The crest condo review: Giant pool + bigger than usual units

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

 Our verdict:

77 per cent

  • Unit efficiency 3.5/5
  • Unit size 4/5
  • Quality of fittings 4/5
  • Design 3/5
  • Variety of facilities 4.5/5
  • Quality of facilities 4/5
  • Surrounding amenities 3.5/5
  • Developer 4.5/5
  • Transport links 3.5/5
  • Driving accessibility 4/5
  • Upkeep of property 4/5
  • Price point 3.5/5

The Crest offers buyers a chance to own a home in a central location while enjoying unblocked views, but it's not exactly the most affordable option out there.

What we like What we don't like
Big pool 11-min walk to mrt
Good facilities Could do with more deck chairs
Bigger than usual units  

 

Project: The Crest
District: 03
Address: Prince Charles Crescent
Tenure: 99-year Leasehold
No. of Units: 469
Site Area: 256,026 sqft
Developer: Wingcrown Investment Pte Ltd
TOP: 2017

‘Life peaks at the top’.

Now that’s a slogan that befits The Crest in more ways than one.

Before I go into greater detail on that however, allow me to first share a little more about our project today.

The Crest is a 99-year leasehold condo built by Wing Tai Asia (TOP-ed 2018) with the aid of renown architect Toyo Ito (recipient of the esteemed Pritzker Prize back in 2013).

To say that the towers at The Crest are of a unique structure would probably be a keen understatement.

For those who frequent Alexandra Road, you’d likely recall three distinct towers with units extending outward at varying heights (somewhat resembling a blooming flower’s petals if you will).

This unique architecture provides stark contrast to neighbouring condos, though it’s not quite dissimilar to the architecture over at the esteemed D’Leedon. In essence, this was done to facilitate greater windflow through the high-rise blocks.

Back to the slogan.

While the towers at The Crest aren’t the tallest in the vicinity (storeys-wise), they’re actually set atop elevated land. Because they’re also adjacent to numerous low-landed enclaves, you do get great views at the ‘top’.

The sentiment carries on however.

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Some cynics might also note that ‘top’ dollar was forked out for land here when property demand/prices were at its ‘peak’ back in 2012 (at a substantial $960 psf) – which was prior to the cooling measures implemented in 2013 and the largely unexpected demand crash which followed.

What’s more, because the one bedroom units here are actually the largest in the general area, their overall quantum start at over a million – hence making them generally less attractive for buyers on the affordability end (in addition to its distance away from the MRT station when compared to neighbouring condos).

To counteract that end of the scale is The Crest’s immediate locale.

Its secluded situation undoubtedly offers a touch of serenity (and views) to its residents – something that’s becoming an increasingly rare find in RCR projects locally.

I think that I might have bitten a little more than I can chew at this point, so let’s get to the review proper now where I’ll cover these details in greater depth!

The crest insider tour

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The Crest is located along Prince Charles Crescent, which is about as “princely” (forgive me for the pun) as they come in terms of a location. It is sandwiched by Alexandra Canal and what is currently a plot of land (there’s a showflat erected there) so it is quite a quiet spot to be in.

Put simply, The Crest is in what I would describe as a peaceful yet central location. The best part? Those facing Jervois would be assured of no changes in the foreseeable future as that area consists of mainly landed homes.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

That low-rise locale definitely adds a different flavour to the entrance. Unlike many of the newer smaller developments that you’ll see today, the arrival courtyard at The Crest is really refreshing. It’s always nice to come home to an expansive, uncluttered space – and they’ve done that well here.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

I do quite like the sheltered drop-off point too. The concrete shelter is riddled with small “holes” that allow light to filter to the ground level (not the best angle admittedly, but you can see it at the bottom of the photo).

This is also a good time to expound a little on the design of The Crest. If not already immediately apparent, the facade is inspired by the blooming of flowers – hence that flared outward nature that you see on each block.

And it isn’t just about creating something unique, it was designed to encourage a good wind flow throughout the space.

You might also have noticed the tufts of greenery sticking out on each level. Yes, that’s a planter space. But no, unlike those dreaded planter spaces that you might have seen in older developments these spaces are not counted in the actual space that you pay for (“free” space, yay).

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Designed by Toyo Ito (a Japanese architect), the project is meant to take after a growing diversity of life. Hence, the swimming pool is reminiscent of a pond while the greenery and blocks are sprouted around it.

