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Nov 2021 BTO: Analysis for River Peaks I and II at Rochor

The pilot projects under HDB’s Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) scheme, River Peaks I and II are one of the most anticipated BTOs for Nov 2021. We take a look at what’s around the area (lots!) and check out the best units to get for this development.

BTO River Peaks I and II
Location Along Kelantan Road and Weld Road
Total no. of units 960
Unit types 3- and 4-room units
No. of blocks 6, including a rental stack (Stack 106) at River Peaks I
Highest floor 47
Estimated completion date 2Q2028
Indicative Pricing $409K to $474K for 3-room
$582K to $688K for 4-room
Nearest MRT station Jalan Besar MRT on the Downtown Line
Surrounding amenities (within a 15-min walk) Malls and Supermarket
• On-site supermarket at River Peaks I
• Bugis Junction (Cold Storage)
• Bugis+
• City Square Mall (Fairprice and Don Don Donki)
• Tekka Place (Fairprice)
Market/Hawker Centre
• Berseh Food Centre
• Tekka Centre
• Albert Centre
Others
• Haji Lane
• Eateries and cafes along Jalan Besar
• Mustafa Centre
Schools within 1-km (estimated) • Farrer Park Primary School (merging with
Stamford Primary School in 2023)
• St. Margaret’s Primary School (It will be moving back to their 99 Wilkie Road address from Jan 2024)

Restrictions under HDB’s Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) Model

Before we delve further into our analysis, here’s a summary of some restrictions you are expected to face as a homeowner if you get a PLH model BTO.

PLH Model Flat Conventional BTO Flat
MOP before able to sell 10 years 5 years
Who can you sell the flat to
after MOP?
• Applicant must have one Singapore Citizen
• Family nucleus; singles not allowed
• Income ceiling of $14,000
• Cannot own private property
• At least one applicant can be Singapore Citizen or Singapore PR
• Family nucleus or singles aged above 35
• Can own private property but have to dispose within six months of buying resale flat
Subsidies and Priorities • Given more subsidies on top of the usual subsidies
• But a percentage of the resale price will be returned to HDB as a means to recover the additional subsidies given (subsidy recovery*)
• Married Child Priority Scheme priority quota will be reduced to two-thirds of the usual quotas. Up to 20% for first-time families and up to 2% for second-time families.
• The usual subsidies and priorities accorded to BTO flats.
Rent out conditions • Can rent out bedrooms from the start
• Not allowed to rent out whole flat at all times
• Can rent out bedrooms from the start
• Whole flat after 5 years
Can buy private property? Yes, after 10 years Yes, after 5 years

*Subsidy recovery: For River Peaks I and II, the amount to be recovered from the flat buyers is fixed at 6 percent of the higher of the resale price or valuation, and will apply regardless of when the flats are sold in future.

Site Visit and Analysis

Sitting along Rochor Canal, part of the site for the BTOs used to be home to the former Sungei Road flea market, otherwise also known as the Thieves’ Market. In 2017, it was forced to close due to plans to redevelop the area. Included in this plan was to create more residential homes, eventually manifesting as these two BTO developments, linked via a bridge.

Rochor Canal (right) is situated next to the BTOs.

River Peaks II is also located right next to Sim Lim Tower, which interestingly underwent its first en-bloc attempt this year. If successful, the building will make way for another high-rise commercial project, but you will likely have to contend with some construction works happening in the interim.

The surrounding area is a hive of activity. Very busy roads, particularly along Jalan Besar, and very high footfall. Driving around the area will also be relatively stressful because of the heavy traffic. Come nightfall, the shophouses across the road and along Jalan Besar housing motels, hostels, late-night eateries, massage parlours and KTVs come alive. There is definitely a shady connotation in this area, but its prime locale and its abundance of amenities can make one forget that.

Rows of conserved shophouses for commercial activities (left) are located across the road from the BTOs.

One of the biggest new developments residents at River Peaks I and II can expect is the North-South Corridor, a new expressway starting from Woodlands all the way to the Central Business District. Scheduled for completion by 2026, it will bypass neighbourhoods like Yishun, Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh, Serangoon as well as Rochor (at the former Rochor Centre site) and will encompass bus and cycling lanes that will boost Singapore’s car-lite vision.

There are a number of big, glitzy shopping malls within a short walking distance: Bugis+ (9-min walk), Bugis Junction (10-min walk), and City Square Mall (12-min walk). The nearest hawker centres are just down the road at Besar Food Centre (5-min walk) or across the Rochor Canal at Albert Market and Food Centre (8-min walk). For groceries, the nearest one is available on site at River Peaks I on the first floor.

Bugis Junction.

The nearest MRT station to the BTOs is Jalan Besar, on the Downtown Line, with one of the exits located at the River Peaks II site. But if you are looking to hop onto the North-East Line or the East-West Line, Little India Interchange (Downtown/North-East) and Bugis Interchange (Downtown/East-West) are just a 10- and 11-min walk away respectively.

