Sabtu, 11 Februari 2012

Watertown (Review) - Part 2

The Sky Patio in Watertown comes in both 3- and 4-bedroom variants. The showflat features the 1,173sqft, 3-bedder unit (Type C1b).

As you walk through the main door, you arrive into the living/dining area. We like the fact that unlike most 3-bedders that we have seen recently, there is no long walkway (aka "dead" space). The living/dining area is rectangular shaped and seems rather spacious for an unit of less than 1,200sqft, even with decent-sized furnitures. It comes with 60cm x 30cm marble-slab floors (a pleasant surprise compared to the homogenous tile that is the norm these days) and 3-metre ceiling!

The kitchen is self-contained and very good-sized. The developers have gotten it right by dispensing with a "dry kitchen" area, as the apartment can ill-afford the space. And as per many of the recent Far East "involved" projects, the developers have thrown in a whole host of kitchen appliances other than the usual hob/hood/oven/fridge. You also get a microwave, wine fridge and even a dish-drying rack that's mounted above the sink!

The utility room is in the yard area behind the kitchen. It is decent enough size but we suspect you will need to customize the bed for your domestic helper.

The yard space is longish and very functional. And unlike many of the showflats that we have seen recently, you do not have to worry about where to dry your clothes. A mechanical clothes-dryer is provided, while a huge window provdes ample natural ventilation and light into the yard area. And to top it all off, there is even an extra sink in the yard for your "hand-wash" items... nice!

The common bathroom is good-sized and you get marble floors/walls (we had to double-checked on this with the marketing agent, as the "marble" slabs sounded rather hallow when we knocked on it). And also "rain shower" in the shower stall - a luxury not commonly found in many other projects nowadays!

The common bedroom is surprisingly good-sized, especially considering the size of the unit. It can probably accommodate a single bed and a small writing desk, if you place the bed against the window. This is more than you can ask of bedrooms in many other projects that we have recently seen, whereby you have hardly any walking space left after putting in the bed. However, the wife will tell you that it is quite bad "Feng Shui" to position the bed as per the showflat (see photo). This is because your bed "cuts" the door, which will create bad "chi" within the room resulting in unrestful sleep.

The master bedroom is again rather spacious, even with a King-sized bed. It comes with nice timber-strip floors (common for all bedrooms) and standard two-panel wardrobes. The wife and I are not really for glass "doors" - although it makes the bedroom looks bigger and also functions as a mirror, you need to get rid of all the "finger prints" diligently else the glass panels will always look "dirty".

The master bathroom is again decent-sized and the "dark constrast with light" color scheme for the marble floors and walls is quite aesthetically pleasing. It comes wth a long bath AND an adjacent shower stall, a feature that is normally reserved for 4-bedroom apartments.

Now for the "exciting" bit - Price: The wife and I were told that the Sky Patio apartments are considered "premium" units and as such, they also come with premium prices.

The list price for a 1,173sqft, 3-bedder on the 5th floor is $1,940,200 ($1,654psf)! But as of earlier this week, developers are giving away discounts in the following form:
     Basic Discount - 10%
     Special Discount - 4%
     Stamp Duty Offset - 3% (cash rebate, even if you actually uses CPF to pay for this)
     Furniture Vouchers - 2% (cash rate, payable only upon TOP of project)
So after all applicable discounts, the nett price for the unit comes to $1,591,436 or $1,356psf.

What we like:
Convenience - No argument here, given the huge shopping mall beneath your block, integrated access to Punggol MRT/LRT stations and the added appeal of waterfront living along the Punggol Waterway. Watertown is practically self-contained as all the amenities that you need (including going to the movies) are available at your doorstep. So there is really little need to go down to Orchard to shop/eat or catch a movie, unless you really want a change of surrounding.

Layout and Design - The wife and I have not seen a better layout and design for a 3-bedroom apartment for quite some time. Matter of fact, we cannot recall another 3-bedder showflat that we liked more than the one we saw at WaterTown. The apartment layout is very well thought-out, while all the different living areas (balcony and yard included) are designed so as to maximize space and practicality.

Quality Finishing - The developers certainly pulled out all stops in this department - from the marble floors and walls right down to "extravagant" like the wine fridge, dish-drying rack, laundry system and "rain showers" (for both bathrooms, no less!).

High Ceiling - The 3-metre high ceiling gives the apartment alot more "volume", which probably explains why the 1,175sqft 3-bedder felt so much bigger than its actual size. You also will have no problem installing that ceiling fan or chandelier, even with false ceiling!

What we dislike:
Location - No matter how you try to justify it, Punggol is... to most of us not living in the Punggol/Sengkang area... FAR (although one will say that this is subjective). Despite the convenience of MRT and supposed good connections to the various expressways, it is still a fairly long way to get from Punggol to the city and other parts of Singapore. So those living in WaterTown may really have to revolve their lives around the development and facilities nearby... out of consolation rather than desire.

Exclusiveness - Call us paranoids if you must but the wife and I do question about the "exclusivity" factor in mixed-developments. We do understand that there are segregated entry/exit points for residents and the general public visiting the mall. We also believe that the condo management will deploy enough security guards to ensure that the condo grounds are well patrolled. However, there is always this nagging feeling that with mix-developments, one will find more cases of "non residents" wandering around or even using the condo facilities without permission.

Traffic - The Watertown Mall is supposedly located at the town centre and is slated to be the largest (if not only) mall in Punggol. Looking at the many public housing surrounding Watertown and with more BTO flats, ECs (Prive, Twin Waterfalls) and private condos (A Treasure Trove) being built around the area, we suspect traffic along Punggol Walk and Punggol Central is going to increase many folds over the next few years (even on weekends), which may be a bane for Watertown residents who drive.

PRICE - It is a Far East project, albeit a joint-venture, so the wife and I were prepared to be "wowed" by the price. However, we still went away amazed. When we "complained" to the marketing agent that prices for Far East projects are "famous" for being the highest in the market, he was quick to point out that Watertown is not totally a Far East project as it is developed by three parties. We told him that if Watertown is "exclusively" Far East, the selling price will probably be $1,900psf!

Our parting shot:   The wife and I believe that Watertown is a quality project, both in terms of its apartment designs and furnishings. In fact, it is possibly one of the better (if not best) project that we have seen for some time. However, we cannot come to terms with paying more than $1,300psf for a 99-year leasehold project in Punggol, despite all the good things that we have seen and the convenience associated with an integrated mixed-development. But the strange thing is, units are still flying off the shelves like hot-cakes despite the exorbitant price. So are we the only fools to think that Watertown is #@$! expensive? Only time will tell. But in the meantime, the wife and I are pretty certain about two things:

• We probably can find a $1,300psf, 3-bedder alternative (ok, maybe not brand new) that's of similar size, full facility, located fairly near to shopping malls/MRT station and much nearer to town.

• Owners of nearby public flats and private condos (including A Treasure Trove, which was sold at less than $900psf during its launch) are rubbing their hands with glee waiting for the completion of Watertown, as they can almost see the resale prices of their apartments soaring. Huat ah!

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