My previous Singapore property review was on Uptown @ Farrer and this particular development, 1953 by Oxley Holdings, is located just down the road from Uptown @ Farrer.
Details about the development
1953 is a freehold development located along Tessensohn Road. It is currently a row of shophouses which will be conserved and an additional building will be erected behind the existing structure. In November 2017, Oxley Holdings, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Oxley Amethyst, bought the freehold vacant land along Tessensohn Road for SGD$14.5 million. Subsequently, in December 2017, through the same subsidiary, Oxley Holdings purchased a cluster of properties known as 1, 3, 5, 7, 7A, 9, 9A and 11 Balestier Road for SGD$38.0 million. Subsequently, Oxley Holdings acquired the adjoining strip of state land and amalgamated the two plots of land which they acquired. These three acquisitions will make up the development 1953.
Currently, the cluster of properties look like this:
The completed development, 1953, will look like this:
There will be 72 units in total. There will be 58 residential units and 14 retail units. The residential units will consist of 2 studio units (441 square feet), 4 one-bedroom units (549 square feet), 28 one+study units (506 to 614 square feet), 4 two+study (614 to 786 square feet), 8 three-bedroom units (786 to 1152 square feet), 2 three+study units (915 to 969 square feet), 1 four-bedroom unit (1399 square feet), 1 two+family penthouse (1130 square feet), 1 three bedroom penthouse (1120 square feet), 5 three+family penthouses (1227 to 1238 square feet), 1 five-bedroom penthouse (1507 square feet) and 1 five+study penthouse (1658 square feet).
Where is the development located?
1953 is located along Tessensohn Road. If you are driving from Lavender Street, Tessensohn Road is the second left turn once you drive onto Balestier Road. If you are walking towards Farrer Park MRT Station, according to Google Maps and I used 1 Balestier Road as the starting point, the distance is 550 metres and it will take about 7 minutes. The walk is relatively sheltered as you walk along the row of shophouses along Serangoon Road.
If you are walking from 1953 to Boon Keng MRT Station, the distance is 400 metres and it will take you about 5 minutes to get there. The nearest entrance to Boon Keng MRT Station, entrance C, is just diagonally opposite Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital.
The walk is relatively sheltered after you cross the junction.
I will take Farrer Park MRT Station as a point of reference for this project just like I did for my previous review on Uptown at Farrer. The walking distance to both MRT stations are relatively decent but my preference is to Farrer Park MRT Station as there is no need to cross any major road junction. Also, when you get to the entrance C of Boon Keng MRT Station, you will still need to walk a short distance to the actual train station which then to me makes both distances just about equal.
Farrer Park MRT Station is located just at the city fringe. If you are travelling to Raffles Place MRT Station, it will take you 8 minutes and cost you $0.93. You will need to make a change at Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station.
If you are travelling to Orchard MRT Station, it will take you 6 minutes and cost you $0.93. You can make a change at Little India MRT Station of Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station.
If you are travelling to Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station, it will take you 4 minutes and cost you $0.83.
If you are travelling to Chinatown MRT Station, it will take you 8 minutes and cost you $0.93.
If you are driving, it will take 7 minutes to get to Raffles Place. Please note that at the point of this Google enquiry it was non-peak hours and thus you should factor in additional time for peak hour traffic.
The drive to Orchard Road will take 6 minutes. As mentioned before, you will need to factor in some additional time for peak hour traffic.
The selling points of the development
The main selling point would be the location. I do think that the proximity to Farrer Park MRT Station is rather decent and generally sheltered. Also, the development is located at perhaps, in my opinion, the optimal distance from Farrer Park MRT Station. There is a lot of hustle and bustle around Farrer Park MRT Station and I would anticipate some degree of congestion if you live around Farrer Park MRT Station. 1953 seems to be away from the crowded portions of this area but yet at a decent walking distance to the MRT station and City Square Mall. This area is also littered with eating and shopping options. Lavender Street and Jalan Besar have multiple late night food options and when you drive onto the main road from Tessensohn Road, you are already on Balestier Road and in just a couple of minutes, you will reach popular food haunts in Balestier.