As a result of that unique exterior, almost every unit is dissimilar in size. Add that to the wide variety of units available (one bedroom to five bedroom + study units – even dual key and loft units) and you get a real first world headache when poring through the different layouts.

On a side note, I do find the towers weirdly “chopped off” at the top – it almost feels like the design is incomplete in some way. It could just be me, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on this as well.

Either way, there’s no doubting the distinctive look of The Crest. It’s just one of those buildings that you’d do a double take should you be seeing it for the first time.

Photo: Stackedhomes

So there are a total of six blocks here, three of which are the taller ones at 23 storeys high (named Towers By The Meadows) – while the four Villa blocks are five storeys high.

In a continuation with the flower/nature theme, each tower is named after a type of flower. This one is named Iris.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

And as you might expect, it isn’t just the flower name, but the colour used for each block will take on the matching colour as well. In the case of the Lavender block – the obvious resulting colour is purple.

As part of the usual security and privacy for residents, you will need to be dialled up through the intercom to be let into the lobby if you are a visitor. It’s also worth noting here that the bigger units in the development have private lift access (three bedroom + Study and up).

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Once you get in, it is quite a well decked out space, with textured walls and warm light gleaming in from the top. I’m glad to see that differentiated look here as it certainly makes for a warmer welcome home.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

That said, getting to the other levels you’d see that it takes on the more typical fare that you’d see at most common lift lobbies. This one is on the 23rd floor, the highest that you’ll be able to get to at The Crest.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

In what is a departure from the normal structure of our condo reviews, I’ve decided to showcase what is one of the main highlights at The Crest – The Crest Club. Perched on the top of the taller residential block (the one in the middle), it offers quite a myriad of facilities.

Taking cues from the brochure: “Sky Gym with Stretch and Relax Terrace, Entertainment cum Theatrette Suite, Sky Dining, Canapés Terrace Bar and Teppanyaki Grill, and Refreshment Servery”.

I’ll admit, it does sound tempting – like a description list from the French Riviera.

On a nice day such as this, it’s easy to see the appeal of such a space. It really allows you to take in the lovely unblocked sweeping views over the Jervois landed area. In the distance, you can make out the giant D’Leedon as it looms over its much shorter surroundings.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

And on the right you get your much more congested city views. Which does remind you of the relative tranquility of the Jervois area (can’t say the same for the back views of Alexandra, however).

Still, the colourful plush couches offer a nice respite in the early mornings or during golden hour – it’s a pity the cleaning cranes here do obstruct the views a little.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Not that I am complaining about it, but I would have wished for perhaps a retractable awning (so that it is usable even during a hot day), and ambient lighting – to create a better atmosphere at night.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

I’ve always liked a nice view when working out, so naturally the Sky Gym is something that I would very much take to.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

There is also a “balcony” on the outside which holds outdoor rowing equipment. Again, this is pretty much one of the better views that you will find in the condo so for exercise enthusiasts this will definitely be a perk.

Correspondingly, you will find Sky Sanctuaries on both of the neighbouring blocks. These are small open themed garden areas – nothing as fancy as this one – but it does provide a space for residents to take in the views.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

And I can’t exactly leave without showing you a proper glimpse of the view, can I.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Coming back down, you can see that the general landscaping of The Crest is quite a high standard. It’s well manicured, and the upkeep of the space will meet the standards of most.

You also do get a sense of its land size just walking through the grounds. At 256,026 square feet, it is definitely a good-sized plot for 469 units. To give you a better indication, Principal Garden (its next door neighbour) is slightly bigger at 270,044 square feet – but that has to house 663 units total.

That said, the grounds there are set in an 80/20 rule so you could still find the overall sense of space at Principal Garden to be more generous.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

In congruence with the garden theme, even the tennis court is well camouflaged with creeper plants.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

There’s just one tennis court, but for 469 total units that is pretty generous by today’s new launch condo standards.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Moving onto what is usually the crown jewel of a condo – the swimming pool. I must say though, this one here at The Crest is pretty special. It’s like a giant lake in the middle of the residential blocks, with a bio lagoon (read: water feature) surrounding the 50m lap pool and the leisure pool.

This is further followed by mini streams that lead out between the shorter residential blocks.

