stacks enjoy a bit of relief from the high density buildings in the area. There is a small designated park area before the 40 storey Kim Tian Green HDB flats which will serve to provide some  breathing space. The low rise Yong Siak Court and Block 78 will also  give south views towards the SGH campus, and if you live high enough, a southern sea view. In fact, we would venture to say the south facing stacks have the most guaranteed view right now.

For the east facing side, the view is currently unblocked because of the low lying four storey flats lying beyond Kim Pong Road. Rest assured the developer and its marketing teams will definitely be milking this side for all its worth. HOWEVER, this site is actually not gazetted for conservation. Below is the URA conservation plan:

As you can see, the site bordered by Kim Pong Road, Lim Liak Street and Seng Poh Road are NOT gazetted for conservation. There is a chance that this entire site might be cleared and developed into a residential site with a plot ratio of 2.8 (building height limit of 36). If anything, it looks like a plum opportunity to get redeveloped. Consider yourself warned!

 

Final Thoughts/ Summary

We really like the Highline Residences' location. Located in a very mature estate right at the city fringe, the amenities and transport links are great! In fact, we would be hard pressed to find an overall better location in Singapore for recent new launches. However, pricing is going to be a big issue for this development. With a private residential land price record set by this site, it would be hard for Keppel Land to make much profits if they reduce their launch pricing too much amidst the current lull in the market. At the same time, we do not think there will be too many people willing to pay more than $2,000 psf in the current property market climate, especially for a 99 year LH project and with viable freehold alternatives. Buyers, do tread carefully for this project!

If you would like to purchase a unit in The Highline Residences through our marketing team after reading our review, or you have a question that we have not answered in our review, do drop us a call/SMS at 9081-5456 or email us at contactus@propersquare.com and we will get in touch with you shortly. Thank you for supporting our site and reviews!

Team ProperSquare

Reviewed on 13 September 2014
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