Midwood Review: The most affordable new launch in Hillview?

Ivan Cai
Ivan Cai
Co-founder
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Midwood is a 99-year leasehold development in District 23. Situated along Hillview Rise, Midwood comprises 564 units and will achieve its temporary occupation permit (TOP) status in 2024. Located just 450m walking distance to Hillview MRT, Midwood provides convenient access to the upcoming Beauty World Integrated Transport Hub. 

Background

Launched in October 2019, Midwood has been on the market for more than a year. However, there are still plenty of units left available. Typically, 1-Bedroom units are the most popular for new launches, however, 66 – 70% of the units remain unsold. Almost all of the 4-Bedroom units are still available. For projects that still have many available units left, it may be worth exploring if there are any opportunities in the area.

Unit Type Size Availability
1BR 484 - 495 ~ 70%
1BR + S 549 ~ 66%
2BR 635 - 700 ~ 86%
2BR + S 775 - 786 ~ 90%
3BR 893 - 904 ~ 87%
3BR (with yard) 990 ~ 84 %
4BR 1,249 - 1,259 100%

Breakdown of units for Midwood

Criteria 1: Growth Area

The first criteria when analysing Midwood is to evaluate the future growth that may impact the surrounding areas, namely Bukit Batok and Bukit Panjang.

Source: URA  Master Plan

Towards the West of Midwood lies Tengah, Singapore’s future new town. Tengah is set to be developed as Singapore’s first smart and sustainable town, connecting to the Jurong Regional Line from 2026 onwards. 

Source: Overview of Tengah, HDB

As a new estate, there will be many HDB flats in Tengah. Upon fulfilling the Minimum Occupation Period, there will likely be a pool of HDB owners looking at surrounding private condominiums for an upgrade. This could be due to reasons such as having a sense of familiarity living in the same region or due to their children attending schools nearby. Hence, we can expect a positive spillover effect from Tengah’s new town development but it will be quite far along in the future.

Further down the South of Midwood, the Beauty World area will be transformed into an Integrated Transport Hub. The land parcel at Jalan Anak Bukit is currently up for tender till the end of March. Once the site is awarded, the mixed-use development will help to rejuvenate the Upper Bukit Timah area. With the increased accessibility and amenities, the Beauty World area will be more attractive for homeowners and tenants. This will benefit Midwood in the future, though the impact may be minimal as it is located 3km away. 

Criteria 2: Unique Selling Point

Project Site

Source: Site plan of Midwood, Official E-Brochure

An interesting observation for Midwood is its rectangular plot of land. When looking at its site plan, the two blocks are positioned 120m apart at the end of each side. A plus point for this layout is that it provides more privacy to residents, as neighbours will not be able to look into one another’s windows. Hence, Midwood may appeal to people who value privacy.

Transport & Amenities

Image from Squarefoot

For Midwood, there is a supermarket within 200m and it has 12 bus stops within a 500m radius. Hence, Midwood is an accessible and well-connected development.

Primary School

Source: The sole primary school within 1km radius of Midwood, Onemap; Primary school popularity ranking, Salary.sg

Within a 1km radius of Midwood, there is CHIJ Our Lady Queen of Peace. With a lower popularity ranking, it is unlikely that buyers or tenants will be drawn to stay in this area just for this particular school. However, parents who generally want easy access to other primary schools will find Midwood suitable as well. 

Developer's Credentials

Projects Location Tenure TOP Total Units
Bartley Residences Lorong How Sun LH 2015 702
Rivershire Leonie Hill FH 1991 74
Bishan Park Condominium Sin Ming Walk LH 1994 320
Devonshire Court Killiney Road FH 2015 160
Peakville Park Peakville Grove FH 1990 67
Cavenagh Court Cavenagh Road FH 1971 68

List of projects by Hong Leong Holdings Limited

The developer for Midwood is Hong Leong Holdings Limited, who are experienced with a decent track record. As there has not been much news or complaints regarding their past and existing projects, we can presume that the build quality of Midwood will be acceptable.

Criteria 3: New Launch Comparison

When looking at Midwood, the nearby projects are Mont Botanik and Dairy Farm Residences, which are 1.2km and 1km to Hillview MRT station respectively. Interestingly, the plot of land for both Midwood and Dairy Farm Residences were from Government Land Sales. This could mean that our Government is potentially looking to increase the population in the area.

Image from Google Maps

Some of the new projects further South of Midwood are Verdale, View At Kismis and Daintree Residence. These projects are closer to Beauty World MRT station. With the improved connectivity of the Integrated Transport Hub, we might see more new developments in the coming years.

1-Bedroom

Looking at 1-Bedroom units, Midwood pricing starts from S$0.78 mil or S$1,618 psf. In contrast, the prices at Daintree Residence start from S$0.97 mil or S$1,879 psf for its 1st floor unit. Hence, Midwood is cheaper both in terms of quantum and psf. For Dairy Farm Residences, there are no 1-Bedroom units available as the project is catered more toward families.

Image from Google Maps

One thing to note is that the size of the 1-Bedroom units in Midwood are 484 sqft, which is considerably small. However, with the new URA ruling of the minimum average size increasing from 70 to 85 sqm, it may be harder to find small size units in the future. This is because developers may either build fewer 1-Bedroom units or will build larger sized units.

2-Bedroom

Image from Google Maps

The 2-Bedroom units for Midwood start from S$1.12 mil or $1,626 psf. Dairy Farm Residences have a similar quantum at S$1.10 mil but its psf is lower at S$1,559 psf. However, Dairy Farm Residences is much further away from Hillview MRT. Hence, for a similar quantum and only a difference of 21 sqft in size, it might be a better option to choose the project nearer to MRT.