It makes for quite a stunning sight – more so because this massive body of water stretches nearly the entire length of the estate.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

I don’t have the actual numbers on hand, but it almost looks as if the pool takes up half of the land size at The Crest from the site map.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Before I show you the rest of the pool, let’s take a look at the Clubhouse. It’s positioned at the side between blocks 103 and 105, but its shape and deck is reminiscent of a boathouse moored to the side of a lake. I’m not sure if by accident or design, but I’m inclined to believe that this was the intention.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The Clubhouse itself contains a private Onsen with a steam bath and an indoor lounge area. And on the outside, it’s a wooden deck with a smattering of outdoor seating amidst a few trees.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Because of how much space the lagoon and swimming pool take up, you aren’t going to get deck spaces by the side of the pool that you might usually see. So if you had to nitpick, one downside is that there aren’t as many poolside seating spaces as you might like.

Still, this deck is quite well done. It does nearly make you feel as if you are sitting in the middle of a lake. Almost.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Nevertheless, it is quite an interesting concept. From here, you can see the 50m lap pool within the larger curvy nature of the swimming pool itself, followed by the exterior lagoon.

It’s an almost seamless look and the three different colours of the flooring does create a unique textured look that residents living in the higher floors can appreciate.

It’s also from here that you can see how the high-rise towers are perched on pillars – so even the lowest floor gets a certain level of views. On the right, the low-rise blocks do start from the ground floor – but these have the advantage of the lagoon and landscaping surrounding it as a form of privacy barrier.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

As a matter of fact, that lake feel is perhaps so tantalising and life-like that recently, a dozen otters actually entered the estate and ate nearly all the fish living in the pond.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Straddling the middle of the massive pool is a pathway that connects you from the main entrance to the garden/play area.

And in the centre of the path is a sheltered pavilion with curved bench seating.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

It’s also just opposite the pathway that you’ll find the Children’s Fun Pool. It has been specially “cordoned” off by a row of greenery. I really like how they’ve purposely made it lagoon-like with its sloped shallow entry – which just makes it so much more accessible for young children.

Plus, it has been cleverly positioned just across the play area – perfect for kids to frolic about after running around.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

In fact, the space apportioned to kids at The Crest condo is nothing to be sniffed at. Other than the Children’s Fun Pool, there is a sheltered pavilion (like the one above), and a Play Mound and Alcove.

It’s a testament to the group of clients that the condo is trying to target, with the larger than usual unit sizes and kid/lifestyle focused facilities.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

On a bright and sunny day, a sheltered pavilion such as this will definitely see some use – despite the rather meagre selection of play toys.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Evidently, the soft grass here is very well maintained. It almost looks good enough for a round of golf!

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Parents will definitely feel more at ease letting kids run around on this natural surface. And that open nature of the land here is an advantage that only bigger condos such as this can boast of.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

There’s also a sandy element to it, along with a mini slide and a tunnel.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Alongside the kid’s pool is the Curvilinear Leisure Pool. It’s basically the second part of the huge lagoon (separated by the Oasis Pavilion).

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

I suppose the gentle arcs are to micmic how a river would flow, and it does look like quite the mesmerising view from here.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

So as far as swimming pools go, there’s really not much you can complain about here at The Crest. For 469 units, there is bountiful space to swim – both leisurely and if you want to exercise.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Now let’s turn our attention to the last of the major reasons in how The Crest differentiates itself from other developments.

Other than its facing towards the unblocked Jervois landed area, the opposite side is fronting the Alexandra Linear Park Connector – a boardwalk that stretches along the Alexandra Canal.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

It is this stretch that they’ve termed as “By The Meadow”, where you’ll find various outdoor dining spaces, a spa, garden, and walking trail.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

As far as privacy is concerned, these spaces are quite good as there is a sizeable hedge planted to separate it from the other common spaces. And of course, you do get to enjoy the Alexandra Canal views.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

It isn’t the prettiest water canal view in the world, but it does beat a lot of other condo dining spaces so you can’t really complain too much. It’s always a bit of a catch-22 situation – if you want scenic water views, you either have to pay through your nose for those with centrality or it would be located too far away.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Moving down to a further level down is the Meadow Spa area.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

You do get a few deck chairs here for some sun tanning action. It is also relatively private, with the exception of the walking path above.

That said, the black fence does hamper your views a little if you were to be lying on the loungers.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

By the side is the spa area – it’s definitely a nice respite from the hot sun but the size and tight nature of the space does make it a place I wouldn’t necessarily view as a very relaxing spot.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The last facility fronting the canal is the grill and dine area.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

It’s a well-sized space, and if not for the current pandemic times it would definitely be a good spot for family barbecue and gatherings due to its size.

