Review: 3 Bedroom Dual-Key at Highline Residences
Updated: Feb 1
This is a review of a Highline Residences that is currently marketed by one of my colleagues. This is to provide potential buyers with a more in-depth view of the property and have all the details needed to make a well-informed decision.
Should you require more information, feel free to write to email@example.com or contact Joshua Loo at +6596329840! I will link you up to the seller agent!
Tiong Bahru is an interesting neighbourhood because it has an eclectic mix of different architectural elements. This can be seen by the Art-Deco elements in early variations of Tiong Bahru Housing Development Board Blocks based on its ziggurat patterns and streamlined and sleeked forms. I’m not an architect, but here is a great article on the Architecture of Tiong Bahru.
Highline Residences, however, serves up a unique twist to the Tiong Bahru landscape as is expertly designed by award-winning architect, Mok Wei Wei of W Architects. Highline Residences draws much inspiration from High Line park in Manhattan, New York which features a contemporary modernistic style infused with naturalized plantings within the landscape.
This led to Highline Residences winning the Best Private Condo Landscape Architectural Design at the 8th annual PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Singapore) in October 2018.
Before we proceed further, have a look at this amazing skyscape captured from the top floor of Highline Residences. You can clearly see some notable buildings like South Beach Residences, The Singapore Flyer, Pinnacle @ Duxton and even Reflections @ Keppel Bay!
This article is in regards to a 3 Bedroom Dual-Key Apartment for sale, and we will begin this review with pictures and my commentaries. Followed by my thoughts on this apartment from an investors point of view.
Living & Dining Area
The entirety of the apartment is tiled with durable granite flooring, with beautiful dowel timber feature wall.
Take note of the customised false ceiling works, which takes advantage of the high ceiling. The glass panels to the right allow for ample natural lighting into the apartment.
Should you require more lighting, the living and dining area has soft ambient lighting from the cove lighting and shelving, that can draw attention to any showpieces that you have.
This glass-covered corridor allows natural lighting from the east-west sun to flow seamlessly into the apartment.
The current owner has converted this area to a dressing area.
The masterfully crafted false ceiling work, along with the lighting fixture provides a modern contemporary feel from its sleek lines and finishes. The soft-touch shag rugs balance this out by lending a calming vibe, reminding you that this is a place of relaxation. The half-height mirror which extends to the full width of the room adds further dimension into “increasing” the size of the room
Good detail to finish can be seen here with soft lighting. The overmount sink provides for easy cleaning & recalking whenever needed.
Overlayed with tiles and with quartz countertop ensuring fantastic durability. Take note to the right is the Household Shelter, and it fits a single bed.
Bedroom 2 can be considered a separate living space since this is a dual-key apartment, but the original owner felt that its best to convert this space into a study/work area. This is a good idea since most of us are working from home now and this adds utility to your home.
After a hard day’s work, you can call a few friends over to enjoy some wines!
Exquisitely designed quartz countertop with full-width mirrors. There’s plenty of storage from the in-built cabinetry.
Full height glass swing doors have been installed in the shower area. The shower niche installed allows easy access to your soaps and shampoos.
Bedroom 1/ Bath 1
Bedroom 1 and Bath 1 was combined into a single room for sleeping. This room was easily accessible through the converted dressing area (the Master Bedroom) to the Master Bath and there was no need for additional toilets.
Instead, additional carpentry was installed for more storage areas. Shag rugs are prominently seen again which I feel is a good idea as it quietens the room down. This helps to set in the right state of mental relaxation, which is very important when resting.
The unit that is being marketed is a 3 Bedroom Dual-Key Apartment which features prominently a generous 1206 sqft. In comparison, most new launch three bedrooms usually will be approximately 900 sqft. This provides a generous live-in area for its occupants. However, it is most likely that you will be renting out the dual-key bedroom, which leaves you with a 2 Beds and Bath.
The current configuration has an interesting layout where Bedroom 2 is converted into a study/work area. To suit this configuration, a partition is done up between the private foyer and Bedroom 2, and hacking works is done where the wardrobe is shown from the floor plan.
I feel this is a good move as it demarcates the area. With the entrance relocated closer to the dining area, it is far more accessible.
This will most likely appeal to a family of three, but these changes are entirely reversible and will not cost much with simple renovation.
A similar apartment to compare with this Highline Residences unit will be a 3-Bedroom Dual-Key apartment at The Crest, which had obtained Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) in 2018. Its size is approximately 1152 sqft. Although it is a marginal difference, the layout of The Crest will not be suitable for buyers who prefer a more traditional layout as there are more internal walls which will account for unusable space.
The main purpose of having a dual-key apartment is to potentially rent out a separate space, to generate a side income to offset your mortgage. However, there is usually a trade-off in regards you and your privacy.
Likewise, it is equally important for you as the landlord to ensure quiet enjoyment for the tenant. This becomes a grey area when both parties are constantly “trespassing” each other’s space to access your respective living quarters.
To avoid such a situation, I feel that the Highline Residences 3 Bedroom Dual-Key apartment is functionally designed in a way that has two separate lift landings. These prevent both parties from encroaching into each other’s space.
This is the private foyer, which leads to the entry of both the dual-key bedroom and the main apartment. However, there is a separate private lift which leads to the dual-key bedroom itself.
Close Proximity to Amenities
Highline Residences is located in a good location because it is close to a variety of amenities. Tiong Bahru Plaza/MRT is a 5 minutes’ walk, and Tiong Bahru Market is a 7 minutes’ walk.
This is a good option if you have young children who require easy public transportation within Singapore, or if you prefer to be car-lite.
Also, there are numerous offerings in terms of F&B. There are a few noteworthy picks, but it's best that you drop by the area to explore it yourself!
Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice is one of the best in Singapore. Just take a look at the queue in this picture! Just be sure to come before they are done selling by 2 pm! I always make it a point to visit them when I’m in the area.
Tiong Bahru Bakery serves up fresh coffee and pastries for a quick tea time pick me up!
Local homegrown bakery Little House of Dreams’ façade is saturated in pink floral motifs! It adds an interesting element to Tiong Bahru’s renown as a paradise of hipster cafes.
Close to Major Arterial Roads
Tiong Bahru is within the Rest of Core Region (RCR) of Singapore, and this makes it easy to commute via the major road networks like the Central Expressway (CTE), Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE), Tiong Bahru Road and Jalan Bukit Merah.
As seen from the graphics, Raffles Place (Financial District) is 3 MRT stops, Vivo City is 2 MRT stops.
If you are driving, reaching the Central Business District (CBD) will take you 5 mins to drive while Orchard Road will take you 6 mins to drive down.
As one of the newest condominiums within the Tiong Bahru area, it also draws the strongest rentals out of the rest.
At an average of $3,000/ month for 1 Bedroom, it will defray almost half of the monthly instalment for this 3 Bedroom Dual-Key apartment. (I.e., more on this later)
It is also located close to Singapore General Hospital, a 3 minutes’ drive or 15 minutes by public transport. This will be convenient for prospective tenants.
Save on Additional Buyer Stamp Duty Costs (ABSD)
The average price for 1 Bedroom apartments in District 3 is $1.12 million in 2020. I’ll avoid transactions in 2021 since there’s currently a low volume, and this makes its current average of $1.3 million in 2021 inaccurate.
Taking into account of a 12% ABSD rate for Singaporeans, you will need to pay an additional $134,400 as a sunk cost!
ABSD does not apply for Dual-Key apartments as both living spaces will be considered as a single count of property. Consider that amount saved when purchasing this unit.
Future En-Bloc Potential
You might think that I am nuts for talking about the en-bloc potential for a such a new development (i.e., TOP date for Highline Residences is 2018). Let me explain.
For those who are unfamiliar in regards to an en-bloc scenario, this article should catch you up to speed.
Highline Residences have a high plot ratio of 4.0. With a higher plot ratio than the surrounding residential developments, this allows a higher Gross Floor Area (GFA) for the development. This translates to a good number of dwelling units to be built.
However, do take into account that the overall land size is smaller as compared to its neighbouring plots, which might result in the GFA being similar.
In my opinion, this land plot does have en-bloc potential in time to come due to its good location and squarish sized land.
The morning east sun will be in Bedroom 1, Bedroom 2 and the corridor of the unit.
For the two bedrooms, great work has been done to the overall planning of this unit as most of the sunlight is blocked by the surrounding structure of the development.
Besides, I feel that it has a special appeal when the afternoon west sun bathes the corridor leading to the bedroom, and this can be seen as a characteristic feature of the place.
I believe this was intentionally designed by the architect due to the glass panels surrounding the Private Enclosed Space (PES), and this allows natural light to flow into the apartment.
Sunlight within the apartment is important to prevent the apartment from being too dark and gloomy.
Also, natural sunlight acts as a natural disinfectant which prevents harmful bacteria and microorganisms from proliferating.
Furthermore, most of the areas that you will be spending time in like the living and dining room, does not have direct sunlight.
Its closest competitors will be The Regency at Tiong Bahru (2010), Twin Regency (2007) and Regency Suites (2008) which all have freehold status. I did not include data in the chart for Twin Regency and Regency Suites as prices track extremely similarly to The Regency at Tiong Bahru.
Having freehold tenure might appeal to other investors. There are also older developments like Eng Hoon Mansions (2005), Yong Siak View (1987) and Yong Siak Court (1987).
These older freehold units are smaller in land plot which has a different appeal. Other surrounding condos like Central Green (1995) and Meraprime (2006) are older and I feel that they do not appeal to the same group of buyers for Highline Residences.
Ground Floor Unit
This should not be a deal-breaker but should be worth a mention for those that are particular on this.
Reconfiguration Need for Investors
The interior for the place is very well done, however it does not fit into the purchase decision for most property investors. Considering that two out of three bedrooms are converted for different uses, reconfiguration of the apartment will be needed.
The asking price of this 3 Bedroom Dual-Key apartment at Highline Residences is at a negotiable $2.508 million.
Highline Residences serves up many advantages and I feel that it is potentially a good buy with the right entry price.
Since it is a dual-key apartment, it is great for young couples who are intending to start a family within a vibrant neighbourhood and at the same time have an ongoing lease to help offset mortgage payments. However, there is still privacy for both landlord and tenant as there are separate lifts.
As an investment, there will be no ABSD cost as this apartment is considered as one property count even though there are two separate living spaces. Buyers will be able to rent out the separate dual key apartment to help defray mortgage costs.
However, what detracts from the overall package is the east-west sun, the land tenure and the apartment being a ground floor unit.
Although not within the next 20 years, I believe that this plot has a good en-bloc potential too despite its 99-year leasehold status. This is due to its fantastic location, and rectangular-shaped plot. Which are what real estate developers usually seek.
Tiong Bahru is traditionally a HDB estate with little private developments. In my opinion, I feel that there is a low chance in which the Selective En-Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) will take effect due to the sociocultural importance of the estate. This can be loosely translated that less land is available for real estate developers to work on, which will increase the appeal of Highline Residences.
Did you enjoy reading this review? Allow me to provide something similar to your property! I provide long-form articles as a form of extended listing for my sellers, and I find them to be effective in standing out in the property market.
If you are an interested buyer, feel free to contact me at +6596329840 or Joshua.firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee, or other group or individual. The author does not accept any responsibility whatsoever for any harm or loss arising from accessing or relying on information contained in this blog post.