This development is also freehold. There is a strong debate about whether there is a difference between buying freehold or leasehold properties and there are many articles that have proven that leasehold properties do perform just as well and in some cases better than freehold properties. However, I do believe that not every leasehold development will be redeveloped and leases will eventually run out and land will be returned to the state. Consider the mega-development that is Treasure at Tampines where there will be 2,203 units. I do not think that when that development will be redeveloped during its 99-year tenure. Developments like Mandarin Gardens and Braddel View have set record high asking prices of SGD$2.79 billion and SGD$2.08 billion respectively. I doubt that developers have the financial muscle or appetite to purchase these developments en bloc. Perhaps in the future when the market is stronger and I do believe that even then, a consortium of a few large and financially sound developers will have to step in to make the purchase. There is a chance that such developments will never find a buyer throughout their lease and eventually the land will be returned to the state. Consequently, when the remaining lease gets dangerously low, homeowners will be forced to sell at very low prices to recoup something rather than to let the lease run down. I do believe that the debate on freehold versus leasehold will be fervently debated up to the point when a large number of leasehold properties see their lease terms ending.
The price is rather decent in today’s seemingly inflated property market. Don’t get me wrong, I do feel that current property prices are on the high side. However, I do think that if I were to fork out in excess of $2,000 per square foot for a unit at a 99-year leasehold new launch like The Woodleigh Residences, I would rather consider a development like 1953 where freehold units can be found at sub-$1,900 per square foot prices. Just for the record, I do think that The Woodleigh Residences is grossly overpriced by an overly optimistic developer. Also, just around the corner is City View @ Boon Keng. A cluster of HDB flats which were sold under the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS). A 5-room HDB flat at this cluster sold for SGD$1.185 million at the start of 2019. This to me does not make much financial sense but it does show you the state of property prices in this vicinity. I am just saying that if you are in the market for a new project launch, this is perhaps one of the developments you should be looking at if you are looking at a boutique development.
I personally like the concept of incorporating conservation shophouses with a new building. I have been constantly griping about how unimaginative certain designs of certain new project launches are. I do think that 1953 works out to be something like what is seen on all the rendered drawings, will turn out to be a rather unique development in the area. Design wise I find it interesting and something a little different but perhaps that is because I have always personally had an affinity towards colonial and conservational buildings.
Possible bad points about the development
Congestion can be rather bad at times but then this is right at the city fringe and I would expect residents to use the MRT lines to get around Singapore. It is a good thing that if you are driving and turning out from Tessensohn Road, the entrance into the CTE expressway is just around the corner. Also, for some units, do expect some road noise. Tessensohn Road is much less busy as compared to the main Balestier Road. This whole area is a very busy and bustling part of Singapore so do expect congestion and some noise.
This is a boutique development and thus the facilities in this development are rather limited. There are facilities like a swimming pool and barbeque pit and communal areas for residents. If you want a condominium with a large comprehensive suite of facilities then this is perhaps not it.
My thoughts about the development
I do like this development together with Uptown at Farrer. If you are looking for something that is right next to Farrer Park MRT Station, then Uptown at Farrer may be for you. That is a 99-year leasehold condominium. However, if you want something that is freehold and do not mind walking a short distance to the MRT station, then 1953 would be it. I have always thought that this part of Singapore is rather overlooked. I have worked on renting out units in the vicinity on a couple of occasions and have found that demand is rather good for properties in this area. If you would like to know about rents in the area, do read my review on Uptown @ Farrer as I have some data on that and 1953 pretty much is in the same area.
The freehold development has units priced at just above SGD$1,800 per square foot. I do think that the pricing is fair in today’s new launch market. This location, in my opinion, is rather central and with the HDB flats nearby crossing a million dollars, I do think that a freehold condominium would make better sense.
Just slightly off Farrer Park MRT Station but still within walking distance. Convenience wise, there are loads of food options, City Square Mall is a very decent mall and if you are getting to town from 1953, it will not take you long.
Quality and Design 4/5
I think this is something unique considering having looked at so many new launches. I find it interesting that the developer amalgamated the different plots of land and will integrate an existing conservation shophouse with a newly erected building. I am not a fan of mechanised car parks though but I guess there was never sufficient space that could be catered since the existing structure had to be kept. I do like the colour scheme of the development. As I mentioned previously, at least this feels unique.
p.s. Disclaimer: I am a licensed real estate salesperson at the point of writing this review. My real estate agency is the marketing agency for 1953 by Oxley Holdings. Buyers can approach me to purchase 1953 and I will earn a commission from the developer. My reason for writing this review is to share my personal view about the developments not as a real estate salesperson but in the neutral context of a buyer and hopefully share some insight to help buyers make a more informed buying decision.
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