It does have shelter too, with the abundant greenery growing on the top providing cooling shade if you were the inconceivable sort that insists of having a gathering at midday.

While you can’t have a barbecue poolside party here, the upside of this space is certainly its privacy that it affords.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

And as you might expect, that is a side gate that leads out to Prince Charles Crescent. A left turn gets you straight to the Linear Park Connector, where should you wish to, a leisurely stroll will bring you to Robertson Quay, and the CBD.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Wrapping up the tour, the carpark at The Crest condo is your typical underground one. It does have 494 lots (plus seven handicap lots), which is more than a 1:1 ratio.

While they’ve done a good job with the painted ceiling, it would have been good if they had continued that more premium feel with the epoxy coating on the floor as well.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

Last but not least, the lobby area to each block is colourfully demarcated so these would be easy to spot for first time visitors!

The Crest condo location review

Set along the mouth of the Alexandra Canal, The unmistakable Crest is located in district 3 (RCR) beside the famously dubbed ‘13-pool condo’ (ie. Principal Gardens ).

In a sense, you could say that The Crest is equidistant to both the Tanglin and Tiong Bahru enclaves, even though its closest MRT station is actually Redhill MRT (11-min walk).

For those familiar with the area, you’d know that there are in fact closer condos to the Redhill MRT (Alex Residences and Artra come to mind), though The Crest does admittedly occupy the ‘quieter’ side of town.

You don’t get any immediate ‘makan’ areas as a result, with the closest eateries coming in at Redhill MRT. Beyond that you do get some coffee shops beneath the opposite HDB blocks.

Shopping malls-wise, you’ll find the Queenstown/Alexandra malls (ie. Ikea/Anchorpoint) a 5-min drive away, and the closest Tiong Bahru Plaza a single MRT stop away. With all this in mind, it certainly feels like ownership of a car will greatly ease transport convenience – despite the condo’s ‘centrality’.

Finally, the condo is within walking distance to Crescent Girls School and the entire landed enclave that spans Jervois Road. In that regard, a good number of residents here are promised unblocked views of low-landed areas, with higher floors even getting views as far out as Sentosa.

Amenities

Groceries

Grocery shops Distance from condo (& est. walk time)
Cold Storage – Great World City 2.1km, 7-min drive
Fairprice Finest – Artra 550m, 8-min walk
Fairprice Finest – Valley Point 900m, 11-min walk

Shopping malls

PHOTO: Stackedhomes
Shopping Mall cluster Distance from condo (& est. walk time)
Queensway/Alexandra IKEA 2.6km, 8-min walk
VivoCity 4.6km, 13-min walk
The Central @ Clarke Quay 4km, 12-min walk
Start of Orchard Road Shopping Belt 2.9km, 8-min walk

Schools 

Educational tier Names of institutes
Preschool (within 1km walk)
Primary (within 3km-drive) Alexandra Primary, River Valley Primary, Zhangde Primary, Gan Eng Seng Primary, Queenstown Primary, Alexandra Hill Primary
Secondary (within 3km-drive) Gan Eng Seng Secondary, Crescent Girls’ School, Queenstown Secondary, Bukit Merah Secondary, Queensway Secondary
Junior College (within 5km-drive)
University (within 5km-drive) NUS Law Faculty (Botanic Gardens)
Polytechnic (within 10km-drive) Singapore Polytechnic

Unfortunately for younger families, you do not get an immediate preschool within a 1 km walk, though you do get some options further out.

Public transport

Bus station Buses serviced Distance from condo (& est. walking time)
‘Opp Delta Sports Hall’ 51, 122, 139, 186, 970 300m, 4-min walk
‘Crescent Girls’ Sch’ 32, 111, 122, 132 550m, 7-min walk
‘Opp Valley Pt’ 14, 32, 65, 139, 970 800m, 10-min walk

Closest MRT: Redhill MRT – 800m, 11-min walk

The walk to Redhill MRT from The Crest is mostly unsheltered.

Those heading to Orchard can hop on to bus 65 at the ‘Opp Valley Pt’ bus stop for a six-min ride across three stops prior to Orchard Boulevard.

As for those heading to the CBD, the best option would be to board the train at Redhill MRT (9-min walk) toward Raffles Place MRT (4-stops, 8-min ride).

