Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Condo Review : Waterfront Key

Living at the water's edge, residents are separated from the scenic waters of the reservoir by only the four-lane Bedok Reservoir Road.
About Waterfront Key
Situated right in front of Bedok Reservoir, the 437-unit Waterfront Key is jointly developed by Far East Organization (Centro Residences) and Frasers Centrepoint (8@Woodleigh). This 99-year, District 16 condo is made up of eight 15-storey blocks with a unit mix ranging from 2BRs to Penthouses. TOP is scheduled for Dec 2015 (that's 6 years from now!).

Marketed heavily as waterfront living (their brochure proudly proclaims "Live at the water's edge"), residents are separated from the scenic waters of the reservoir by only the four-lane Bedok Reservoir Road. So this is not some sales and marketing spin (like when 'near' is not so near or when a '3 minute walk' is actually 10 minutes), one is literally living at the water's edge.

Facilities are "full condo" which include a 50m lap pool, tennis courts, hydro-therapy pool and jogging track.

Interestingly the next door Waterfront Waves (launched circa late 2007) is also developed by the same pair above, so they share the same showroom and the same waterfront living concept.

First Impression
One cannot help but notice the calming presence of Bedok Reservoir, the view is fantastic and the sunsets are something worth looking forward to. We noticed immediately the two tennis courts in the scale model, something of a rarity these days. The condo also sits on large plot of land, hence they can afford to dedicate a significant area to facilities like tennis courts, gym, sauna and function rooms. Parking is all underground.

Residents get to choose from two views - the Reservoir view and the Bedok Town Park view. Reservoir views are limited to the larger 3 and 4 BRs while the smaller 2BRs are left with the Park (and canal) view.

There was also some kind of promotion going on, we saw a mini notebook, a mountain bike and some other freebies placed in the corner. Apparently when you buy a 'star' unit, you get to keep all those items. We were wondering if that's more counter-productive - would buyers think there's something wrong with the unit if freebies must be thrown in to sweeten the deal?

While we were there, all the 2BR units were sold (according to the agent) and only five of the eight towers were released - Blocks D, E, F,G and H.




Waterfront Key units facing the reservoir get a wonderful view

Location

Undeniably the proximity to Bedok Reservoir is a big plus. The view is truly unique and few mass market condos in Singapore can lay claim to true waterfront living. One can sit by the shore and have an enjoyable picnic in the evenings, go for a relaxing run or canoe even.

Buying a car would be a good idea if you want to live here. Waterfront Key is some distance away from the amenities, MRTs and shopping malls in Tampines and Bedok. If you wish to get to either of those places by bus, the bus stop is located conveniently outside the condo. The trip will take about 15 to 20 minutes.

There are plenty of schools nearby, notably Temasek Polytechnic right across the reservoir. The future fourth university and Changi Business Park are a 10 minute drive away. The Bedok Park Connector, which leads to the East Coast Park is close by as well.

Note that the future Downtown Line could be running right below the project, with the proposed "Reservoir" MRT station about 800m away (Source: SinGeo. Edit 08 Aug 2009: There is no official information from LTA as to where exactly this station will be.) The line is scheduled to be completed by 2016.




Location Map (Image: Google Maps) - [Edit 11 Aug 2009: "Reservoir MRT" removed as location is not confirmed by LTA]

Unit Types and estimated Floor Sizes (sqft)
Sadly, the brochure gave no indication of the number of units and its sizes, here's what we could gather online:
2 BR - 866 to 1,178
3 BR Compact - 1,007 to 1,108
3 BR - 1,133 to 1,742
3+1 BR - 1,331 to 1,880
4 BR- 1,488 to 1,566
PH - 2,860 to 3,038
Choice of Units
The best units would be the ones with an expansive view of the reservoir, which means all those north facing units from blocks A to E. Anything above the sixth floor would guarantee an unblocked view (we hope). One might also want to check where the bus stops are when choosing units. We feel the best apartments would be Units 02, 05, 12, 13 and 15 on floors 10 and above.




Site layout (Image: Brochure)

Interior and Layout*
The interiors are standard fare - bay windows, large balconies and average-sized bedrooms. All units come with bomb shelters which open into the kitchen. The kitchen itself feels small and rather crammed. Appliances include the cooker hood and hob. The bathroom fittings are average, nothing too fancy. However, the finish of the bathroom walls and floors look good. Of note are the living room floors, which are marble. Bedrooms have timber flooring.

*We'd like to point out that in the brochure given to us, there were no details regarding the type of fittings, the appliances and finishings of the units in Waterfront Key. In fact, apart from core info like features and layouts, very little information was provided about the unit sizes, the type of units, the security features, etc.

Information regarding the finishings and so on were obtained from the property agent who guided us through the showflat. We suggest buyers ensure that they know in detail what they are getting when they sign on the dotted line.



Living room


Kitchen


Bedroom


Another bedroom


Master bathroom

Price
While we were there, a 7th floor, 1,518 sqft 4 BR unit facing the reservoir was going for around S$1,449,000, which works out to S$955 psf. However, they were willing to give a 'special 10% discount' which then computes to around S$860psf. A 14th floor, 1,173 sqft 3BR Compact unit (facing the Bedok Town Park) came to S$1,020,000 or S$869psf, after 'discount': S$783 psf.

Note that the developers have raised their prices, it was reported on July 20 (BT - "50-60 units sold at Volari, 120 at Waterfront Key") that prices were averaging S$735psf.

It's obvious that the quantum for 3BR units and above (around S$1.2 million and above) is putting off buyers with a tighter budget, like the current crop of HDB upgraders. They are snapping up units under that magic $1m mark, which is why the 2BR here are apparently all sold out.

Next door Waterfront Waves (TOP late-2012) had the last five caveats lodged (as of 7 Aug 2009) at an average of S$710. A 1,292 sqft unit went for S$1,081,190 (or S$837psf) in July 2009. Another 1,281 sqft unit went for S$754,400 or S$589 psf.

Baywater (TOP 2006) - which is also next door - averaged S$620 psf for the two caveats lodged in June 2009

Selected floorplans below:

Tower D - 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 13th and 14th storey floorplan


Tower F - 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 13th and 14th storey floorplan


Tower G - 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 13th and 14th storey floorplan


Tower D - 15th storey PH floorplan

Final Word
With 437 units at Waterfront Key, this would be one crowded condo. The location is not the best too. However, the view and proximity to the reservoir are big pluses, and the developers have done well to play that unique selling point up.

Buyers can consider the potential appreciation that comes with the Downtown line in 2016, but you have to wait a good seven years or longer for that to happen (if it happens). Even so, you should also look at the other condos that are much closer to the proposed Reservoir station. Note also that there are other condos near existing MRTs (Optima and Double Bay Residences) going around the same price or lower.

If you like living near Bedok Reservoir and don't really need the view, then it would be prudent to look at other condos nearby which offer a more competitive rate.

Condos can command a premium by virtue of it's location, especially if it's very close to an MRT or close to the CBD. In the case of Waterfront Keys, we're just not sure if being beside Bedok Reservoir justifies that extra cost. If you're comfortable paying premium, then we feel you should only think about those units with the Reservoir view. It's pointless forking out more if you don't at least get to look at sunsets from your bedroom.

Images: Brochure and Google Maps
As posted in www.h88.com.sg by John

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