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Bukit Timah Turf City - Rare Homeownership Opportunity in a Prime District
By Elizabeth Choong | June 18, 2024

Maple Woods is a freehold development located near the Bukit Timah Turf City. (Photo: EdgeProp Singapore)

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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Last month, the government announced that the site of the former Bukit Timah Turf City will be transformed into a housing estate that integrates homes with amenities, nature, and heritage. The site has been zoned for residential use since 1998 but was leased out for recreational and lifestyle use until the end of last year.

About 15,000 to 20,000 public and private homes are expected to be built over the next 20 to 30 years on the site. Due to its prime location, future HDB flats on the site are expected to be launched under the Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model. The future flats also represent the first time in 40 years that there will be new public housing in Bukit Timah.

What’s next?

There are plans to retain several historical elements on the site. Feasibility studies will be conducted on 27 structures and buildings to determine if they can be retained and repurposed (see Map 1). These include two grandstands, part of the racetrack, a clubhouse, and several bungalows. There are also plans to retain most of Eng Neo Avenue Forest and Bukit Tinggi.

Read also: FoundOnEdgeProp: Live in a freehold condo in Bukit Timah for under $1,700 psf

Source: URA

The nearest MRT stations are Sixth Avenue Station on the Downtown Line and the upcoming Turf City Station on the Cross Island Line, which is expected to be completed in 2032. Turf City Station is also sandwiched between two dual-line stations, namely King Albert Park and Bright Hill Stations, thus allowing future residents easy connectivity to all parts of the island. Furthermore, future public housing and amenities are expected to be located near the stations.

The entire site will be divided into four neighbourhoods, each with its own distinctive identity (see Map 2). Development of the site will be done progressively and is expected to start from existing transport nodes along Dunearn Road. The Stables Commune Neighbourhood is located along Dunearn Road and is hence expected to kickstart the transformation of the area. The former workers’ quarters and stables in the neighbourhood are expected to be transformed into small-scale lifestyle shops.

The Racecourse Neighbourhood will be anchored around the grandstands and is located next to the upcoming Turf City MRT Station. It is planned to be the new civic heart for the area and will have a variety of large-scale sports, recreational, community, and commercial amenities.

The former Bukit Timah Saddle Club clubhouse and surrounding landscape in the Saddle Club Knolls Neighbourhood are expected to be developed into a lifestyle node, while Fairways Quarters will be transformed to provide family-friendly activities and open space.

Residential developments are on the cards for Tinggi Hills Neighbourhood, which is located at the foot of Bukit Tinggi. Future residents will enjoy excellent views of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and Bukit Tinggi.

Source: URA


Prime neighbourhood with many reputable schools

Bukit Timah is well-known for being an exclusive residential enclave filled with reputable schools. While there are no schools within a 1km radius of the Bukit Timah Turf City site, numerous reputable and popular schools, such as Methodist Girls’ School (Primary and Secondary), Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School, Raffles Girls’ Primary School, Nanyang Girls’ High School, and National Junior College (Secondary and Junior College), are located within a 2km radius (see Map 3).

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Additionally, there are a number of international schools in the vicinity, including Chatsworth International School (Bukit Timah Campus), Singapore Korean International School, Holland International School, and the Swiss School in Singapore. Other nearby amenities include The British Club, Swiss Club, and Sixth Avenue Centre.

Source: EdgeProp LandLens (as at 13 June 2024)

Besides the two MRT stations, the Bukit Timah Turf City site is also accessible via the Bukit Timah Expressway and the Pan Island Expressway.


Numerous freehold condos

There are no HDB flats within a 1km radius of the former Bukit Timah Turf City. According to the latest annual report from HDB, there were only 2,554 HDB flats in Bukit Timah as of March 31 last year, representing a mere 0.2% of the total number of HDB flats at that time.

In contrast, the site is surrounded by private condos. Maple Woods, The Cascadia, The Tessarina, Royalgreen, and The Nexus are located within a 1km radius and each has at least 100 units (see Table 1). All five condos are freehold developments located within the Bukit Timah Planning Area. However, only The Tessarina and Royalgreen are in District 10, while the other three developments are in District 21.


Freehold condos in District 21 could be hidden gems

The average resale price for freehold condos in District 10 ($2,343 psf) has consistently trended above that for District 21 ($1,770 psf) and islandwide ($1,823 psf). It is noteworthy that the average price for freehold condos in District 10 has surpassed $2,000 psf since 2021, while the average prices for their counterparts in District 21 and islandwide are still under this benchmark (see Chart 1).

Source: EdgeProp Market Trends (as at 13 June 2024)

However, price growth for freehold condos in District 21 has been stronger than that of their counterparts in District 10 and islandwide. Since 2014, the average resale price for freehold condos in District 21 surged by 48.6% compared to price growths of 35.1% for District 10 and 31.7% islandwide.

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Prices for freehold condos in District 21 increased strongly even during the pandemic. Since 2020, the average price for freehold condos in District 21 rose by 30.7%, while the average prices for their counterparts in District 10 and islandwide increased by 18.3% and 19.3%, respectively.