Private transport

Key destinations Distance drom condo (& est. peak hour drive time)
CBD (Raffles Place) 4.4km, 16-min drive
Orchard Road 3.2km, 11-min drive
Suntec City 6.6km, 18-min drive
Changi Airport 24.9km, 31-min drive
Tuas Port (By 2040) 34.3km, 47-min drive
Paya Lebar Quarters/Airbase (By 2030) 17.2m, 30-min drive
Mediapolis (and surroundings) 4.5km, 14-min drive
Mapletree Business City 5.1km, 18-min drive
Tuas Checkpoint 24.1km, 31-min drive
Woodlands Checkpoint 21.2km, 31-min drive
Jurong Cluster (JCube) 12.2km, 24-min drive
Woodlands Cluster (Causeway Point) 21.7km, 34-min drive
HarbourFront Cluster (Vivo City) 4.5km, 15-min drive
Punggol Cluster (Waterway Point) 24.3km, 11-min drive

*Note that Drive Times are calculated during Peak Hours

Immediate Road Exit(s): Singular exit along Prince Charles Cres

Summary: Prince Charles Cres is single-laned road shared with Principal Garden, a church and Alexandra Primary at the tail-end.

Upon reaching the primary school, the single-laned Prince Charles Cres opens into a three-laner before subsequently connecting to a junction shared with Alexandra and Henderson Road.

The condo itself is located closer to the other tail-end junction where it eventually links up with either Alexandra or Jervois Lane.

The developer team

Developer – (Wing Tai, Metro Holdings, United Engineers)

We’ve certainly been seeing more tripartite projects over the past decade. This time round, we have Wing Tai helming the project.

While they haven’t had an incredible number of local residential projects (just three to date with one in the pipeline), it’s worth noting that the combined average PSF of these four developments is a whopping $2,613 psf.

In other words, they tend to peddle high-end projects.

The list includes the likes of ultra luxurious Le Nouvel Ardmore, The M (upcoming), Garden Residences and The Crest.

Architect – Toyo Ito

Toyo Ito might not ring a bell to those outside of the architectural scene, but needless to say, the 79 year-old has accomplished some great things in his lifetime – one of which includes designing local mall-favourite, Vivocity.

In 2013, he was awarded the prestigious Pritzker Award for a lifetime’s-worth of architectural achievements (prior to working on The Crest).

In fact, this isn’t the first time that Wing Tai have partnered with a Pritzker Architecture Prize Winner.

Le Nouvel Ardmore was designed by Jean Nouvel who took home the famed Pritzker medal in 2008.

Construction – Greatearth Construction

Based on the IQUAS scores, Greatearth Construction fares very well in both the Structural and M/E Scores for the project (near perfect), though as is often the case, it falls a little short on the architectural score (89 per cent).

For those wondering, this classifies both internal fittings, external works, and functionality of certain materials in the unit (ie. water-tightness of windows/external walls or adhesion of internal floor tiles).

Unit mix

Unit type No. of units Size of units (sqft)
1-Bedroom 57 614 – 775 sqft
2-Bedroom 89 743 – 1,001 sqft
2-Bedroom + Study 18 883 – 1,044 sqft
3-Bedroom 35 1,033 – 1,335 sqft
3-Bedroom (M) 41 1,184 – 1,389 sqft
3-Bedroom + Study 2 1,044 sqft
3-Bedroom (M) + Study 32 1,453 – 1,658 sqft
3-Bedroom Guest Suite/Dual-Key 67 1,141 – 1,335 sqft
4-Bedroom 8 1,485 – 1,711 sqft
4-Bedroom + Study 4 1,582 – 1,690 sqft
4-Bedroom (M) + Study 2 1,744 sqft
4-Bedroom Guest Suite/Dual-Key 20 1,367 – 1,733 sqft
4-Bedroom Guest Suite/Dual-Key + Study 4 1,453 – 1,658 sqft
5-Bedroom (M) 2 1,841 sqft
5-Bedroom (M) + Study 8 1,873 – 2,002 sqft

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Certainly one of the more exhaustive unit mix lists I’ve done in a while.

As you can see, the Crest is one of the rare condos in which you’d find a complete set of units from one to  five bedders.

In that vein, it caters for almost every other demographic (singles, medium families, multi-gen residents etc.) – with a slight exception on unit-affordability for smaller-tiered units.

