Archipelago: Urban Forest
Project Name: Archipelago
Address: 585 Bedok Reservoir Road
District/Planning Area: D16 / Bedok
Year of Completion (TOP): 2015
Tenure: 99 years from 2011
Land Size: 45,623sqm
Developer: United Venture Development (Bedok) Pte Ltd
Total Number of Units: 553
Property Condition: 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑
Common Facilities: 🌕🌕🌕🌑🌑
Surrounding Amenities: 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌑
What We Love:
✓ Super huge land size
✓ Lots of amenities just next door
✓ No “space-wasters” like bay windows Rather efficient layout
✓ Facade of the main buildings generally well-preserved
✓ Low-rise buildings allowing you to not feel overcrowded
✓ Direct access to Nature (Bedok Reservoir) via Back Gate
What Is Not So Appealing:
x Facilities generally not well-maintained for a 5-year-old development
x Morning traffic can be rather noisy for road-facing units
If proximity to nature and amenities are key priorities in your search for a private condominium, then you may wanna take a look at the Archipelago. There aren’t many developments in Singapore that can boast having direct access to a full nature park, and Archipelago is that rare few of them.
As if being right next to nature is not enough to brag about, the Archipelago is sitting on a huge land size of 45,623sqm, which is about 3x the land size of a typical mid-sized condo. True enough, it gives you the luxurious feeling of space, not to mention getting you rather sweaty just walking from one end of the condo to the other.
Quite a handful over there
General Unit Information:
Archipelago consists of 2 main elongated residential blocks, each with 9 individual blocks consisting of units with various sizes and layouts. There is also a coveted cluster of strata landed houses on the eastern side of the development, nearer towards the grand entrance of the development.
Due to the many types of unit layouts and widely varying conditions of individual units, we will not be elaborating much on the units themselves but focus more on the condominium in general.
The condominium residential blocks has a maximum of 5 storeys high, though we must say that the units do not feel like they are sitting on a typical height. In fact, the 3rd storey units generally feel like a 5th storey unit when looking out onto the main road, simply because the residential blocks are sitting on elevated ground, which means that you shouldn’t worry too much about “living in low floors” here.
Another interesting feature of the units is that the aircon ledge are very much more accessible than most other condos, which “allows” residents to start putting plants and other barang barangs on the ledge to save space on their internal usable space *wink*.
Let us look at a typical 3-bedroom layout just to have a look at other aspects of the units here.
In Archipelago, the layout is rather efficient without an excessively long walkway towards the bedrooms. There is a utility room near the yard area, either for item storage or functionable as a helper’s room.
Fortunately, there are no bay windows that are pretty much wasted space for the owner, other than for aesthetic or “instagrammable” purposes. Room sizes are also generous, easily fitting a king sized bed for each bedroom, unlike most modern developments today. There is even a walk-in wardrobe in the Master bedroom for a little more luxury living for the owners.
However, what we don’t really like is the irregular shape of the main balcony, which we find rather annoying, but also thankful because it is not ridiculously big to eat into the indoor space that we pay so much for.
A nearby competitor
For comparison purposes, we whipped out the floor plan of a 3-bedroom at the nearby Waterfront Isle. Here, there is even lesser walkway space towards the bedroom (which is obviously a good thing).
However, at almost the same unit size, this unit at Waterfront Isle feels much smaller. This is possibly due to two main things: the giant balcony and the dreaded Bay Windows in each of the bedrooms. As we mentioned earlier, the latter seems more for aesthetic than actual functional purposes, thereby contributing to seemingly smaller bedrooms.
It also doesn’t help that Waterfront Isle had household shelters built within the units, thus eating further into the floor area subtly with its thicker reinforced concrete walls.
As such, we would declare Archipelago a winner over the Waterfront Isle in terms of unit layout! Yay!
Unit Size Ranges:
1-Bedroom | 49 - 62sqm
2-Bedroom | 77 - 97sqm
3-Bedroom | 110 - 145sqm
4-Bedroom | 153 - 200sqm
5-Bedroom | 224 - 246sqm
4-BR Penthouse | 199 - 236sqm
5-BR Penthouse | 239 - 278sqm
5-BR Strata Landed | 409 - 410sqm
The building facade is generally well-preserved in the eyes of visitors, which is expected for a 5-year old development. The challenge lies in how well the management can continue to upkeep the property and preserve it in the best light for years to come.
Surrounded by greenery en-route to the pool
Wading pool…first of many pools from the western side of the condo
A tiny hot-tub to sweat out a stressful day
A chill-out spot for you to do your own thing while half-supervising the kids playing
Indulge in some wine with your friends at the poolside (after Phase 3 of course)
Hate going to the gym? Maybe you can settle for some hydro workout
Perhaps its unfortunate we visited on a rainy day, but this is rather unsightly
Alongside the main pool. We must admit…a wet pool bench doesn’t exactly look appealing.
