Forett at Bukit Timah Review
July 3, 2020
Latest Update! Forett at Bukit Timah sold 30% over opening weekend starting on 8 August 2020, check out the article here.
Some recent news coverage for Forett: Forett at Bukit Timah opens for preview at prices starting from $1,800 psf, July 25 2020, EdgeProp Singapore.
If you are on the lookout for a Freehold new launch at this point in time, besides Forett, the only other choice would be the upcoming The Linq @ Beauty World, which is slated to launch at a much higher psf than Forett.
Forett at Bukit Timah
After the circuit breaker and reopening with Phase 2, Forett at Bukit Timah is set to be the first project to launch.
A bit of background about Forett at Bukit Timah: this is the site of the former Goodluck Garden that was sold enbloc to Qingjian Group of Companies for $610 million. This enbloc deal occured in 2018, a year in which the enbloc fever was still in place, marking it as the third largest en bloc deal to be awarded that year, following Park West’s transaction of S$841m in Jan 2018 (now being redeveloped as Parc Clematis) and Pearl Bank Apartments of $728m in Feb 2018 (now being redeveloped as One Pearl Bank).
This particular deal made the headlines in June 2018, with 7 minority owners objecting to the sale of Goodluck Garden. The owners claimed that the Collective Sales Committee and their marketing agent had told residents there would be a development charge (DC) for the site, but it turned out near the end of the tender period that there would be no such charge. And therefore they were contesting that if this information was made known to them, it is likely that the owners would have wanted a higher reserve price. The owners further argued that the CSC should have stopped the tender process to seek a fresh mandate on the reserve price, held a re-tender, or extended the tender period.
Goodluck Garden is a 210-unit freehold residential development, occupying a fairly large freehold plot spanning a site area of 33,457.0sqm. With a potential gross floor area of 46,840.08 sqm, the transaction translated to a land price of about S$1,210 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr). However, due to a high development baseline, a development charge will not be payable for the 10-per-cent bonus balcony and this helped to lower the land price to S$1,100 psf ppr.
This, we believe, is currently the lowest land bid price for a freehold development in Bukit Timah area.
Forett at Bukit Timah – What’s In The Name?
Situated in Bukit Timah, where the green lungs of Singapore (Bukit Timah Nature Reserve) are at, there is a natural tendency to pay tribute to the lush greenery and forest that is in the area.
The name “Forett” takes inspiration from ‘le foret’, which means ‘forest’ in French.
And since it is along Toh Tuck Road, a ‘t’ was added to the end of the word ‘foret’, becoming “Forett”.
Forett at Bukit Timah Project Information
Forett at Bukit Timah occupies a very large land plot at 360,130sqft, although Signature Park right next to it occupies an even larger land plot at 786,125 sqft.
The development consists of 13 blocks in total. 4 of these 9-storeys tall, and 9 of these are 5-storeys tall. There are also 2 shops in the development.
It is interesting to note that the land that Forett at Bukit Timah is situated on is of a plot ratio of 1.4. Typically for a plot ratio of 1.4, the maximum building height is at 5 storeys. However, we have gotten to know from the developer that special permission was sought for 4 blocks at Forett to be 9 storeys tall.
This has the effect of requiring less space to house all 633 units, and hence more open space for residents to use.
Here is the unit mix:
- 1 bedroom + study, 474 to 495 sq ft, 76 units
- 2 bedrooms, 549 to 603 sq ft, 72 units
- 2 bedrooms + study, 689 to 764 sq ft, 149 units
- 2 bedroom deluxe, 732 to 764 sq ft, 93 units
- 3 bedroom, 947 to 980 sq ft, 119 units
- 3 bedroom premium, 1055 to 1109 sq ft, 28 units
- 3 bedroom dual-key, 1033 sq ft, 29 units
- 4 bedroom premium, 1281 to 1356 sq ft, 50 units
- 4 bedroom suite, 1442 sq ft, 9 units
- 5 bedroom suite, 1884 sq ft, 8 units
Forett at Bukit Timah – Site Plan
Looking at the Site Plan of Forett, we can see that most of the units are north-south oriented.