The strong price growth, coupled with a comparatively lower average price, indicates that freehold condos in District 21 could be savvy choices for homebuyers. They may want to turn their sights to Maple Woods, The Cascadia, and The Nexus, which are located in District 21 and within a 1km radius of the former Bukit Timah Turf City (see Map 4). In addition to being located adjacent to each other, the three freehold developments are also near King Albert Park MRT Station.

Source: EdgeProp LandLens (as at 13 June 2024)

Since 2014, the average price for freehold condos has grown by an impressive 48.6%, but it has been surpassed by the price growths for Maple Woods (51.9%) and The Nexus (51.9%). In contrast, the average price for The Cascadia increased by only 27.7% (see Chart 2).

Source: EdgeProp Market Trends (as at 13 June 2024)

The current average prices for all three condos are higher than the average price of $1,770 psf for freehold condos in District 21 but still below the average price of $2,343 psf for their counterparts in District 10. At the time of writing, The Nexus has the highest average price at $2,269 psf, followed by Maple Woods at $2,110 psf, and The Cascadia at $2,005 psf.



Several GCBAs in the vicinity

There are several areas designated as Good Class Bungalow Areas (GCBAs) near the site, namely Binjai Park, Swiss Club Road, and Eng Neo Avenue (see Map 5). To retain the character of the neighbourhood, future developments near the GCBAs are expected to be low-rise buildings.

Source: EdgeProp LandLens (as at 11 June 2024)

It is not surprising that the average resale price for GCBs in District 10 ($2,079 psf) has consistently trended above that for their counterparts islandwide ($2,003 psf) (see Chart 3). However, the narrower price gap of $76 psf for this year is notable compared to the price gaps of $157 psf for last year and $152 psf for 2020.

Source: EdgeProp Market Trends (as at 14 June 2024)

A stronger price increase of 32.8% since 2014 was observed for GCBs islandwide compared to a growth of 27.8% for GCBs in District 10. However, the average prices for GCBs in both locations have fallen this year with declines of 10% y-o-y for GCBs in District 10 and 7% y-o-y for GCBs islandwide.

Despite the larger recent price decline for GCBs in District 10, demand for these assets has not weakened. At the time of writing, there have been eight resale transactions for GCBs in District 10 this year, up from seven transactions for the whole of last year. In contrast, there have been only nine resale transactions of GCBs islandwide this year, down from 15 transactions last year (see Chart 4).

Source: EdgeProp Market Trends (as at 14 June 2024)


Strong demand for new condos

There are only two recently launched condos within a 2km radius of the Bukit Timah Turf City site, namely The Reserve Residences and The Linq @ Beauty World. Both developments are located near each other in District 21 and are within walking distance of Beauty World MRT Station (see Map 6).

Source: EdgeProp LandLens (as at 14 June 2024)

The Linq @ Beauty World is a freehold development featuring 120 units. It was launched in November 2020, with 96% of its units sold on the first day. Its stellar sales performance could be attributed to its direct link to Beauty World MRT Station and a bus interchange. The integrated development also includes a retail podium.

At the time of writing, all condo units in The Linq @ Beauty World have been sold. Based on sale transactions in the past 12 months, units in the development are fetching an average of $2,799 psf. The development is expected to obtain its TOP later this year.

The Reserve Residences is a 99-year leasehold development with 892 units. The condo is expected to obtain its TOP in 2028. A strong sales performance was also achieved with 71% of its total units sold during its launch weekend in May last year. At the time of writing, a cumulative take-up of 76.8% has been recorded for the development (see Chart 5). Based on the sales transactions over the past 12 months, an average price of $2,546 psf has been achieved for the development.

Source: EdgeProp Research (as at 14 June 2024)

There is a 99-year leasehold government land sales (GLS) site that was awarded to Bukit Sembawang Estates in November 2022. The site is located adjacent to The Linq @ Beauty World. The developer is expected to develop a 160-unit condo on the site.


Gazing into the crystal ball

The future HDB flats are likely to be launched under the PLH model, which means that the flats will have a minimum occupation period (MOP) of 10 years. Hence, it will take some time before these flats can be sold in the resale market. Intense competition for the flats can be expected when they are launched for sale by HDB.

The introduction of these future HDB flats is unlikely to affect Bukit Timah's image as an exclusive residential enclave, as they will comprise only a minor portion of the total housing in the area However, the future HDB flats will offer more affordable housing options for those who are keen to live in the prime neighbourhood.

More amenities are expected to be built to serve the future residents, which will add more vibrancy to the area. Bukit Timah Turf City is planned as a car-lite and pedestrian-friendly town, but some major roads, such as Dunearn Road, may be widened to accommodate the anticipated increase in traffic.

Residential sites awarded under the Government Land Sales (GLS) program have 99-year leases. Consequently, the number of leasehold condos in the neighbourhood is expected to rise following the awarding of GLS sites to initiate development in the area. The increase in the supply of leasehold condos may temper price growth for these developments in Bukit Timah. However, prices for freehold condos and landed homes are expected to remain more resilient. The gradual transformation of the neighbourhood may also see more collective sales of older developments, especially freehold condos, as owners of these developments leverage on the transformation of their neighbourhood.

Check out the latest listings for Maple WoodsThe NexusThe CascadiaThe Linq @ Beauty WorldThe Reserve Residences properties

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