Comparison

Bukit Merah vs Queenstown: Which New PLH Project In May 2022 Should You Consider?

2 June 2022 | BY

With the new Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) by HDB in Bukit Merah and Queenstown announced, which of these estates should you consider applying for?

PLH

We’re used to the standard fanfare whenever a new BTO launch comes around. But what really gets our heads turning is when a new BTO is announced in a prime location like Bukit Merah or Queenstown.

Yes, you read that right – Bukit Merah and Queenstown will be home to 2 new BTO projects called Bukit Merah Ridge and Ghim Moh Ascent. The unique thing about these two developments is that they fall under the Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) model that was introduced to address the hefty real estate prices in prime real estate locations.

Now with the PLH scheme, new homeowners won’t have to fork out an arm and a leg for a place to call home in one of these neighbourhoods. Starting at $369,000 for a 3-room flat, here’s the lowdown on what you can expect from living in Bukit Merah versus Queenstown.

Bukit Merah – Bukit Merah Ridge

bukit merah ridge
Image credit: HDB

Located between Henderson Road, Tiong Bahru Road, and Lower Delta Road, Bukit Merah Ridge will consist of 5 residential blocks ranging from 29-48 storeys tall. A total of 443 3-room and 1,226 4-room flats will be made available, bringing the project’s total number of flats to 1,669.

Prices of the 3-room flats start from $377,000, which can be brought down to $317,000 with grants. Each flat will have an estimated floor area of 710sqft including the aircon ledge. Prices of the 4-bedroom flats start from $540,000 – down to $495,000 after grants – and have an estimated floor area of 957sqft including the aircon ledge.

bukit merah ridge floor planAn example layout of a 3-room flat (left) and 4-room flat (right) at Bukit Merah Ridge.
Image credit: HDB

Both flat types will come finished and fitted with floor tiles in the bathroom, bomb shelter, kitchen, and service yard; alongside wall tiles in the bathrooms and kitchen. Of course, you can choose to replace the default design with one that’s more to your liking when you renovate the place.

Successful bidders will have plenty of time to think about their home theme of choice as the project is slated for completion in the first quarter of 2028.

bukit merah ridge map
Image credit: HDB

Bukit Merah Ridge is conveniently located a stone’s throw away from plenty of amenities around the area, including a brisk 6-minute walk to Tiong Bahru MRT for those who rely on public transport to get around. There are also multiple bus stops in the immediate vicinity of the estate.

Pros of living in Bukit Merah

Apart from the close proximity to the East-West line, Bukit Merah Ridge comes with plenty of other features should you decide to make it your home base.

bukit merah ridge site plan
The site plan of Bukit Merah Ridge. Green blocks indicate 3-room flats, while yellow blocks indicate the location of 4-room flats.
Image credit: HDB

The estate will come with a myriad of facilities including a childcare centre, playgrounds, fitness stations, and 2 multi-purpose courts. There will also be a residents’ network centre and accessible roof gardens for opportunities to know your neighbours better.

Those who own a car will also be pleased to know that there will be 2 sheltered multi-storey car park blocks.

tiong bahru dog run
Tiong Bahru Dog Run is free for all doggos to run around in.
Image credit:
@kbemo

Other nearby amenities for those who lead an active lifestyle include Tiong Bahru Park, Tiong Bahru Dog Run, and a basketball and futsal court. Delta Swimming Complex, while nearby, is currently closed for renovation and upgrading works – hopefully, it’ll be done by the time you collect your keys.

Those who prefer clocking their steps in with some retail therapy can head to Tiong Bahru Plaza that’s diagonally opposite Bukit Merah Ridge. The shopping mall also has restaurants like Sushiro, Kuriya Japanese Market, and Marutama to fill up any starving bellies. Bubble tea lovers can also choose from Koi, Liho, Playmade, and AtTea to satisfy their cravings. 

Families with younger children will also be pleased to know that schools in the area include Alexandra Primary School, Zhangde Primary School, Gan Eng Seng Primary and Secondary Schools, Bukit Merah Secondary School, and Crescent Girls’ School.

bukit merah ridge plh
An artist’s impression of how the Bukit Merah Ridge enclave will look upon completion in 2028.
Image credit: HDB

At a glance, it seems like living in Bukit Merah Ridge might be more suited for buyers with a higher budget as the flats are slightly more expensive compared to the other project at Queenstown. But you’re paying for a location that’s much closer to Singapore’s city centre, making it a more attractive option for those who have to commute to an office in the CBD.

tiong bahru market

There are also plenty of affordable food options around at the Redhill and Tiong Bahru Markets which are just a 10-15 minute walk away. So if you happen to be moving in with elderly relatives, they might feel more at home with the cheap eats within this mature neighbourhood.

Queenstown – Ghim Moh Ascent

ghim moh ascent
A rendering of how Ghim Moh Ascent will look like upon completion in 2028.
Image credit: HDB

Over by Queenstown and Buona Vista is the upcoming Ghim Moh Ascent. Bound by Ghim Moh Road, Ghim Moh Close, and the Rail Corridor, this development will have 4 residential blocks. 2 of them will be 40 storeys tall, while the other 2 will have varying heights from 8-31 storeys.

