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My showroom experience at The Reserve Residences

I have never written an article specially for any new launch project before. This article is probably the first one.

Late last year, I wrote an article about my property outlook for 2023 as a potential buyer. I shared about what I thought of the property market then and how I find CCR properties attractive for anyone who is looking into entering the market then. With the recent cooling measures, I think that buyers with sufficient budgets might find CCR properties even more attractive as there is less likelihood of foreigners buying a property and an increasing likelihood of them renting a property.

Anyway, that's beside the point as this article is about my showroom experience at The Reserve Residences and I hope to share a few of my views about this project with the readers.

The Beauty World area has always been an attractive place for me as I personally really like the vibes in the area. It feels like Katong of the West as there is a good variety of excellent food choices in the area with buildings of rustic charms just around every corner. This area is also near to the Bukit Timah nature reserve so you get to enjoy greenery everywhere. In short, it's a perfect balance of old Singapore charm, good food, and greenery. Treats for the eyes and stomach, I will say.

Since I really love this area, I was quite looking forward to The Reserve Residences. This new launch is the second integrated development after The Linq. For the avid property investors, you probably recall that The Linq is almost fully sold just over the launch weekend. That was even during the Covid era. The other developments in the area like Daintree Residences, Forett at Bukit Timah, Verdale etc all did pretty well. This shows that there is sufficient interest in this area. With The Reserve Residences poised to be the iconic development in the area with some of the blocks overlooking Bukit Timah, I am rather excited about this project and decided to visit the showroom on the first day of its preview.

No surprises that the showroom is super crowded on the first day of the preview.

You will only have 45 minutes in the showroom under the accompaniment of an agent. Even with this measure, the showroom is still full of people.

Once you are in the showroom, you will be greeted by the magnificent site model. I must say that the site model is one of the best I have seen in showrooms. It's really huge and this gives you the impression that The Reserve Residences is certainly going to be a landmark in the Beauty World area.

As this is an integrated development, you have multiple elements such as retail, residential, transport hub etc all gathered within this project. Cold Storage will be an anchor tenant here so good news if you are a Cold Storage fan. If you are a NTUC fan, NTUC finest is located in Bukit Timah Plaza which is well connected to The Reserve Residences.

For such integrated developments, one of the few things that I usually look out for is the residential car park entrances and the commercial car park entrances as it is going to be frustrating if you are sharing the same car park entrance as everyone else who is entering the mall. Thankfully, there are separate entrances for the residents. Also, the entrances for the buses are on the other side of the development so you won't have multiple vehicles all on a single side creating a traffic jam situation.

More than 50% of the units in this project are one/two bedders- which likely appeals more to investors than homestayers. There are a total of 100 one-bedder, 304 two-bedders, 216 three-bedders, 100 four-bedders, 12 five-bedders. All together, we are seeing 732 units.

Not all 732 units will be released on launch date. Likely about 75% of the units will be released. These units are mostly the one-bedder, two-bedders, and some three-bedders. If I'm not wrong, there will be very few or no four-bedders/five-bedders released on launch date.

This means that most of the units at what you see at the bottom of the site plan (which is also known as the creekside) will likely not be launched.

It's also expected that those inner units facing the pool will be having a higher price tag compared to the units who might be outward facing and face the west-sun. Do take note that some of the units will be affected by west-sun as most of the units here are not in a North-South orientation.

In the showroom, you will have the chance to see the 1-bedder, 2-bedder, 3-bedder and 4-bedder. Of course, only one floor plan of each unit type will be shown. When I was visiting the showroom, I experienced staff taking a stopwatch to ensure that each customer only has 2-3 minutes to visit each of the unit types. I can understand the rationale of doing so as there are simply too many people. However, this really dampens the showroom experience as you don't have the chance to really look and immerse yourself in the unit. If you like to visit and want to have a better experience visiting the different unit types, I will encourage you to do so on a weekday.

Due to the crowd size, there is also not enough space within the showroom for discussions. Some of the groups have to go to a nearby tentage to conduct their discussions. This makes the experience diluted as it's kinda weird to be visiting a premium showroom and end your visit in a overcrowded tentage for your discussions with the agent. Again, if you are particular about all of these things, you should really visit the showroom on a weekday.

Indicative pricing is out. While the units are expected to start from $2350psf, not all unit types will be starting from $2350psf. If I'm not mistaken, the agent is sharing with me that only certain 3-bedders and 4-bedders will be starting from $2350psf. The starting psf for the other unit types varies from $2400psf to $2700psf. For most of the unit types, the $psf can go all the way up to $2900psf for the premium units (eg. top few floors, pool facing etc). From what I observe, I have a feeling that $2500-$2600psf might be the more commonly transacted $psf when it officially launched on 27th May.

Given that this is an integrated development, it's expected that The Reserve Residences will be selling at a premium. Usually, we might be seeing buyers paying a 15% premium for integrated developments compared to the usual developments of the same tenure in the vicinity. If you remove the 15% premium from $2500-$2600psf, you will get a value of $2125-$2210psf. Right now, some of the newer developments like Daintree Residences (with 99 years tenure) are having transactions of just $2000psf for their subsale units while Forett at Bukit Timah (Freehold) are transacting at $2200-$2400psf (though I believe it is almost fully sold). Hence, I personally feel that the prices of The Reserve Residences might be slightly on the higher end. But of course, if you value the connectivity and ownership of an iconic development within the Beauty World area, the price you are paying might be well-justified.

In terms of timelines, it's expected that the TOP might happen in early 2028. That is about 5 years from now. Construction for such integrated projects are not easy hence I think 5 years is a reasonable amount of waiting time to expect. Hence, please bear in mind the 5 years waiting time if you decide to purchase.

If you like to read more about mixed developments/integrated developments, check out this article where I analysed the premium effect of such developments in detail.

I also do share additional content in my Telegram channel. Anonymous polls are also held in this channel to give you a perspective of what do the crowd thinks on certain financial/investment themes. Do join the channel if you are interested.

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