I have often come across clients who seek my advice on whether a particular condominium is a good buy or ‘worth buying’. And each time they ask me that question, I would always prefer to use hard facts and figures to determine whether they should go ahead to buy it, or turn their attention towards another project.
Since one of the most asked about condominiums in recent times has been Bartley Ridge, I decided to delve deep into the facts to determine if it was indeed a good buy or just another dud.
And so, I started my research and here are my findings.
Perhaps the most talked about feature of Bartley Ridge Condo is that it’s located just 210 meters away from the Bartley MRT station on the widely used Circle Line. Now at this point, strong believers in the MRT Effect might just stop reading here and immediately sign on the dotted line.
But, there’s much more to the location of Bartley Ridge than just ‘proximity to the MRT’.
Location – Pros
Near To The Huge Tai Seng Industrial Park
Nearby workplaces is one of the first things I look for when it comes to selecting a great investment property because it directly affects the ‘tenantability’ of the condominium.
If you would look at the URA Masterplan Map below, you will notice vast plot of land next to Bartley Ridge reserved for Business 1 (light purple) and Business 2 (dark purple) usage.
This forms what I like to call, your ‘Tenant Pool’. Tenants love to reside in a condominium where they can commute easily to and from their workplaces and so do companies that employ them.
What this means for you is that your rental demand will remain high even in uncertain economic climates.
Closely Connected To The Kallang Paya Lebar Expressway (KPE)
If you own a vehicle, then close proximity to the KPE from Bartley Ridge might matter much more to you. The KPE is one of the most commonly-used expressways that link you directly to the Financial District of Singapore.
The KPE also has links to other major expressways such as the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE), Central Expressway (CTE) and Tampines Expressway (TPE).
Such excellent connectivity not only gives you greater access to all regions in Singapore, it is also a beneficial factor when leasing out your Bartley Ridge unit as tenants are very likely to want such perks.
Near To Maris Stella High School
Based on the research done by Felicia Chin from sg.theasianparent.com on 3 Febuary 2012, Maris Stella High School is among the top 21 primary schools in Singapore.
As an investor, this can become an important factor for your potential tenants to consider your Bartley Ridge unit.
That being said, Bartley Ridge is not the only condominium near to Maris Stella High School. Bartley Residences and possibly Gambir Ridge will probably be vying for such tenants as well.
Near To Upcoming HDB Development of Bidadari Estate
This is probably the only ‘speculation’ I have included but I thought it was worth a mention for the sake of completeness.
A closer look at the location map of Bartley Ridge will show you that there are not much amenities nearby apart from the Serangoon NEX Mega-mall one MRT station away.
However, positive changes can be expected when the Bidadari Estate is developed by HDB. As with all other HDB estates, amenities such as coffee shops will likely be planned to cater to the demands from the residential population.
Location – Cons
Next To The Former Mount Vernon Cemetery
Honestly when I looked at the location map of Bartley Ridge, the Mount Vernon Cemetery was one of the first things I noticed.
This point is really up to personal beliefs and whilst I am not particularly troubled by staying in a condo close to a past cemetery, I do admit that it does leave the wrong impressions on some people due to superstition.
But just as a side note, here are some examples of highly desirable residential estates which were once former cemeteries.
- Tiong Bahru
So if you are like me and not bothered by it, then read on!
Next To Mount Vernon Camp (Gurkha Contingent)
This is again, one of those factors which I am not particularly adverse to. However, I decided to list it as a minus point because I believe some buyers might not like living next to a military training camp.
Currently, there are no plans for the camp to relocate so this might be one of the factors to consider should you decide to purchase a unit at Bartley Ridge.
Traffic Noise From Bartley Road
Fortunately, only 4 stacks of units in Bartley Ridge might be affected by the traffic noise generated by vehicles travelling along Bartley Road.
If at all possible, do try to avoid purchasing units in those 4 stacks as it might be a potential issue to your prospective tenants and buyers in future.
The competition posed by nearby condominiums with similar traits is an important factor to consider.
For Bartley Ridge, the previously sold out condo launch Bartley Residences poses some competition in terms of the acquisition of tenants and buyers.
In addition, the possible sale of another land plot along Jalan Bunga Rampai might pose a future threat.
The three criteria I used to determine the competition was that the condo had to be;
- Within 500 meters from Bartley Ridge MRT
- Relatively similar in age
- Similar in Tenure (Leasehold)
In terms of landscaping and land size, both condominiums are somewhat similar. There is really not much to pick both condos apart.
Nevertheless, here are some comparisons between the two;
|Bartley Ridge||Bartley Residences|
|In District 13||In District 19|
|868 units||702 units|
|224’006 sqft land||237’822.1 sqft land|
|Slightly smaller unit sizes||Slightly larger unit sizes|
|210 meters to MRT||50 meters to MRT|
In terms of tenant preference, I would suggest that Bartley Residences holds a slight advantage over Bartley Ridge due to its slightly better location and unit sizes.
For buyers however, a District 13 Bartley Ridge might hold more allure than the District 19 zoned Bartley Residences.
Do also note that Bartley Ridge top date is expected to be in October 2016 which is slightly later than Bartley Residences.
To determine if the entry price of Bartley Ridge is reasonable, I firstly did a comparison of the prices with its closest neighbour Bartley Residences.
Despite Bartley Ridge being launched later than Bartley Residences, the average price difference is a very minimal $15 per square foot.
This means that the developers did not mark up the prices significantly which is always good for us as buyers.
I did another comparison with other ‘near MRT’ new launches transacted in a similar period.
There seems to be an obvious anomaly as the new launch condominiums in the west (The Trilinq and J Gateway) and East (Urban Vista) are transacting at much higher prices ($1500 psf on average) than centrally located Bartley Ridge.
This is a strong signal that Bartley Ridge in this current market is severely under-priced at an average of $1276 psf.
As always, before investing in a property, I would determine how much potential rental income there is to be generated.
This would give me a gauge of how safe my property investment would be even in turbulent economic times.
Due to the lack of rental data for condominiums in similar locations, I would be using the rental information from Oasis Garden (inferior location) as a conservative estimate. Based on SRX, a 2 bedroom unit in Oasis Garden fetches an average of $3,300 per month in rental.
Here is a worked example of a currently available unit in Bartley Ridge. (as of 26/12/2013)
|Monthly Mortgage Payments||$2785*|
|Maintenance Fees||$255 (Est.)|
|Conservative Rental Estimate||$3300|
|Monthly Cash Flow||$260|
*Assuming purchaser has no existing property ownership and eligible for 80% loan at 1.5% for 30 years
From the above calculations, you would be able to see that even with a depressed rental at $3300, a 2 Bedroom + Study unit is still able to generate $260 positive cash flow per month.
Coupled with a highly desirable location for tenants, Bartley Ridge shows signs of strong resilience in adverse market conditions.
If you are looking for an undervalued investment property with good potential for capital appreciation and yet has a good rental demand, Bartley Ridge is an obvious gem.
However, if you are uncomfortable with it being close to the Gurkha camp or a former cemetery, then give it a miss.