There will be a total of 867 units made available split amongst 3- and 4-bedroom configurations. Like Bukit Merah Ridge, majority of them will be 4-room flats (671 units available), with 3-room flats making up the remaining 196 units.

ghim moh ascent floor plan
Image credit: HDB

The square footage is also approximately the same, with the 3-room flats having an estimated floor area of 710sqft including the aircon ledge, while the 4-room flats will have an estimated floor area of 957sqft including the aircon ledge.

However, you’ll be paying slightly less for a home at Ghim Moh Ascent. 3-room flats here start from $369,000, while 4-room flats start at $511,000. The prices can be brought down to $309,000 and $466,000 respectively with grants like the Enhanced CPF Housing Grant.

Both types of flats will also be finished with tiles in the bathroom, kitchen, bomb shelter, and service yard. It is also slated for completion by the first quarter of 2028.

ghim moh ascent site
Image credit: HDB

The site of Ghim Moh Ascent is also located within walking distance to Buona Vista MRT Station. That means it’ll only take you 6 minutes by foot to reach both the East-West Line and Circle Line. For those who prefer to journey by bus, the Ghim Moh Bus Terminal is next door.

Perks of living in Queenstown

ghim moh ascent plh
Image credit:
HDB

It’s a great time to be a Westsider, especially with the rapid development of the “science hub” giving the surrounding area a city-esque buzz. Those who manage to score a new home in Ghim Moh Ascent will find themselves surrounded by the hip enclave Holland Village and the urbanised One-North precinct.

There are also plenty of popular food spots at The Star Vista and the quaint Rochester Park located just across Commonwealth Avenue West. Those hankering for affordable, comfort food will also find convenience at the Ghim Moh Road Market & Food Centre just opposite the estate.

But perhaps the biggest perk about living in Ghim Moh Ascent is its proximity to the Rail Corridor, as its entrance is literally at the foot of the block. There’s no excuse not clocking in your 10k steps on the weekends.

ghim moh ascent site plan
Image credit: HDB

You also don’t have to venture far outside of the estate for a good time. The development will have features like children’s playgrounds, fitness stations, a hard court, and roof gardens for evening exercises and casual socialising. The Queenstown Swimming Complex & Stadium is also within the area, although it’s a 30-minute walk away.

childcare

There will also be a childcare centre and residents’ network centre within the area so parents have one less thing to worry about. And when the toddlers grow up, some schools nearby include Fairfield Methodist Primary and Secondary School, Anglo-Chinese School (International) and Anglo-Chinese Junior College, and Singapore Polytechnic.

With all these factors combined, it looks like this development is an ideal location for working adults who have to commute to One-North and families. With plenty of restaurants and nature-inclined activities at their doorstep, living at Ghim Moh Ascent makes balancing work and play a lot easier.

You might also have noticed that the prices of the homes in Ghim Moh Ascent are lower compared to that of Bukit Merah Ridge. This might be due to the fact that it’s a little further out West.

Eco-friendly features & smart home solutions

Upon completion in the first quarter of 2028, Bukit Merah Ridge and Ghim Moh Ascent will sport eco-friendly and sustainable features to embody the “green living” ethos. Some of these features include separate waste chutes to encourage residents to recycle; regenerative lifts to save energy and be more efficient; and electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lots.

There will also be smart home solutions that homeowners can install, including the Elderly Monitoring System to watch over the older generation and Utilities Management System that can help lower your utility bills.

Cons of living in a Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) estate

Minimum occupation period (MOP) of 10 years

One of the hot topics whenever BTOs are brought up is the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP), and these 2 PLH projects are not exempt from that requirement. What it means is that buyers cannot sell the house for 10 years, ensuring that only those who need a home are applying to buy a unit.

You are also not allowed to rent the whole house even when the MOP ends, although you are allowed to do so for spare rooms. In short, the MOP of PLH estates can be a deterrent for some home buyers who are looking for investment properties.

6% subsidy recovery when selling the flat

Another factor to take into account is the 6% subsidy recovery. If you decide to sell your flat after the MOP, you would have to pay HDB 6% of the sale price to recover the subsidies that were provided when you bought the flat.

The 6% rate is fixed for both Bukit Merah Ridge and Ghim Moh Ascent, and will apply only for the first sale of the flat.

May 2022 PLH exercise – Queenstown & Bukit Merah

home interior
Image credit: Jessica Lai

BTO launches are exciting, especially for those who are looking to settle down. But for those who prefer not to live in the far-flung corners of Singapore, there is now the option of Prime Location Public Housing (PLH) to consider.

The most recent PLH developments are in Bukit Merah and Queenstown, and choosing between the two can be tricky. While Bukit Merah Ridge is more centrally located and offers more units, it is also slightly pricier and is more highly subscribed with over 6,000 applicants balloting for just 1,600 units.

Meanwhile, Ghim Moh Ascent is a little further West compared to Bukit Merah Ridge, but it is slightly more affordable and has a lower subscription rate. Your chances are best with an application for a 3-room flat at Ghim Moh Ascent. May the odds ever be in your favour.

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Cover image adapted from: HDB, HDB

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