Thursday, September 3, 2009

Condo Reviews : Trevista

As posted in www.h88.com.sg on 2 Sep 2009 by John

H88.com.sg Condo Reviews Condo Review: Trevista

Condo Review: Trevista

About Trevista

The Trevista is a 99-year leasehold, District 12 condo consisting of 590 units in three 39-storey blocks. Developed by NTUC Choice Homes, Trevista has a unit mix of studio, 1+1, 2, 2+1, 3 and 4 BR apartments.

Expected to TOP in late 2012, this is Toa Payoh’s first condominium in more than a decade. In fact, Trevista is Toa Payoh’s third condo after Oleander Towers and Trellis Towers.

This project comes with ‘full condo facilities’. Notable ones include a tennis court, a 50m lap pool and a rock climbing wall.

Parking lots are underground. Unfortunately there are only about 590 lots available so your guests will have to find somewhere else to park. There’s a HDB MSCP right across the street in case they want to pay you a visit.

Trevista is without doubt a mass market condo, with 590 units sharing a 50m lap pool and a single tennis court, this place is as ‘mass’ as it gets.

First Impressions

Immediately we noticed the proximity to Braddell MRT. It’s about an 80m walk, cutting through the HDB blocks, you’ll get there in about three to five minutes. That’s a huge plus.

The land area is quite small and the apartments begin on the first floor and end all the way on the 39th. No ‘Sky Garden’ on the 24th floor, no fancy facilities occupying the first three floors, no ‘Sky Villa’ at the top, it's just apartments from start to finish.

Looking at their brochure, it’s straight to the point - there aren't any photos of a young couple having wine with the city view in the background nor photos of a bikini-clad woman relaxing by the pool and so on. You turn the first page and you get the site layout. It’s like buying NTUC Fairprice’s house brand tissue - zero packaging but yet still does its job.

The showflat was quite crowded when we visited and if you’ve been paying attention, many units have been taken already, so if you like this place head down to Toa Payoh as soon as you can.

Location

It’s pretty good actually. Apart from the MRT nearby, you get all the frills associated with living in an established estate. For example, right across the street is the Toa Payoh Wet Market and Food Centre, a short walk north gets you to a small cluster of shops along Lorong 1 consisting of clinics, pharmacies, McDonald’s and coffeeshops.

Toa Payoh Central and Toa Payoh MRT are also within walking distance, though it’s a better idea to take the bus – they're only two bus stops away. From Braddell MRT, Bishan is one stop away and Orchard, four stops - that's quite convenient don't you think?

If you’re driving, Toa Payoh is served well by two major expressways – CTE and PIE. Plus because it’s a small estate, traffic doesn’t get heavy at all.

The environment around Trevista is quiet too. Toa Payoh has a small population and is one of the oldest estates in Singapore. Friends who’ve lived there tell us that apart from the busy town centre, the rest of Toa Payoh is peaceful and rather sleepy. Maybe that’s due to the multitude of elderly folk there. It doesn't have the 'vibrancy' of Ang Mo Kio for sure.

Unit Type and Estimated Sizes (sqft)
*We exclude sizes of units with PES

19 x Studio (463)
25 x 1+1 BR (689-721)
117 x 2 BR (861 – 947)
19 x 2+1 BR (1,012)
298 x 3 BR (1,098 – 1,281)
98 x 4 BR (1,561 – 1,819)
14 x 4+1 BR (1,776-1,808)

Total: 590 units

Choice of Units

Trevista is one of those rare projects that isn’t north-south facing. The blocks are built at a 45 degree angle, in a north-west orientation. As a result, many of the units face the noon sun.

The project is also surrounded by HDB blocks, some of which go up as high as 30 storeys. And let’s not forget the 42-storey The Peak @ Toa Payoh which is to the project’s south-west.

The best views are those units facing south-east, with only Kheng Cheng school in the way chances are you might have a view of the city.

If you don’t like idea of your room becoming a temporary sauna at 4pm during the hot months, then we suggest high floor units in stacks 07 and 16 (which you have to get via sub-sale as they are sold out!). However, we take special preference to high floor units in stack 08, 11 and 12, even though they do get the noon sun. We’ll tell you why in the next section.

