The following is a summary of my discussion with Jeremy Tan from PropNex, the Project IC of the highly anticipated Forett at Bukit Timah. Hear and watch the full information he had to share about the project in a 2 part exclusive video discussion Part 1 and Part 2!
As the first major project launch in Phase II, Forett at Bukit Timah may just be the light at the end of the tunnel for Singapore post-circuit breaker. Read on to learn more about the development, as we cover the following:
- Why Beauty World is a Property Hotspot
- What Differentiates Forett at Bukit Timah to other New Launches
- Forett at Bukit Timah Preview Pricing Analysis
- Architectural Designs, Site & Floor Plans
- Recommended Stacks & Units
- Objections to Forett at Bukit Timah
Let’s dive right in!
All about Forett at Bukit Timah
Developed by Qingjian Perennial, a joint venture between Qingjian Realty and Perennial Real Estate Holdings, Forett at Bukit Timah is a property close to nature.
Located near the Bukit Timah Reserve in District 21, it was named precisely in homage to the greenery it’s surrounded by.
Patterned after ‘Le Foret,’ French for forest, Forett was designed with the Singaporean pronunciation in mind by dropping the ‘le’, and adding an extra ‘t’ at the back to make ‘Forett’.
The ‘tt’, representative of Toh Tuck, its address.
Forett comprises of four nine-storey blocks, nine five-storey blocks, two levels of basement carparks, and two shops.
Overall, it has a total of 633 units with sizes ranging from 474 sq.ft. 1-bedroom+study units to 1884 sq.ft. 5-bedroom suites.
Why Beauty World is a Property Hotspot
According to Jeremy, Beauty World is a “largely private and landed enclave”.
Any new launches would have to be a redevelopment of a former site or a repurposing/rezoning of existing land plots.
In the past couple of years, however, there’s been an influx of properties being developed in Beauty World. Why is that so?
Beauty World is undergoing what Jeremy calls a GIC Transformation, based on the Singapore brand that signifies transparency and stability.
Here’s how it’s happening in the area:
The former railway tracks that linked Cantonment all the way to Malaysia is being redeveloped into a green space: the Rail Corridor.
Though Singapore is called the “Garden City,” green spaces are hard to come by, and has an increasing premium.
He adds that Greenery enhances the value of properties.
There’s a new integrated transport hub coming, with shopping and residences likely to have a direct connection to the MRT station.
In addition to that, the Cross Island line is something to look forward to in the longer term.
It’s possible the interchange will be placed in Beauty World (although it also may be placed in King Albert Park).
The size of commercial land is around 33,000 sqm, which is similar to the Jurong Point Integrated Transport Hub at Boon Lay.
Having a commercial development of that size in Beauty World would increase demand in that area and correspondingly push up prices.
Forett at Bukit Timah vs. other new launches
In Jeremy’s opinion, Forett at Bukit Timah sets itself apart through SET: Size, Elevation, and Tenure.
The development sits on land that measures 360,000 sq.ft., which is larger than some of the other new launches Daintree Residences, View at Kismis, and The Linq at Beauty World combined. It also has a long 300m frontage, making it more prominent in the area.
Forett at Bukit Timah can go up to nine storeys, though it sits on a five-storey, 1.4 plot ratio land. Residents can expect to get beautiful panoramic views because the development is surrounded by private, landed, five-storey buildings.
Unlike other Beauty World new launches which are leasehold, Forett at Bukit Timah is freehold.
Analysing pricing at Forett at Bukit Timah
One of my clients recently told me about some concerns he had regarding the estimated high prices of Forett. He had heard that it would cost around $1,800 or $1,900 per square foot. In that case, the premium over the surrounding resale properties would result in a difference of over 20%.
I asked Jeremy, considering this, if property at Forett is worth investing in. He explained that it would be better to compare Forett’s pricing with the rest of Singapore, not just one area.
Comparing Forett vs other launches
In the Rest of Central Region (RCR), properties such as Sky Everton, Amber Park, and Verticus reached prices of $2,000 to $2,500+ psf in 2019. Looking at these numbers, one can say Forett’s pricing as a comparable property in the RCR is quite decent.
