Kent Ridge Hill Residences Review: Living On The Hill

Ivan Cai
Ivan Cai
Co-founder
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Kent Ridge Hill Residences is located right next to Kent Ridge Park along South Buona Vista Road in District 5. Formerly known as Vista Park, the new development will be surrounded by greenery with Kent Ridge Hill as its backdrop. Pasir Panjang MRT station is 700m away from Kent Ridge Hill Residences, which is a reasonable walking distance.

 

Comprising 5 storeys with 548 units, Kent Ridge Hill Residences is a sizable project with adequate facilities. A good size project usually translates to lower maintenance fees as the cost is spread across all units. More importantly, for projects of this size, Kent Ridge Hill Residences will likely see healthy transaction volumes in the future. 

 

A 99-year leasehold project, Kent Ridge Hill Residences is developed by Oxley Spinel Pte Ltd and is expected to TOP in 2024. However, based on Oxley Holdings’ latest corporate updates on SGX, it mentioned that its expected completion will be in Q2 2022. 

Unit Types

Kent Ridge Hill Residences has been in the market for more than two years since its launch in November 2018. Looking at the breakdown of available units remaining, we have greater insight into the popular unit types at Kent Ridge Hill Residences.

Unit Type Availability (%) Total (%)
1BR 0 (0%) 176 (32%)
2BR 22 (11%) 203 (37%)
3BR 40 (41%) 97 (18%)
4BR 36 (75%) 48 (9%)
5BR 15 (63%) 24 (4%)

Breakdown of the units for Kent Ridge Hill Residences

As of today, there are no more 1-Bedroom units left in Kent Ridge Hill Residences while the 2-Bedroom units only have 11% of units remaining. On the other hand, the availability of the 4-Bedroom units and 5-Bedroom units are at 75% and 63% respectively. 1-Bedroom units tend to be popular amongst property investors and this seems to indicate that the majority of the buyers for Kent Ridge Hill Residences are likely investors rather than homeowners.

 

Looking at the project as a whole, Kent Ridge Hill Residences looks to be a more investor-centric project as the 1-Bedroom and 2-Bedroom units of the project make up 69% of the whole development.

Criteria 1: Growth Area

As an Investor or Homevestor, one should identify projects that are near growth areas that have potential capital appreciation. Kent Ridge Hill Residences is situated near several key nodes such as Mapletree Business City, National University of Singapore, One-North Business Park and Dover Knowledge District, which is an extension of One-North. With the further development of One-North, this will result in plenty of jobs being created in the area.

 

However, the Dover Knowledge District is quite a distance away and may not have much benefit on tenant demand for Kent Ridge Hill Residences. There are other upcoming projects such as One-North Eden and Normanton Park that are closer to One-North, hence tenants will have an abundance of choice in the area.

 

The Greater Southern Waterfront is also in Singapore’s growth pipeline, though it will only happen much later. However, the main transformation may not take place right next to Kent Ridge Hill Residences.

Source: URA  Master Plan

Looking at the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) Master Plan 2019, there are several residential plots of land available for future development. However, these plots of land are on the other side of the hill. As the distance is slightly further away from Kent Ridge Hill Residences, the new residential developments may lack synergy to achieve growth in the area.

Timeline for growth areas to impact projects in the proximity

Based on the Timeline Impact, the development at one-north is ongoing while Dover will take some more years down the road to complete. The Greater Southern Waterfront transformation will take even longer, and the residential plots are subject to planning by URA. Since the URA Master Plan has a 5-year time horizon, there will be no changes in the short term till 2024.

Criteria 2: Demand Drivers

There are a few factors that we identify as “Demand Drivers”, which are factors that attract people into the area. One key factor for Kent Ridge Hill Residences will be connectivity, where the South Buona Vista Road will be extended to connect to the AYE expressway. The residents will enjoy improved accessibility and easier connectivity to CBD.

Primary School

One factor to take note of is the distance to primary schools due to priority admission – this is often a consideration for future homebuyers with young children. As there are no primary schools within 2km of Kent Ridge Hill Residences, families with young children may not find the project suitable if they value proximity to primary schools. As such, Kent Ridge Hill Residences may be attractive for adults working in the One-North area, or families with older children.

Developer

Looking at the developer’s past track record will give an indication of the build quality of its future projects. As a home purchaser, one should try to buy into projects that have a strong developer’s track record.

