Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Riverbank @ Fernvale & RiverTree Residences Review

No we're not talking about swamp life here.

I was at both the show-flats that were side by side. The first was by UOL and the second was by FEO/Fraser. Both touted riverside-living since they were on the bank of Sungei Punggol Reservoir. The nearest LRT was Layar Station, which was three stops to Sengkang MRT. And in the following order of distance, H2O, RiverTree, Riverbank (furthest), away from the LRT station.

Here are my usual five observations.

1) RiverTree Is More Premium
And rightly so. With the chunk of real riverbank space, RiverTree should have swapped names. As with most FEO properties it is priced at a higher premium of around 1,100psf. The higher price (Riverbank was around 900-1,000psf) seems justified given that 90% of units had a river view compared to I think less than 20% for Riverbank. Aesthetically the RiverTrees was also better designed with the fan-in-palm theme where the fan was the pool facing the river and the five blocks represented five fingers (a la Suntec City). All I could remember of Riverbank was back-to-back stacks, the type where you can see your neighbour shower or smelling his toenails.

2) H2O Is The Big Winner
I remember that this project ran into cash flow problems some time ago but they seem to be doing fine now with construction midway through. Their project had the river view, was the nearest to the main road (Sengkang East Ave) in Sengkang leading to either CTE or KPE, AND right at the doorstep of Layar LRT Station. This proximity cannot be underestimated. It is so near that basically, their residents only need to come out of the side gate and the station steps were there! Residents of RiverTrees would take a good 7min to walk to the station and those from Riverbank will take even longer around 12min, assuming that the projected park connector is built by the real riverbank! Walking the other direction is far worse. 

3) Extreme Choke
Both projects have around 500 units. This works out to at least 500 cars or a total of 1,000 cars that will choke Fernvale Link, the main artery towards Sengkang East Ave and onwards to CTE or KPE. Fernvale Link is double laned and then there is a single two-way lane into each condo. I haven't added H2O or the HDB cluster on the otherside of Fernvale Link yet. If you still cannot foresee this will in time become a mega choke point, or have no car then perhaps the three condos suit you.

4) View? What View?
Of course the main gist of both launches was riverside living and what can be more important than the beautiful expansive view of the river and it's beyond? Well considering that the river isn't very wide (50-60m?), surely the opposite bank would provide for a sight for sore eyes? Highly unlikely. With a huge chunk already boarded up for HDB BTO projects and the rest of the plot designated for Residential use, you will have a river view alright. Only the river. Thereafter you see other people in their pigeon-holes smelling their toenails.

5) Sengkang The Most Populated Singapore Town
It takes one to live here to be able to tell how crowded Sengkang already is, and it will get even worse. I'll leave this subject for another post, but it will not take a rocket scientist to figure out that Sengkang will be one of the most congested towns in Singapore five years from now. And it is unlikely to have all that infrastructure to handle this boom. All those sexy projects like the new hospital, sports hub, malls, schools and parks mask a greater root problem in Sengkang. All it's arterial roads are simply too narrow to accommodate SO MANY residential projects.

In summary, IMHO buying a condo in for investment is like smelling your cut toenails - only you yourself think it is a good idea. However, if you're choosing to live here, then you just need to get used to bad traffic thats all! 

Time to plot my escape from Sengkang!

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