Aug 2022 BTO: Unit Analyses for Havelock Hillside and Alexandra Vale at Bukit Merah

  • Oct 27, 2022

Bukit Merah saw two new projects in the August 2022 BTO sales launch. There's Havelock Hillside, located near the upcoming Havelock MRT (set to officially open in mid-Nov this year) and then there's Alexandra Vale, a stone's throw away from Redhill MRT. Both are great choices in terms of convenience, but we think Havelock Hillside edges out just a twinge for its closer proximity to the city and its walking distance to not one, but two MRT stations. Plus, Havelock Hillside's not so close to the stations that we can hear the track noise. We checked out the sites for these PLH (prime location housing) BTOs and see the units to pick if you managed to ballot for a queue number.

Overview

BTO

Havelock Hillside

Alexandra Vale

LOCATION

Along Havelock Road

Along Alexandra View

IS IT A PLH MODEL?

Yes

Yes

TOTAL NO. OF UNITS

869

782

UNIT TYPES

3- and 4-room units

3- and 4-room units

NO. OF BLOCKS

2 2

HEIGHT

42 and 45 storeys tall (some stacks are only at 24 and 27 storeys tall)

41 to 50 storeys tall

ESTIMATED COMPLETION DATE

4Q2028

2Q2028

PRICING

3-room: $370K to $515K
4-room: $531K to $730K
3-room: $385K to $477K
4-room: $547K to $705K

NEAREST MRT STATION

• Havelock MRT station on the Thomson-East Coast Line (~5-min walk)
• Tiong Bahru MRT on the East-West Line (~8-min walk)

Redhill MRT station on the East-West Line (~2-min walk)

PRIMARY SCHOOLS WITHIN A 1-KM RADIUS*
*DISTANCE BASED ON APPROXIMATION, MAY DIFFER DEPENDING ON BLOCK

• Alexandra Primary School
• River Valley Primary School
• Zhangde Primary School

• Alexandra Primary School
• Gan Eng Seng Primary School
• Zhangde Primary School

EXISTING AND FUTURE AMENITIES WITHIN 10-MIN WALKING DISTANCE

• Tiong Bahru Plaza (has an NTUC Fairprice Finest)
• Havelock Road Cooked Food Centre
• Beo Crescent Market
• Tiong Bahru Market
• NTUC Fairprice Bukit Ho Swee
• Zion Riverside Food Centre
• Great World (CS Fresh and Meidi-Ya supermarkets)

• Redhill Market and Food Court
• Fairprice Finest Artra
• Eateries next to Artra condo
• Leng Kee Community Centre
• Eateries and coffee shops along Lengkok Bahru

 

 

The Sites

We visited the sites for Havelock Hillside and Alexandra Vale on a weekday evening. Both BTOs will be mainly surrounded by residential buildings. The areas also have a decent amount of amenities within a short walking distance.

Havelock Hillside sits within the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood but is located at a spot that is much quieter compared to the area where Tiong Bahru Plaza is located. There wasn't a lot of traffic along Havelock Road, although footfall is moderately high, perhaps owing to the fact that the area is surrounded by various neighbourhood amenities and eateries as well as several food centres. There is a Chinese temple nearby, so the road may get more crowded during certain religious festivals.

Venture further down Havelock Road and you'll see a stretch of retail shops (mostly offering services like hair saloons) restaurants as well as a 24-hour NTUC supermarket.

Site for Havelock Hillside.

Along Havelock Road.

Along Havelock Road. Turn left to enter Havelock Road Food Centre.

Indus Road.

One of the nearest coffee shops in the area.

Some of the amenities in the area.

A 24-hour supermarket nearby.

The site for Alexandra Vale feels busier. Because of the nearby MRT station (Redhill) and school, there is a ton of foot traffic. The noise from the nearby MRT tracks also adds to the surrounding cacophony. The site isn't very big when compared with Havelock Hillside. As you can see from the photos below, you'll notice how near the MRT tracks are. While there is some buffer, as illustrated in the HDB maps, we believe you will still be able to hear whenever the trains are passing through.

Note that Alexandra Vale will also house a stack of rental units within the BTO.