Projects Location Tenure TOP Total
Floraville Cactus Road FH 2017 50
Midtown Residences Upper Serangoon Rd LH 2016 160
Devonshire Residences Devonshire Road FH 2015 84
Parc Somme Somme Road LH 2012 30
Affinity ad Serangoon Serangoon North Avenue 1 LH 2024 1012
Riverfront Residences Hougang Avenue 7 LH 2024 1451

List of projects by Oxley Holdings

Oxley Holdings has done many projects prior to Kent Ridge Hill Residences, including huge size projects such as Affinity at Serangoon and Riverfront Residences. Although these projects have yet to be completed, there were no major complaints for Oxley’s past projects. Hence, the risk of finding build quality issues with Kent Ridge Hill Residences may be low.

Criteria 3: New Launch Comparison

Now, let us take a closer look and see if Kent Ridge Hill Residences is competitive in comparison to other new launches in the area.

Image from Google Maps

The strongest competitor for Kent Ridge Hill Residences is Normanton Park, which is on the other side of Kent Ridge Park. Consisting of 1,862 units, Normanton Park will achieve its TOP status in 2023. Along to the East of Kent Ridge Hill Residences, there are Margaret Ville and Stirling Residences which will be completed soon as well.

 

Normanton Park and Kent Ridge Hill Residences completion are close enough that both of them will likely have to compete for tenants. Normanton Park may be more advantageous with its location and larger project size, which will provide tenants more comprehensive facilities. 

 

Nearby Kent Ridge Hill Residences, there are a few freehold projects such as Harbour View Garden and The Verandah Residences. Further up to the North of Kent Ridge Hill Residences, there are plenty of freehold projects in the Holland area as well. However, that would be a different catchment pool as people staying at Kent Ridge Hill Residences are more likely to work in the CBD or One-North area. 

2-Bedroom

Since the 1-Bedroom units at Kent Ridge Hill Residences are fully sold, we will look at 2-Bedroom onwards.

Image from Google Maps

Kent Ridge Hill Residences launched its 2-Bedroom units at average S$1.23 mi or S$1,651 psf. Within two years of its launch date, the psf went up by 8% to S$1.42 mil or S$1,783 psf. Hence, this begs the question of whether the prices of Kent Ridge Hill Residences are too high to enter now, compared to at launch. To find the answers, it is important to look at the prices of nearby projects.

 

Looking at Normanton Park which was launched recently, the quantum for 2-Bedroom is starting from S$1.30 mil which is not too far off from Kent Ridge Hill Residences. As Normanton Park is nearer to the One-North area, it will be more convenient for tenants working in the Science Park area even though it is further away from an MRT station. This will be an added advantage for Normanton Park. Just looking at the quantum alone, Normanton Park offers a better value, though we would still need to look at the resale market before drawing any conclusions.

3-Bedroom

Image from Google Maps

Similarly for the 3-Bedroom units, the prices for Kent Ridge Hill Residences went up by about 7% as the project gets nearer to its TOP. The 3-Bedroom units are asking from S$1.77 mil or S$1,853 psf currently. Compared to Normanton Park, the 3-Bedroom units are starting from S$1.53 mil or S$1,681 psf. Considering both the quantum and psf, the 3-Bedroom units at Normanton Park are much lower than Kent Ridge Hill Residences; thus presenting better value on a price basis.

4-Bedroom

Image from Google Maps

When it comes to 4-Bedroom units, Kent Ridge Hill Residences only offer 2-storey penthouses. In contrast, the 4-Bedroom units at Normanton Park are the regular one storey unit. Hence, depending on a buyer’s preference, living with stairs may or may not be a deciding factor. If the family is staying together with an elderly, stairs are not recommended.

 

Kent Ridge Hill Residences have its 4-Bedroom units going from S$2.66 mil or S$1,756 psf, while the ones at Normanton Park are asking from S$2.27m or S$1,729 psf. With a higher price tag of S$2.66 mil for Kent Ridge Hill Residences, not many people can meet the TDSR requirement and qualify for a 75% LTV. As such, Normanton Park will have a slightly bigger buyer pool compared to Kent Ridge Hill Residences.

Criteria 4: Releas Project Comparison

Image from Google Maps

There are two comparable freehold projects in the surrounding, which are Viva Vista and Bijou. Although The Interlace is not exactly near to Kent Ridge Hill Residences, it will still be a good comparable as it is a leasehold project, same for Kent Ridge Hill Residences.