 

Daintree Residence has only 3 units left for its 2-Bedroom units and the price has not yet been released.

3-Bedroom

Image from Google Maps

The 3-Bedroom units for Midwood start from S$1.38 mil or S$1,545 psf. With a similar psf, the 3-Bedroom units at Dairy Farm Residences start at a slightly higher quantum of S$1.42 mil. Daintree Residence on the other hand has its 3-Bedroom units starting at S$1.82 mil or S$1,516 psf for a 2nd floor unit.

 

Comparing all three new launches, Midwood presents the cheapest alternative and yet being the closest to MRT. Thus, it may offer the best value. However, if one prefers the greenery, peace and tranquillity, one may consider Dairy Farm Residences.

Criteria 4: Releas Project Comparison

To find out if Midwood is indeed competitive, it is important to study the nearby resale projects as well. There are plenty of developments surrounding Midwood such as Kingsford Hillview Peak, The Hillier, Glendale Park (FH), The Skywoods and Summerhill (FH).

Image from Google Maps

With more than 400 units, these projects are of a similar scale to Midwood and serve as good comparables. This is because the facilities would be equally adequate, attracting a similar tenant pool. Furthermore, the distances of these projects to Hillview MRT are very close to one another.

1-Bedroom

It is interesting to note that out of the total number of units in Kingsford Hillview Peak and The Hiller, only 1.67% and 1.09% of the 1-Bedroom units are available respectively. This means that the occupancy rates for these two projects are above 98%.

 

A quick method to estimate the vacancy rate is to look at the number of listings of the project and divide that number by 3. This is because owners may engage multiple agents to market the unit, resulting in duplicate listings. Do note that the figure is only a rough gauge as it is a broad macro analysis.

Image from Google Map

The 1-Bedroom units in Kingsford Hillview Peak start from S$0.65 mil or S$1,264 psf. With its affordable quantum, it is able to fetch a fairly good rental yield of 3.3%. In comparison, The Hillier 1-Bedroom units are priced from S$0.690 mil or S$1,263 psf, and can fetch a similar rental yield of 3.48%. However, do note that the 1-Bedroom units at The Hiller are “studio” units. This means that the bedroom and living room are connected. As such, some landlords build a partition for the 1-Bedroom units.

 

When looking at the resale market for 1-Bedrooms, the projects seem quite affordable and have decent rental yield. Coupled with the high occupancy rates, there may be opportunities in the resale market. Nonetheless, Midwood is still competitive in terms of quantum as the price difference is reasonable. However, this may not be true in terms of psf. As Midwood’s TOP is in 2024, this translates to a 7 to 8 year age gap between Midwood and the surrounding projects. Assuming a price depreciation of 1.5% per year, the price difference should only be 12% over 8 years – making the S$1,618 psf price tag pretty steep, commanding a premium of 22%. Hence, the resale market may present better opportunities.

2-Bedroom

Similarly for the 2-Bedroom units, the occupancy rates remain high in the resale market. 2-Bedroom units start from S$1.02 mil for Kingsford Hillview Peak, S$1.09 mil for The Hiller and S$1.31 mil for Glendale Park. Do note that the 2-Bedroom units at Glendale Park are much larger and it is a freehold project, hence the higher quantum.

Image from Google Maps

From what we observed, this area is well tenanted and landlords may not fear high vacancy rates. The area’s strong rental yield of about 3% may serve as an added security. In times of economic decline, rental may dip to about 2.7% which may be sufficient to cover monthly mortgage instalments. If occupancy rate in the area remains around 98%, investors will be more at ease as the likelihood of securing tenants will be high. This is crucial as one needs to have strong holding power to tide through a crisis.

3-Bedroom

Image from Google Maps

At Kingsford Hillview Peak, the 3-Bedroom units start from S$1.42 mil while the only unit available at Glendale Park starts from S$1.69 mil. Once again, Glendale Park is a freehold project with larger unit size. The Hiller has no  3-Bedroom units. Hence, Midwood and Kingsford Hillview Peak are both considerably affordable.

 

With a good understanding of the surrounding resale projects near Midwood, one could do further analysis by zooming out of the area. One such tool to help investors take on a macro outlook and compare other projects in the district is our recently released I Quadrant New Launch Map

With the I Quadrant New Launch Map, you can get an overview of the prices for 3-Bedroom units for Midwood, which looks to be affordable at S$1.38 mil. This is in comparison to Dairy Farm Residences at S$1.45 mil,  Verdale at S$1.57 mil, Forett At Bukit Timah at S$1.91 mil and Mayfair Gardens at S$2.15 mil. If you are looking for a brand new development in the West region that is close to a MRT, Midwood is the project with the lowest quantum.

Criteria 5: Exit Strategy

On the spectrum of home purchasers, there are three types of buyers: homeowners, who just want to buy a home and are satisfied staying in it; investors, who look for rental income and capital appreciation growth; and Homevestors, who are looking for a home that will appreciate when the time comes to sell it. Majority of Singaporeans are homeowners by default but one should work towards becoming a Homevestor and achieve capital appreciation as well.

 

In summary, Midwood is unlikely to see huge growth potential in the area, especially in terms of job creation, which impacts the likelihood of people being drawn to an area or project. However, Midwood offers a very competitive quantum from a homeowner’s perspective. In this region, there are many condominiums and landed properties that will serve the HDB upgraders in the Bukit Panjang, Bukit Batok and Tengah area. For those families who want to move to a brand new house within a more private enclave and near to MRT, Midwood will be the most affordable new launch project that may be a match for homeowners. As for homevestors and investors, there may be other opportunities elsewhere such as the resale market.

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