Eye on Bedok: A mature attraction

A mature estate that is still evolving, Bedok’s mix of relatively affordable housing, convenient public transport, useful amenities, and proximity to other popular estates make it attractive to many.

by Cheryl Marie Tay

For most of its existence, Bedok has been known to most as a mature HDB residential estate, filled with flats, neighbourhood schools, coffee shops and other amenities typical of the heartlands.

Though modern development of Bedok only began in 1966, it has since flourished and become Singapore’s largest planning area (covering 9.4 sq km of land) to contain a new town.

While it still retains all the aforementioned characteristics, it has been undergoing major changes over the last few years.

Alterations aplenty

Two retail malls, Bedok Point and Bedok Mall, have sprung up, with the latter integrated with Bedok MRT station and bus interchange. The bus interchange has also seen a revamp, and is now fully air-conditioned, located on the second floor of Bedok Mall.

Apart from the existing MRT station and the many buses that serve the area, two more MRT stations, Bedok North and Bedok Reservoir, on stage 3 of the upcoming Downtown Line (DTL), will be operational by 2017.

This addition means public transport in Bedok will make commuting even more convenient than it already is, connecting the area to the city and the western part of Singapore. The DTL also has interchanges on the Circle, North-South, North-East and East-West lines, as well the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line.

Most notable, perhaps, is the rise of Bedok Residences, a private residential development. The 583-unit 99-year leasehold condo sits atop Bedok Mall and Bedok interchange, and consists of one- to four-bedroom units, as well as three- and four-bedroom penthouses.

Its facilities include terrace spa pods, an infinity spa pool, a clubhouse, tennis court, gym, barbecue areas and senior fitness stations, all on an extensive landscaped deck.

Family-friendly

Bedok has always been a family-friendly estate, with a total of 29 schools within and near it. From primary schools such as Red Swastika and Saint Anthony’s Canossian and secondary schools such as Damai and Temasek to junior colleges like Temasek JC and international schools like the Global Indian International School (GIIS), there is no shortage of choices for families with school-going children.

Furthermore, the two shopping malls in the area, combined with Bedok’s proximity to areas such as Siglap, East Coast, Marine Parade and Simpang Bedok, means that residents of all ages can enjoy a great many dining, shopping and recreational options not far from their homes.

Bedok and its surrounding estates are indeed famous for the wide array of delectable food available there, including Spize and The Bedok Marketplace in Simpang Bedok, the Fengshan Market and Food Centre (better known as Bedok 85), and countless cafés in the East Coast and Siglap areas.

Natural beauty

Bedok is not just about housing and infrastructure, however. Nature lovers, as well as sports and fitness enthusiasts living in the area can head to Bedok Reservoir Park, which surrounds the 88 ha Bedok Reservoir.

Joggers, runners and cyclists often use the 4.3 km track in the park, and dragon-boating, kayaking and wakeboarding activities are regularly conducted in the reservoir itself. Fishing is also permitted here, and people trying to reel in a big catch is a common sight here.

Furthermore, Bedok Reservoir Park has benefited from the Active, Beautiful and Clean (ABC) Waters Programme, which has seen over 14,000 wetland plants added along the reservoir. Birdwatchers come here to spot swallows, herons and kingfishers, and visitors can enjoy lovely views of the reservoir from the floating deck near the Activity Lawn event site.

A lucrative location?

Bedok is a good residential location for those who want to live near areas like Simpang Bedok, Siglap, East Coast, Katong and Marine Parade but who do not want to pay a premium for housing, which is significantly more expensive in the aforementioned estates.

Moreover, Bedok presents promising opportunities for investors. Bedok Residences, for instance, can help attract a wider variety of buyers and tenants to the area. ERA’s James Chng calls it a “benchmark project for anyone looking for a property in that area, due to its location at the MRT station”.

While Bedok is a mature estate and its home prices are therefore not what one would call low, it does offer relatively affordable housing options to buyers. Still, Chng warns that “young families may find themselves priced out (of the housing market in Bedok)”.

He says, “People who cannot afford housing in Bedok may have to settle for Simei, Pasir Ris, Bartley or Macpherson, which I personally think could be really interesting in time to come.”

It is worth noting, however, that Bedok is the largest planning area in Singapore, with a population estimated at 289,000. This is due largely to the relative affordability of its homes, when compared with its neighbouring estates.

HDB upgraders who want to move into private housing — be it condominiums or landed homes — but still live near Bedok have the option of moving to the nearby Bayshore, Siglap and Frankel neighbourhoods.

The movement of schools and businesses further eastward, where land is relatively cheaper, is another factor predicted to make Bedok more attractive.

Chng says, “Saint Joseph’s Institution International School (SJI International) may move in 2020 from its current location in Thomson, while Overseas Family School recently moved into its new campus in Pasir Ris, and the Singapore Japanese School is located on Flora Drive, to name a few. This will drive tenants with kids to rent (in the east).”

Advice on future prospects

As Bedok continues to develop, what should potential buyers and investors look out for in the estate? According to Chng, they should keep an eye on future launches. “I reckon any future launch in Bedok will be upwards of $1,300 psf at least, so use that as a benchmark against which to compare the property that interests you.

“Sometimes, due to a period of oversupply, you may find a reasonable deal from an investor looking to offload his inventory. To be honest, considering the current levels at which Bedok Residences is selling, I expect prices to stay stagnant in the medium term.

“I think the two- or three-bedroom or larger units will be supported by HDB upgraders for their own stay, and therefore, will make a wiser choice for purchase, as capital downside will be cushioned.

This this lull in price may persist until the new MRT stations are operational, but overall, Bedok’s long-term prospects remain promising.

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