2-Bedroom

The 2-Bedroom units at Ki Residences are asking from S$1.27 mil or S$1,719 psf. KAP Residences is also similar in terms of quantum and psf, at $1.23 mil or S$1,792 psf. However, the age of the buildings are 8 years apart. As newer properties are usually priced higher in terms of psf, the gap is almost non-existent in this case. Hence, Ki Residences might be underpriced. However, we need to take into consideration that KAP Residences is nearer to the MRT station and has a mall right below it. Do take note that KAP mall is not a premium mall and for those considering KAP Residences, we highly recommend walking the ground to experience the neighbourhood. 

Image from Google Map

The 2-Bedroom units at Viva Vista are priced from S$0.90 mil or S$1,165 psf, which is very competitive compared to Kent Ridge Hill Residences at S$1.42 mil or S$1,783psf. An interesting aspect of Viva Vista is that it is a mixed development with commercial units. However, this is a small strata-titled shopping mall which may find difficulties in attracting a crowd to frequent the mall. Hence, with a mall that is not performing well, it may subsequently affect its residential component.

 

Bijou’s 2-Bedroom units have a very high psf of S$2,153, which is the price tag people pay to live right next to the MRT. On the other hand, the 2-Bedroom units at The Interlace starts from S$1.14 mil, which is very competitive compared to the S$1.42 mil for Kent Ridge Hill Residences. In terms of quantum, the price tag is more affordable for The Interlace. When looking on a psf basis, there is a difference of S$371 psf, which is about 26%. This difference is acceptable comparing the 2009 and 2024 projects; hence it may be worth taking a closer look at The Interlace.

3-Bedroom

Image from Google Maps

The 3-Bedroom units at Bijou are Duplexes, meaning that each unit comes with a staircase. From an investor point of view, the area is not a usable space hence it may not be ideal.

 

Looking at The Interlace and Kent Ridge Hill Residences, the quantum for the 3-Bedroom units are similar at S$1.71 mil and S$1.77 mil respectively. However, the units at The Interlace are much bigger hence resulting in a much lower psf as well. Thus, for people that are looking for a bigger space and open to resale project option, this may be a project to look into. However, The Interlace is an older project at 12 years old, which may or may not be a dealbreaker for most people. 

4-Bedroom

The 4-Bedroom units at Kent Ridge Hill Residences only come as penthouses. Once again, penthouses will consist of “air space”, which investors typically avoid. This is because the area is accounted for in the price you pay but the actual space may not be usable.

Image from Google Maps

As for The Interlace, the 4-Bedroom units are 2,067 sq ft in size, which is considered rare in today’s context. Furthermore, it is even more difficult to find such a big unit in this area; therefore, The Interlace presents a unique opportunity for buyers looking for big units.

Criteria 5: Exit Strategy

One should always consider the exit strategy before entering into any project. This is because we want to make sure that we are able to sell at a good price to the next buyer in the future. 

 

One key consideration is the rentability of Kent Ridge Hill Residences. As Normanton Park will be completed in 2023 while Kent Ridge Hill Residences might be 2022 or 2024. Nevertheless, the supply in this area will be high during that few years and tenants would have many options to explore. Normanton Park could be more attractive due to the location and project size. Our view on the rental market is that units are likely to be rented out but the key is the rental amount. Hence, owners might be competing with each other to get their unit tenanted first. 

There are 3 different types of home buyers, each on a different spectrum. For people who are purely homeowners, money is not as critical as happiness is more important, hence the saying “money cannot buy happiness”. On the other end, there are the Investors who look for passive income and capital appreciation. 

 

In the middle of the spectrum, the group of home buyers are called Homevestor. This group of people strive to achieve potential capital appreciation while staying in their property. The idea is that if the capital appreciation of the property is able to exceed its interest payment, the owner can get to stay for free.

Conclusion

Kent Ridge Hill Residences may be more suitable for homeowners who love nature and a quiet space. It is a unique project which is right beside Kent Ridge Hill, located in the Central region and near to the Greater Southern Waterfront at the same time. Thus, it also suits the Chinese saying of “hillside backing and sea facing”. Being surrounded by nature in a secluded area will provide the peacefulness and serenity which does not come by often.

 

However, Kent Ridge Hill Residences may not fetch the best returns on a short – mid term basis if you are entering at the current price and given the strong competition in this area. There are better options for property buyers belonging to the Homevestor and Investor category. With projects that are nearer to the One-North area such as Normanton Park and One-North Eden, Kent Ridge Hill Residences may find it challenging to compete. Nevertheless, a walking distance to MRT would still be an advantage as compared to Normanton Park. 

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