There are some stacks that are not – the stacks along the row from 81 to 91. Also, stacks 73 and 78 will face the west directly. We have news that the units that are not north-south facing will have solar glazing on the windows to reduce the effect of the west sun.
At the same time, do also note that the land plot is across different elevations. The land plot on the western most side is on higher ground, and the land plot towards the eastern side is on lower ground. Also, the blocks on the western most side are 9 storeys high, whereas the other blocks are 5 storeys high, so for buyers worried about the west sun, there will be shadows cast by the taller blocks onto the lower blocks.
Forett at Bukit Timah Actual Location
Forett at Bukit Timah’s actual location is along Toh Tuck Road, the site of the former Goodluck Garden, and is approximately 11mins walk from Beauty World MRT.
There are a lot of amenities in this area. For foodies, there is the Bukit Timah Food Centre, a place covered extensively by many food bloggers. The famous stalls here include Sin Chew Satay Bee Hoon, He Zhong Carrot Cake, Yong Seng Satay, etc.
Also, the stretch of food stalls along Cheong Chin Nam Road is also immensely popular, with some famous stalls including Joo Seng Teochew Porridge, Al-Azhar Eating Restaurant, Five Star Hainanese Chicken Rice, etc.
For your grocery needs, there is a FairPrice finest at Bukit Timah Plaza, and a Giant Supermarket at Beauty World Centre.
Forett is located close to a number of good schools, namely
- Bukit Timah Primary School (0.4km)
- Pei Hwa Presbyterian School (0.8km)
- Kemin Primary School (1.5km)
- Bukit View Primary School (1.8km)
- Methodist Girls’ School (1.8km)
The Convenience of MRT
One aspect well worth mentioning is how convenient the DownTown Line is.
From the nearest MRT Station at Beauty World, taking the DownTown line allows you to connect across all 5 of the other MRT lines, including the Stevens Station under the Thomson East Coast Line. And since we know that the Cross Island Line will cut through Bukit Timah area, this will create the 6th interchange along the Downtown Line.
This sheer convenience means that residents along the Downtown Line can get anywhere easily.
Forett at Bukit Timah Developer
Forett is developed by Qingjian Perennial, which is a partnership between Qingjian Realty and Perennail Real Estate Holdings.
Qingjian Realty (South Pacific) Group Pte Ltd (“Qingjian Realty”) is the Southeast Asian regional headquarters for Qingjian Group’s real estate development arm, which has a presence in China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Qingjian Realty focuses on property development in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors in Singapore. Some of its recently completed residential projects include:
- Le Quest
- iNz Residence
- The Visionaire
Albeit being a China developer, it is well worth noting that Qingjian International’s development Hougang Capeview received the Conquas Star rating administered by the Building and Construction Authority. The Build-to-Order (BTO) project, Hougang Capeview, was also one of 12 projects for which contractors won Housing Board (HDB) Construction Awards in the year 2015.
At the same time, Jadescape won the Best Smart Building Development win at the 8th annual PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Singapore). At this point in writing, Jadescape has already sold more than 70% of its 1212 units.
Perennial Real Estate Holdings Limited (“Perennial”) is an integrated real estate and healthcare company that focuses on large-scale mixed-use developments.
One of Perennial’s landmark residential projects is the Eden Residences Capitol, an exclusive residences within Capitol Singapore which also comprises the luxurious The Capitol Kempinski Hotel, strategically located in Singapore’s Civic District and boasting remarkable views of the Marina Bay area and beyond.
Other upcoming residential projects include those within Beijing Tongzhou Integrated Development and Xi’an North High Speed Railway Integrated Development in China, The Light City in Penang, Malaysia, and Sentul City, Greater Jakarta, Indonesia.