In the Outside Central Region (OCR), properties such as Urban Treasures, Lattice One, and Parc Komo reached prices of $1,500 to $1,900 despite not being in prime areas. Parc Komo is located in Changi, while Lattice One is in the Sembawang Hills area and Urban Treasures is along Bedok Reservoir Road.
However, these prices are from 2019.
I asked Jeremy if the possible prices of Forett would have already taken into account the current COVID-19 situation.
According to him, there’s no reason Forett would launch at $1,800-$1,900 psf prices in normal circumstances.
That’s because, looking at the 2 bedroom units of surrounding new launch developments such as Daintree Residence, Mont Botanik Residence and View at Kismis, they already average $1,600 to $1,700+ psf.
Mayfair Gardens and Mayfair Modern, which had around the same land cost as Forett at Bukit Timah, are selling at $1,900 to $2,000+ psf.
And these were before COVID-19.
Comparing Forett at Bukit Timah pricing to resale
Jeremy explained that at Forett, a 2-bedroom unit would start at around $1.08 million. He expects them to go for $1.2 million to $1.3 million on average, though premium units might go for $1.4 – 1.5 million.
On the other hand, the 2 bedroom units at surrounding resale developments are sold at $1.3 million to $1.5 million in recent transactions over the last year.
Jeremy emphasized that given buyers’ willingness to pay this much for a resale condo, Forett at Bukit Timah, being a newly launched condo with new facilities and designs that appeals to the modern buyer, is fair.
He also went on explain the lower psf in the resale projects nearby by looking at their floor plans.
Using Terrene at Bukit Timah as an example, Jeremy found that the units, which were sold at around $1.5 million each, were of a previous generation.
The balcony is the same size as the living room, with the aircon ledge and bay windows adding up to 30-35% of the entire unit floor area.
Removing these outdoor spaces would make it similar in size and psf to Forett at Bukit Timah.
Pricing of New Launches along the Downtown Line
I noticed that Mont Botanik, located 2km further north sold for 1600 to 1700 psf, while Royalgreen, 2km further east sold for 2700 psf.
In theory, Forett at Bukit Timah, located equidistance between both should be at the in-between of around 2200 to 2300 psf.
Jeremy agreed, pointing out that properties increase in price along the Downtown Line as you move closer towards the city.
In Cashew, Bukit 828 went for around 1500+ psf.
He again points out that Forett at Bukit Timah should go for 2200-2400 psf, but the current COVID-19 situation and the fact that the land was one of the first plots purchased in the en bloc cycle has given the developer flexibility to make the property more attractively priced.
Forett at Bukit Timah Floor and Site plans
The development boasts sky terraces, lawn spaces, mirror pools, a karaoke room, and a function room in the middle.
The driveway into Forett is uniquely designed and it’s something you don’t see often.
Instead of right at the entrance, there’s a drive way in… which somewhat gives it a similar feel to a private landed property.
Jeremy said the developers were going for an understated, classy style that would bring the green spaces into living spaces through glass function rooms, open function rooms with natural themes, cascading waterfalls, and five pools throughout Forett.
The main pool is 50m large, while the other three are 25-30m, in addition to a kiddie pool.
Here’s a peek into the floor plans of different units in Forett at Bukit Timah.
The 2-bedroom (Compact): I found the kitchen to be efficiently designed, considering 2-bedrooms around this size usually have a kitchen in a straight line flushed to the wall.
Being L-shaped adds some usability, potentially adding the option of enclosing it.
With only less than 20 units of this layout on offer, Jeremy thinks this type of unit will sell out on the first day of launch!
The 2-bedroom deluxe: It is a pioneering layout which allows for the kitchen to be enclosed and at the same time have natural ventilation.
But it also means the kitchen is right beside the master bedroom.
I asked Jeremy if this would cause any issues and he said that the likely target buyers for this unit type probably wouldn’t cook a lot, and even if they do, modern appliances help to keep things simple and clean!
Furthermore, there are lots of restaurants nearby.
Thankfully there’s a show unit for this interesting layout and I personally would be interested to see buyers’ response.
The 3-bedroom dual-key: As experience tells me, dual key units can suffer if the ‘studio’ portion isn’t well equipped.