Given that the smallest 1-bedders are already 614 sqft in size at an average of $1,9K+ psf, quantums of these units are naturally exceeding the $1 million price point.

And with the distance to the MRT station being a tad further than other nearby condos with smaller one bedders of their own, I can see that landlords owning these units might find it hard to market their units for rent at a good rental yield based on their initial investments.

Of course, it does cater to a specific renter-niche who are looking for bigger one bedders – though at that price point you could likely find a two-bedroom unit with extra unit functionalities.

Let’s not forget the units over at the Island Villas either:

Unit type No. of units Size of units (sqft)
2-Bedroom Villas 30 904 – 1,033 sqft
3-Bedroom Villas 10 1,173 – 1,378 sqft
4-Bedroom Villas 40 1,604 – 1,884 sqft

Stack analysis

Development site plan

PHOTO: Stackedhomes
PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The Crest sits on a regular shaped plot of land sized at 256,026 square feet. It houses three high-rise towers of 23 storeys and four low-rise residential blocks of 5-storeys (where you’ll find the villas).

Other than the mix of facilities at the ground level, you do have The Crest Club (dining, garden, and gym) with different facilities there to cater towards maximum view enjoyment.

Best stacks

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

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It’s hard to say which are the best stacks at The Crest because it really depends on the unit type and size you are looking at, and the preference of views that you prefer.

Plus because of the way the exterior of the residential blocks have been built there is a huge mix of differently sized units and floor plans, so it would be tough to give a concrete answer.

Put simply, those that want to face the Jervois landed area, for example, will have to look at floors six and above (ideally higher, of course) for views.

That said, while the unblocked landed views would no doubt be more coveted, those Alexandra Canal views really aren’t too bad of an option either.

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

The crest price review

Project name Tenure TOP Average price (PSF) Distance from Redhill MRT (walking)
The Crest 99-Year Leasehold 2017 $1,920 800m, 11-min walk
Tanglin Regency 99-Year Leasehold 1998 $1,401 450m, 6-min walk
Tanglin View 99-Year Leasehold 2001 $1,318 600m, 8-min walk
The Metropolitan 99-Year Leasehold 2009 $1,391 290m, 4-min walk
Ascentia Sky 99-Year Leasehold 2013 $1,455 180m, 2-min walk
Echelon 99-Year Leasehold 2016 $1,817 220m, 3-min walk
Alex Residences 99-Year Leasehold 2017 $1,888 350m, 4-min walk
Principal Garden 99-Year Leasehold 2018 $1,904 1.1km, 14-min walk
Artra 99-Year Leasehold 2020 $1,914 190m, 2-min walk

Perhaps the only thing that’s common about the projects in this list is the 99-year leasehold tenure that’s been slapped on all of them.

At first glance, the two main impacts on psf-values would likely be age and distance to MRT.

That said, there is also the inclusion of a high land price purchase factor at projects like The Crest (which subsequently caused developers to sell their units at a higher premium).

Project Date Land cost Est. breakeven price
The Crest Sept 25, 2012 $516.3 million $1,566 psf ppr
Echelon Dec 8, 2011 $396 million $1,260 psf ppr
Alex Residences Dec 17, 2012 $332.7 million $1,518 psf ppr
Principal Garden April, 21, 2014 $463.1 million $1,398 psf ppr
Artra Nov 17, 2015 $376.9 million $1,375 psf ppr

For the sake of those who are unaware, The Crest was purchased at a land cost of $516.3 million (or $960.28 psf ppr) – which brings their estimated breakeven back then to $1,566 psf ppr.

This was sold in September 2012.

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Little did they know that the plot of land next door (now Principal Garden ), would be sold at a lower land cost.

UOL and Kheng Leong Group paid $463.1 million or $821 psf ppr for the land parcel in April 2014, and this was approximately 15per cent lower than The Crest.

Unsurprisingly, sales were not great since its initial launch in June, where only about 50 of the 469 units were sold at an average psf of $1,802.

Subsequently, they had to relaunch at prices five to 10 per cent lower – and units sold up till 2017 had an average psf of $1,687.

This was also in accordance with a deferred payment scheme introduced to attract buyers to plunge for the bigger three and four bedroom units. In this scheme, buyers need only pay a one per cent booking fee upon signing the option to purchase.