The Bukit Timah Transformation
Something important to take note of, is the upcoming transformations that are set to take place in the Bukit Timah region.
These transformations impact all the developments in the area, not just Forett, but for any investor who is looking for a freehold development at this point in time, Forett (and the upcoming Linq) are the obvious choices.
The Integrated Transport Hub
Perhaps the most interesting of all is the number of transformations happening around Beauty World MRT area, chief of which is the Integrated Transport Hub.
Referencing this article from 30 June 2020, Dual-envelope tender launched for Jalan Anak Bukit site, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) launched a “dual envelope” tender of a choice site at Jalan Anak Bukit for a landmark residential and commercial development with a bus interchange to help rejuvenate the Beauty World area. This underlies the development of the 11th Integrated Transport Hub, of which we have 10 currently: Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Boon Lay, Clementi, Joo Koon, Sengkang, Serangoon, Toa Payoh, Yishun and Bukit Panjang.
Where the Bukit Timah market is currently located, it will be shifted out (but shifted back again!) to build the Bukit Timah Community Building. This will be a one-stop integrated facility with a Community Club, redeveloped market & hawker centre at the doorstep of Beauty World MRT station. It will also feature a range of new amenities such as an indoor sports hall, community library and elderly facility to enhance liveability.
Lovers of the Bukit Timah area naturally also love the abundance of lush greenery in the area. An additional touch of green coming into the area is in the form of the 24km Rail Corridor, which lies along a former railway line used for commuting and transporting goods between Singapore and the rest of the Malay peninsula.
Of note is the Bukit Timah-Rochor Green Corridor, which will run parallel to the Bukit Timah Canal and give cyclists and pedestrians a continuous path between Jurong Lake Gardens, the Singapore Botanic Gardens and Gardens by the Bay.
The Cross Island Line
Touted as Singapore’s most ambitious MRT line, the 50km Cross Island Line spanning the entire Singapore runs fully underground, with Phase 1 having been confirmed.
One portion of the Cross Island Line is set to cut through Bukit Timah, and the authorities spent 6 years deciding whether the MRT line should skirt around the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, or cut underneath it. Finally, it was decided that the line will cut through directly 70m underneath the Nature Reserve.
Looking at the way that the alignment has been designed, this means the formation of an additional interchange station at either Beauty World MRT or King Albert Park MRT.
Forett at Bukit Timah – Possible Downsides
Given a large scale, lush development like this, what’s there not to like?
We’d have to say that if you are purchasing with the intention to walk to and from the Beauty World MRT station, the walk definitely isn’t that near. Plus, it is not a sheltered walk, so you are at the mercy of the elements if it rains.
Also, if you are purchasing with the intention to rent it out, being situated further from the MRT will also impact its rentability somewhat.
Lastly, if you are looking for views of the Bukit Timah greenery, take note that the development right beside, which is Signature Park, stands at 10 storeys tall so you’d really need to spend some time analysing the site plan of Forett to find out which stacks have views of Bukit Timah.
Forett at Bukit Timah being launched just after the lifting of lockdown restrictions is an interesting time. On one hand, there will be buyers who view the pandemic as a great time to enter the market, because once the market picks up and recovers, prices will rise as well. On the other hand, there will also be buyers with a “wait and see attitude”.
However, what is for sure is that the Bukit Timah area is undergoing a major transformation – whilst this also means that the effects will ripple on towards all other new launches in the area, Forett is the largest freehold land plot being launched at this time.
Buyers who enjoy the greenery of Bukit Timah will enjoy the development – it is located in the quiet, private enclave off the busier Upper Bukit Timah stretch, and although with 633 units, it does not feel as cramped.
The downsides for buyers to take notice of is the distance from the MRT, and for buyers keen on picturesque views of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, our best advice is to visit the showflat and study the site plan in further detail to identify the blocks with better views.
This is one development which freehold and nature lovers should not miss.