For example, some without their own washer or kitchenette.
Hence making it more like a ‘room’ than a studio.
So it’s very impressive to see the developers being able to squeeze together a fully equipped studio AND a regular 2-bedroom with a closed kitchen and household shelter to boot.
The 3-bedroom premium: Especially attractive to families, this layout has a household shelter and bathroom which caters to those with an additional helper.
Specifically, the developer included a round dining table instead of a rectangular one to showcase the spaciousness of the layout.
Overall, I agree with Jeremy that the floor plans at Forett at Bukit Timah are very efficient, with smaller than usual balcony and aircon ledge spaces, as well as good ventilation.
We also notice a return of household shelters within new homes due to a recent tweak in fire safety regulations.
For the chefs, gas stoves are available for the enclosed kitchens with windows in the 2-bedroom units, as well as 3-bedroom units and larger layouts.
Which are the Premium Blocks in Forett at Bukit Timah?
When asked which blocks he considered premium, premium facing, and entry-level, Jeremy explained that units at Forett are mostly north-south-facing.
This maximizes natural throughflow and good views.
Any units with a west orientation have an additional solar tint to reduce glare and heat.
The best units
High floor east facing units enjoy a view of Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, while units towards the south have a view of landed areas.
The most premium are the 5-bedroom suites in stack 51 and 4-bedroom suites in stack 27 which gives the best pool view in the house.
The best value
For the smaller layouts, on first glance it appears the north-facing units in stacks 45-50 look out towards the tennis court.
However, Jeremy shared that the tennis court is actually recessed.
Meaning, from the second floor units, you can get views into open space.
These would probably be the value buys, as well as the other north facing compact units in stacks 48 and 49.
For the 3-bedrooms of best value, Jeremy’s pick are those that face south towards the private or landed areas, specifically in stacks 4, 10, 94, 90, and 82.
They have good block to block distance and are conveniently located within the development.
Objections to Forett at Bukit Timah
“It’s too cramped”
A client of mine was worried that the development seemed cramped based on the available site plan, so I brought this up with Jeremy.
His answer was that since the land size of Forett is so large, it helps to have a frame of reference when studying the site plan.
Using an example of the long pool in the development being 50m, it means the buildings at either end of the pool have more than 50m between them.
Same for some of the other smaller 25m pools as well as the long 300m frontage.
We both agreed that it’s important to take a look at the model for a better feel.
“Investment potential doesn’t look great”
The Creek, a new launch a few years back, didn’t do well in terms of investment returns, so potential investors worry that Forett at Bukit Timah may turn out the same.
In Jeremy’s opinion, the disappointing investment returns of The Creek were due to the construction and redevelopment in the vicinity. (Daintree Residences and View at Kismis)
I agreed with this, seeing as I had previously brought clients to view secondhand units at The Creek, and many raised concerns with dust and noise in the area.
Having construction right next door would surely impact rental and resale values.
Also there weren’t a lot of concrete plans in Beauty World back then, as opposed to now where announcements have been made and transformation is underway.
Taking Advantage of Pandemic Prices
Interest has been building up among buyers excited to preview Forett at Bukit Timah.
Jeremy said they should be looking to start physical previews after July 10 post elections.
In Jeremy’s opinion, because of COVID-19, there is a rare opportunity to invest in Forett, a freehold development, at the same price as Mayfair, a leasehold development. .
Is this purchasing Freehold at Leasehold price?
Forett at Bukit Timah will reportedly launch at 18xx-20xx psf.
A 1-bedroom + study unit will be priced starting from $888,000 and a 2-bedroom priced from $1.08 million.
A 3-bedroom will probably be priced from $1.8x million, but Jeremy said anything below would be a steal.
*Latest update is preview to start on the 25th of July by Expression of Interest only*
If you’re interested in Forett at Bukit Timah, feel free to reach out and register for the preview by contacting Jeremy directly at +65 8877 5599 or dropping him a message at the following link: https://bit.ly/3cJvjIJ
Disclaimer: I am not a marketing agent for Forett at Bukit Timah, and information herein is used with permission and meant to help my readers make a more informed decision regarding the project. For the full conversation and other useful and fun real estate content, head over to my YouTube Channel.