Interior and Layout

The showflats available for viewing were the 3BR and 4BR ones. What stood out the most for the 3BR (Type C2, stack 11 and 12) was the bay window in the living room. If you look at the floorplan, you actually get the balcony on one side and the bay window on the other. The units will get plenty of natural light and a great view too (if you don’t mind the afternoon heat)! Sadly the bay windows are limited to 3BR (Type C2) units only.

And if you have the money, we really like 4BR (Type D1, stack 08) units. They are a good deal bigger than the 3BR (about 400 sqft more) and they have this – a kitchen balcony! What a great place to have that morning cuppa. Look at the floorplans and you’ll see what we mean. Like the 3BR above, you’ll have both the north and south views of Singapore either side of your apartment.

Kitchen Balcony

The fittings are slightly above average too. The kitchen comes equipped with Teka (a very good brand) cooker hood, hob and oven. Sign-up as a NTUC Union member on the spot and get an integrated fridge too.

The bathroom comes with Hansgrohe fittings and Bravat toilet bowls (which sadly are not quiet-close). One gets a choice of ‘His and Hers’ sinks in the master bathrooms for the 4BRs. Dirty old men living across the street would have a field day peeping into your bathrooms though, so blinds are a must.

Unfortunately, only 4BRs and above get the marble finishes for the living room. Furthermore, the kitchen for the 3BR is quite small and so are its rooms. Only the 4BR showflat feels spacious enough for decent human habitation.

Price

Here’s what we found out on the day of the visit.

28 Aug 2009
13 flr, 463 sqft 1BR - about $530k or $1,145 psf
8 flr, 689 sqft 1+1BR - about $674k or $978 psf
9 flr, 861 sqft 2BR - about $776k or $901psf
22 flr, 1,270 sqft 3BR - about $1.198m or $943 psf

29 Aug 2009
7 flr, 689 sqft 1+1BR - around $704k or $1,021 psf
24 flr, 926 sqft 2BR - around $925k or $998 psf
15 flr, 1,012 sqft 2+1BR - around $1.007m or $995 psf
30 flr, 1,270 sqft 3BR - around $1.232m or $1,030 psf
27 flr, 1,733 sqft 4BR - around $1.468m or $847 psf

*Note that prices are indicative and always change, especially if the developer thinks the units are in demand. We'd advise that you check with your agent for the current price.

Definitely nowhere near the average of $898 psf as reported earlier. That was probably a VVIP preview price.

An analysis of the 99-year, 11-year old Oleander Towers’ caveats brought up an average of $710 psf over the months from May to July 2009. Oleander Towers is right next to Toa Payoh MRT.

The freehold Trellis Towers’ caveats clocked in at an average of $934 psf for the months May to July 2009. Trellis Towers is about a 10 minute walk away from Toa Payoh MRT.

Final Word

Sometimes when you walk into a showflat, you know the developers are trying hard to sell you a ‘lifestyle’ or a ‘brand’. Not with the Trevista, they have a very direct take-it-or-leave-it approach. Were they so confident of their product? Or did they not have the time to come up with a fancy branding campaign, rushing to catch the buying wave?

Either way, Trevista’s approach seemed to have succeeded, it’s almost sold out less than a week after launching.

According to NTUC Choice Homes’ website, their mission is “to help more Singaporeans meet their aspirations to own private property by delivering quality housing at fair and affordable prices”.

So what’s ‘fair and affordable’ now? Things have certainly changed since February when the benchmark for a mass market condo used to be in the range of $550 to $750 psf. That’s obviously no longer the case now.

In a way, one can thank Centro Residences for that. The Ang Mo Kio project created a new yardstick to measure all suburban condos against. Any mass market condo would seem like a big bargain when placed side-by-side with the $1,200 psf project.

The fact of the matter is that prices have skyrocketed to the point where a $1,000 psf, 99-year suburban condo seems ‘fair and affordable’. Going by that standard now, we have to say that’s the case with Trevista. It’s in an established estate, it’s near the MRT, the interior fittings are just above average and some units do get great views - so it's not too bad after all.

Honestly speaking (note that we’re not being paid or co-erced at gunpoint into saying this), we think the Trevista is one of the better condos we’ve reviewed so far.

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

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