To exercise the option, they had to pay another four per cent as well as the BSD two weeks after. Finally, five per cent would be payable a year later, and the remainder due two years after.

As you might imagine as well, its big villa units would be even harder to move. And it required upgraded fittings such as Miele kitchen appliances and Bang & Olufsen TVs to attract more buyers.

Here’s the thing, The Crest not only had a higher land cost to deal with, but that wide unit mix and larger than usual sizes meant that it was pushing the affordability of buyers to a level not seen before in the area.

Let me show you an example from a three bedroom perspective.

In a bid to be more accurate, I’ll only be taking the actual prices from 2020.

Date Unit Size PSF Price
Oct 26, 20 The Crest – 3rd Floor 1,141 $1,980 $2,258,900
July 30, 20 Echelon – 22nd Floor 861 $1,845 $1,588,888
May 4, 20 Echelon – 37th Floor 861 $1,945 $1,675,000
June 10, 20 Artra – 41st Floor 1,044 $2,027 $2,116,600
July 29, 20 Principal Garden – 7th Floor 1,076 $1,904 $2,050,000
July 7, 20 Alex Residences – 11th Floor 883 $1,790 $1,580,000

To preface this, going purely by real resale transactions may not always be the best way to compare due to the lack of data – and sometimes even unfair comparisons when it comes to the floor and facing.

In this case, you can see that for Echelon and Artra, the floor level is much higher and thus the price point may not be the best comparison.

But, we will take what we can get at this point, and this compilation is really just to show you the quantum that The Crest commands because it has the biggest units out of its competition.

On the matter of pricing, it’s also important to note that older condos (ie. Tanglin Regency /View) naturally have larger units to boot – resulting in larger overall quantum/rent prices.

Affordability aside though, unit availability is also key in resale condos such as these.

While we might have a particular unit type/floor in mind, those units aren’t always available at particular developments of choice. If you’re interested to learn more about the best resale units (in the vicinity) on the market, feel free to arrange a one to one non-obligatory consultation with us here.

Appreciation analysis

URA Master Plan
PHOTO: Stackedhomes

If you haven’t visited the Alexandra area in a while, you might be shocked at the number of recent redevelopment to the area where Ascentia Sky, Echelon, Alex Residences, and Artra now sit.

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Driving down that stretch of Alexandra Road, you will definitely feel dwarfed by these tall gleaming residential blocks as well.

While some residents in the area might lament at the possible overcrowding of the area, the truth is, there is still even more potential upcoming plots.

One of which would be the plot of land where the current Avenue South Residence showflat is situated on.

This represents the biggest plot (in the immediate area) and it has a 4.9 plot ratio as well.

Another residential plot to note would be the areas opposite the Alexandra Canal. These are currently used as showflat space, and a post office – but do know that these are classified as residential plots of plot ratio 3.5. So those facing the canal views, do expect these views to change in the future.

Currently the plot of land opposite the entrance of The Crest is an open space as well, this is zoned under Education in the Master Plan 2019 so while it would not impact the current view much (not at least for those on the higher floors), it is something potential buyers should know.

Last but not least, there are two substantial reserve sites to pay attention to. One is a huge site where the Salvation Army and JE Educational College currently are, and the other, Tiong Bahru Examinations Centre.

Our take

PHOTO: Stackedhomes

I think The Crest is just one of those developments that you just have to see and feel for yourself. As good as I’d like to think our photos would be, nothing can fully depict how a space actually feels in reality.

For those familiar with the Alexandra area, you might discount The Crest as it doesn’t have as good of a first impression as its competitors. The ones closest to the MRT are all sleek looking and imposing with their height, while I daresay the exterior of Principal Garden does look more eye-catching as well.

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And while it is a closer walk to Redhill MRT station than Principal Garden is, some people wouldn’t consider a daily 11-minute walk to be an enjoyable one.

Not especially when there is quite a number of developments right next to it to choose from.

So where does that leave The Crest?

Well, if you’re a homeowner looking for a quieter, nature-twined project (ie. plenty of green/water views + adjacency to Alexandra Canal) then this is a project that might pique your interest.

You must really like the centrality of the area, but more importantly, are willing to pay the premium for bigger living spaces. For parents with children, that additional living space plus good facilities for kids - this will definitely be a draw.

On the investor end however, I personally feel that there are numerous other projects nearby with more favorable one to two bedroom rentability that you could be looking at instead.

This article was first published in Stackedhomes.