Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Condo Review: Optima @ Tanah Merah

As posted in www.h88.com.sg
on 5 Aug 2009 by John

H88.com.sg Condo Review: Optima @ Tanah Merah

Foreword

This condo sold out in a matter of three days. Initially we thought a review of a sold out condo would be pointless. But with units appearing on the subsale market within a matter of days and since we actually made our way down to Tanah Merah, it would be a pity not to review Singapore's hottest selling condo. We're sure you'd want to know why it's such a popular project.

About Optima @ Tanah Merah

This 297-unit project has five 14-storey blocks that is located right across the Tanah Merah MRT. This District 16, 99-year leasehold project is expected to TOP in mid-2014 and is developed by TID Pte Ltd - a joint venture between Mitsui Fudosan of Japan and The Hong Leong Group.

It comes complete with "full condo" facilities, including a 50m lap pool and a tennis court.

First Impression

It's hard to miss Tanah Merah MRT right across the street. And the developers have intentionally built the showroom entrance right next to the MRT exit. Indeed, residents only need to walk a very short distance to enter the condo from the side gate, via card access of course.

We see immediately that Optima @ Tanah Merah is built on quite a small plot of land. Major facilities like the pool and gym are squeezed right between the blocks, one might feel hemmed in while relaxing in the pool. Thankfully, the parking lots are all in the basement.

Location

You can't beat being literally right next to the MRT. That however comes with a few caveats, the noise of the trains in the early morning and the view of the tracks for the low to mid level units (make sure you draw those curtains if you're doing something naughty).

Malls, amenities, food centres are all one or two stops away via Bedok, Simei and Tampines MRT. It's also close to Changi Airport, Singapore Expo, the future fourth university and Changi Business Park, a plus point for buyers looking to rent out.

The area is quiet, apart from the trains. It's mostly residential, so not much noise apart from kids playing in the park and the empty field either side of the project.

Cyclists and joggers would appreciate the Bedok Park Connector which is nearby and connects the East Coast Park and Bedok Reservoir. East Coast Park is a short drive away too.

Obviously it's some distance away from town. A train ride to Orchard would take about 20 to 25 mins, same if you drive or take a taxi.

Unit Types and Estimated Sizes (sqft)

32 x 1 BR (484 - 797)
78 x 2 BR (700 - 1,163)
67 x 2+1 BR (915-1,292)
65 x 3 BR(1,195 - 1,948)
13 x 3+1 BR (1,259 - 1,948)
24 x 4 BR (1,421 - 1,539)
16 x Penthouse (1,346 - 2,336)
2 x Sky Villa (2,960)

Choice of Units
Top floor penthouses facing the East Coast Park would have the best view (and according to the brochure a sea view as well). Units facing Casa Merah, and the empty plot of land to the West are not ideal. The next best units would be ones facing the east where only low floor landed properties would be in your way. High floor units 03, 04, 07, 08 and 11 would be ideal.

Interior and Layout

The finishings are above average. One thing that wowed us was the master bathrooms which were tiled in stone (which looked very much like marble) making it look very luxurious. The bathroom fittings were top quality - Grohe and Duravit, toilet seats were not 'quiet-close' though. Some units have a bathtub, some just have a spacious shower stall.

The living room floors are laid with homogenous tiles. The kitchen comes with cooker hob, hood and nicely, a built-in oven. The bedrooms are nothing much to shout about, average-sized (small) with bay windows. Balconies have large planter boxes.

Price

When it opened for sale, we heard prices were going around an average of S$790psf. Developers then raised the price to an average of S$810 to S$820psf due to the crazy response.

2BR and 2+1BR units went for about S$860psf (S$700-800k range), 3BR were going for S$820psf (around S$980k region). Studios were hitting close to the S$1,000 psf mark.

By comparison, July's caveats of next door Casa Merah (TOP 2010) came to an average of S$728 psf.

In terms of price, had it not sold out, we feel it could have come down a bit more in the later months when all the frenzy has died down. That said, given that it sold out within three days, we guess many people feel it's quite fair. Don't forget the proximity to the MRT commands a premium too.

Final Word

Singaporeans know a good deal when they see one, and Optima is no exception. In case you've been living under a rock, here is what happened.

Frankly it's hard to fault Optima @ Tanah Merah, the location is excellent, the finishings above average for a mass market condo and the MRT is right next door. The minus points - the small plot size, the 99-year leasehold and the distance from town - are not significant.

In the end, we feel the Optima would still sell well, regardless of whatever the property climate. It looks like TID has got the formula just about right, other developers should take a leaf from their book.

We would love to hear your comments or showroom updates here.



Drop me an email at lawrencecyk@gmail.com for a full brief on the project.

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