The nearby amenities for Alexandra Vale are located below the Artra condo. These are mostly eateries as well as an NTUC Finest supermarket.

Site for Alexandra Vale.

Along Alexandra View.

View of the MRT tracks.

Amenities located right next to the BTO.

Amenities include a Fairprice Finest supermarket.

Unit Analysis for Havelock Hillside

Cooler units without the afternoon sun

Havelock Hillside Sun

The afternoon sun comes in two different directions in Singapore. From October, it’s mainly from the northwest direction. From April, it’s generally from the southwest direction. See the illustration above on how the afternoon sun moves at Havelock Hillside.

These are the stacks to go for if you are hoping to pick a cooler unit. Note the caveats below, however:

Colour code:
Green = 3-room
Yellow = 4-room

97A: 591^, 593^, 599*, 611^, 613^, 615^
98A: 633*

*These stacks don’t have the main areas of the home facing the southwest or northwest directions so they will be relatively cool, but one side of their walls may be hit by the afternoon sun at earlier parts of the day.

^ Lower floor units (~6th floor and below) on these stacks may be blocked by the nearby car park from the afternoon sun. Go for a lower-floor unit here.

Units with more privacy

For those going for a unit that feels more private, pick ones at the corners and preferably away from the lifts or the rubbish chutes where footfall tends to be higher there.

97A: 599, 609~, 611
98A: 621, 623, 633

~: For stack 609, it’s located relatively close to the existing HDB block 16. The distance between them is about 30 metres between the blocks. You may want to avoid a lower floor unit (9th floor and below) if you don’t want people looking into your flat from that block.

Units that are quieter

If you spend a lot of time at home or work from home, you may wish to go for a generally quieter unit. Pick ones that face away from areas where people tend to gather (car park, pavilions, playgrounds, fitness stations, childcare centre etc.) and avoid ones that are facing the main Havelock Road. As mentioned earlier, Havelock Road is currently relatively quiet but there may be a bus stop there in the future so traffic might pick up in time to come.

These are the quieter stacks to look out for:

97A: 595, 597, 599
98A: 635, 637

(Tip: For folks picking a stack that faces the car park, choose a unit that’s located on a floor higher than the 7-storey car park. This will give you more privacy and you can also avoid constantly hearing engine revving and squealing of tires.)

Units with city views

Consider the stacks below for city views and a hint of the Singapore River. Our recommendation is to go for a unit above the 36th storey, seeing as some of the taller buildings around here and bordering the Singapore River have a 36-storey height restriction.

97A: 591, 593, 595, 597, 613 and 615
98A: 633

Google screen grab of the possible city view you may be able to enjoy.

Image: Google

Other considerations:

  • Stacks 595 and 597 face the bin centre directly, although it’s about a good 32.6 metres away. Still, smell travels (even with the Pneumatic Waste Conveyance System) and more so whenever the waste disposal trucks come by.
  • Whether it’s to Havelock MRT or Tiong Bahru MRT, the walking distance isn’t too far from Havelock Hillside. But if you have a preference for which MRT to be nearer to, do take into account what block your preferred stacks are at. Go for a unit at Blk 97A if you want a closer walking distance to Havelock MRT station and a unit at Blk 98A if you want to be closer to the
  • Tiong Bahru MRT station.
    Along with stack 609, stacks 601, 603, 605 and 607 are also directly facing the existing HDB block 16, which has 9 storeys. Avoid those stacks on the lower floors (9th floor and below) if you don’t want people from the block looking into your unit.

Unit Analysis for Alexandra Vale

Go for units facing away from the MRT tracks

When it comes to Alexandra Vale, one of the main things to take note of when choosing a unit here is whether it overlooks the aboveground MRT tracks, because that would likely mean you get the full brunt of the noise whenever the trains pass through. That can be annoying for some. There is some effort however to build the BTO further inwards and away from the tracks, with the car park and other amenities serving as a noise buffer as well. Still, because of the small site, we think noise levels from the tracks will still be relatively high.

Besides noise, there’s also the issue of privacy. You don’t want to pick a unit that’s right on the eye level of train passengers.