The BTOs are within walking distance to three MRT stations.

Sure you have all the amenities and convenience nearby, but the restrictions are likely going to put a damper on things. Alternatively, if you can wait a bit longer, Feb 2022’s Kallang/Whampoa BTO site looks set to be located near these Rochor BTOs. We aren’t absolutely sure if they will be subjected to the PLH restrictions though.

3-room

For unblocked and canal views:

  • Stacks 113 and 115 are situated right in front of Rochor canal. Beyond that is a small reserve site, a church (with a height restriction of 5 storeys). And beyond those is the upcoming North-South Corridor, so you do get quite a distance of unblocked views.
  • Stacks 122 and 124 are further away from Rochor canal, but you are likely to still get relatively decent views especially if you are on a higher level.
  • Stack 108, situated next to the stack of rental flats, is facing existing HDB block 30 on Kelantan Road. Block 30 is 16 storeys. Get a unit above that for unblocked views.

Noise from human activity zones:

  • While some of the human activity zones are placed on the first storey, there are some human activity zones (pavilion and playground) that are situated on the landscape deck itself. This can pose a noise problem for some stacks since the units all start above the landscape deck. These stacks include 108, 122 and 124 that are located close to these human activity zones on the landscape deck.

Some of the facilities, including a supermarket and an F&B outlet, are located on the first floor, away from the units.

No afternoon sun:

  • Stack 107 is least likely to get the afternoon sun, seeing as it is partially blocked by neighbouring stacks.

4-room

Better layout:

  • There are two layouts to choose from for 4-room units.
  • The main differences lie in the kitchen. Layout 1 has a galley kitchen layout, while Layout 2 comes with a boxier kitchen. For Layout 2, you can consider hacking the wall between the yard and the kitchen for a roomier cooking zone with more prep countertop space. For those considering an open kitchen, Layout 1 may be more conducive.
  • The bomb shelter door opens up to the kitchen in Layout 2, which is great if you are using the bomb shelter as a pantry. If you are using the bomb shelter as general storage or a shoe storage, consider going for Layout 1 instead, which has the bomb shelter door opening out into the foyer.
  • The living/dining area in Layout 1 is set in a linear layout and comes with a long wall, which is a better option for uninterrupted storage. Layout 2 has the living/dining area in two different segments. Also, Layout 2 has the entrance opening up right into the living room. So unless you are going to do some layout changes, it may not be ideal since you won’t have a foyer area.

For unblocked and canal views:

  • Stacks 100, 101, 102, 103, 110 and 112 are overlooking Rochor canal. Beyond that is a small reserve site, a church (with a height restriction of 5 storeys). And beyond those is the North-South Corridor. Plenty of uninterrupted views.
  • Stack 121 is located further in, so it’s some distance away from Rochor canal, but you will still enjoy unblocked views.
  • Stack 109 facing the conserved shophouses along Jalan Besar may also enjoy decent unblocked views. These conserved shophouses have a maximum 4-storey height restriction.

The dark blue zones represent conservation sites, according to the map from URA.

For privacy:

  • Most of the blocks are four units to one (save for block 36A with the rental stack) and are located near the lifts, so there isn’t one stack that enjoys exceptional privacy. But having a unit not facing the lifts will afford you just a bit more privacy than the rest. These are the stacks to pick: 100, 101, 102, 103, 109, 110, 111, 112, 117, 118, 119 and 120. Interesting to note that these stacks are also of Layout 2.

No afternoon sun:

  • Go for stacks 116 and 121, which will be able to receive some shade from neighbouring blocks so you won’t get the brunt of the afternoon sun.

Noise from human activity zones:

  • While some of the human activity zones are placed on the first storey, there are some human activity zones (pavilion, trellis (possibly with seating), fitness corners and playgrounds) that are situated on the landscape deck itself. This can pose a noise problem since the units all start above the landscape deck. You may want to avoid stacks 104, 109, 110, 118, 119, 120 and 123 that are located very close to these human activity zones on the landscape deck, especially ones on the lower floors.

Some of the facilities and amenities at River Peaks I and II will be located on the landscape deck.

Facing the MRT entrance and MRT ventilation shaft:

  • Noise levels and foot traffic are likely going to be high near the MRT entrance, so take note if you are going for Stacks 117 and 119.
  • For stacks 118 and 120 facing the MRT ventilation shaft, you may be affected by air flow noise or warmer temperatures from the ventilation shaft.

Traffic noise:

  • Most of the 4-room units are unlikely to face traffic noise, since there is a decent amount of buffer. Stacks likeliest to be affected by traffic noise are 110 and 112, which face Weld Road/Arab Street. These are pretty major roads.

 

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