In general, we would recommend avoiding track-facing stacks. But they are not all equal; we noted down the varying distances between the track-facing stacks and the tracks themselves so you can see which of these stacks are closer to the tracks and which are further away:

Quieter units

Besides avoiding track-facing stacks, you’ll also want to stay away from stacks that are facing or close to areas where people tend to gather e.g. playgrounds, fitness corners, childcare centre, car park, pavilions, future hard court and drop-off points as well as the nearby swimming complex if you are looking for a quieter unit. You may also want to avoid the stacks facing the road, Alexandra View. While it’s not an arterial one and it doesn’t have buses running through, we think Alexandra View can get quite busy since it leads into one of the main nodes for amenities (Artra condo) in this area.

These are the best units for peace and quiet:

Colour code:
Green = 3-room
Yellow = 4-room

109A: 207, 209, 211, 213

Cooler units without the afternoon sun

Here’s how the afternoon moves at Alexandra Vale. From October, the afternoon sun will be from the northwest direction, while from April, it will come from the southwest direction. Look for these two stacks if you want to avoid bearing the brunt of the heat:

109A: 215
109B: 235

Note that these two stacks are east-facing, so you are likely going to get quite a bit of the morning sun even as you escape the afternoon heat.

Units with more privacy

Want units with more privacy? Make sure you go for ones that are located at the corners (no one walking by and looking in) and away from the lifts and rubbish chutes (these areas tend to have higher footfall).

109A: 201, 205, 207, 217, 219
109B: 221, 225, 239

Units with unblocked views

A big part of Alexandra Vale is surrounded by relatively tall condominiums, so not every stack will be able to get unblocked views that span a distance. Most of the stacks that do get unblocked views are overlooking the MRT tracks (stacks 201, 203, 205, 217, 219, 221, 223, 225, 237, 239), so you’ll want to weigh your options here and see if you are able to sacrifice quiet over unblocked views. Our recommendation is to pick a much higher floor if you do happen to choose a stack overlooking the tracks in the hopes that you won’t be too affected by track noise.

Stack 215 is the outlier here as it has unblocked views but doesn’t face the MRT tracks. It isn’t the quietest stack since it overlooks the Delta Swimming Complex, which is currently closed for renovations, so we can’t tell how busy it gets. Pre-renovation, the public pool wasn’t overly popular because of its age but it does get decent traffic during evenings and weekends.

Other considerations:

  • Folks relying on the MRT as their main mode of transport will find it useful to go for a unit at block 109B since it’s located closer to the entrances of the MRT.
  • With Alexandra Vale, there are some stacks (201, 203, 205, 217, 219) that are practically adjoining the car park. We wouldn't recommend picking the lower floor units (~4th floor and below) on those stacks since you are likely to be directly subjected to the activities on the rooftop of the car park as well as the revving and fumes of the engines from vehicles.

Floor Plans

3-room

There are several differences between the 3-room units for Havelock Hillside and Alexandra Vale. The household shelter is located within the walking for Havelock Hillside, while at Alexandra Vale, it's located near the entrance.

The latter allows for a larger, open kitchen. There's even space to do up a breakfast counter as suggested by HDB. But if you are Team #ClosedKitchen or it's not an important area of the house for you, then consider Havelock Hillside's 3-room layout as it provides you with a roomier living room.

Alexandra Vale's 3-room layout is great for those who want to change things up layout-wise, as there are no structural walls between the rooms so it affords you more flexibility to hack walls.

4-room

There's only one 4-room layout option for Havelock Hillside, so you can't choose. The household shelter's located near the entrance of the home, freeing up space in the communal areas for more flexibility.

With Alexandra Vale, there are two options for the 4-room flats to choose from. You can pick the one that has the household shelter by the walkway (option 1) or the household shelter near the entrance (option 2) for greater flexibility in the kitchen design.

While Option 1 does limit your kitchen design options (it's likely you will have to stick to galley style), it provides you with a lengthier living room which affords you other design possibilities such as doing a feature wall that stretches across the length of the house or combining your living and dining areas together. Still, our choice's for Option 2 if you are going 4-room at Alexandra Vale. The household shelter by the entrance is convenient for shoe storage, while the open kitchen affords the versatility to consider your design at a later stage without worrying about it now.

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