It seems like the management messed it on purpose to prevent gatherings during this period
View at the end of the main pool overlooking the cluster of strata landed houses
Landscaping in the realm of the landed homes
A luxurious jacuzzi pool for every strata landed unit, albeit mostly unused.
Real serene and peaceful enclave down the stretch
2 reserved parking lots just for you…that is if you own one of the strata landed units!
At the easternmost. Not well-equipped, but at least some avenue to expend the kids’ energy…
…while you chat and relax with your pals at the BBQ pit…at least when Covid is done!
Roundabout right after the main entrance
Avid cyclists…the residents are. Yoda approves.
No excuses when you have neighbours who are hard at work sculpting their bodies
Fear not when you’re feeling too lazy to walk 2 mins down the road to get some snacks
There is a myriad of amenities available just beside the condo at the cluster from Block 744 onwards, including NTUC, McDonalds, Sheng Siong and coffeeshops. All these only require barely 2-3 mins’ walk!
Whether you feel like grabbing a late night snack at McDonalds, or just feel like lazing around in your condominium over the weekend after a long workweek with minimal travelling to fulfill your basic needs, well, your wish is granted. Talk about convenience!
All your basic needs covered at just two minutes’ walk away
A fully operational Sheng Siong available to you within barely 3-4 mins reach.
Wouldn’t be exaggerating to say all these take only 3 minutes to reach!
A lovely café at Refuel for the hipsters…at just 1 minute away?
Parks & Nature
As mentioned at the beginning of this review, one of the key attractions of the Archipelago is the direct access to Bedok Reservoir Park with its very own back gate. Just how many people can actually lay claim to having a large-sized nature park just right behind their own condo?
Now there really isn’t much excuse for you to not get active and healthy again!
Look at the size of the park!
Imagine taking a nightly stroll after dinner along the reservoir…just because you can.
For the non-drivers, transport is rather convenient here with a bus-stop right in front of your access gate. In case you’re thinking “..so what?”, this isn’t exactly an ordinary bus-stop. I can vouch for that since I grew up in an area with bus-stops serving about 10-12 buses. When you have that many buses, MRT doesn’t become that much of a concern. And this one in particular serves 10 different buses!
Pretty awesome we’d say!
Even nearer than “a stone’s throw”!
For bus-lovers this is heavenly
However, if you are looking to get to the Blue Line, it can be a bit of a hassle. The bus-stop opposite doesn’t seem to serve a route straight towards the nearby Bedok North MRT, hence you gotta depend on your two best friends: Left leg and Right leg. Honestly quite a bummer.
Nevertheless, it is just a 5-7 mins walk if you cut through the HDB estate!
Probably takes most of us about 4-6 minutes to cover
For the drivers, Archipelago has close proximity to the Bartley Flyover, which connects you to the center part of the Island within 5-10 mins drive.
As for the various West, Central, East landmarks we typically use, namely JEM, Raffles Place & Changi Airport for reference purposes:
Approximately 25 mins drive to JEM, 19 mins drive to Raffles Place, & 14 mins drive to Changi Airport
Not very attractive to the average drivers in our opinion, other than the relative proximity to Changi Airport. But it is worth mentioning that access to the various flyers and expressways are rather easy.
If Primary Schools are a key concern for you, there is one within the coveted 1km radius: Damai Primary School, thereby improving your chances at enrolment with close distance. Meanwhile, an additional 4 primary schools are also of decent proximity within the 2km radius, namely Red Swastika, Yu Neng, Fengshan, Telok Kurau Primary Schools.
Latest Transaction Prices
The latest transaction prices for the various unit types and the general price trend over the years shows two key observations:
1) Resale prices are hovering between $1100+ psf to $1300+ psf, depending on unit sizes. This is comparatively cheaper than the Outside Central Region (OCR) New Launch prices these days ($1400 - $1900 psf on average). Then again, we must be cautious not to mistake price for value as there are many factors leading to the strong showing in the New Launch market these days. 2) Resale prices seem to be stagnating since its coming slightly off its peak in 2014 at around $1350 psf. This is largely due to the novelty factor of a newly-TOP (Temporary Occupation Permit) development leading to greater willingness to fork out higher prices back in 2013. However, since Archipelago is a leasehold development, it suffers from the usual leasehold fate of stagnating prices years after TOP, barring any major changes in the area.
Comparison with Surrounding Developments
Wherever there is a large water feature, you can almost be certain that there will be loads of supply and competition in the area (e.g. Jurong Lake). Similarly, for Archipelago, there are quite some competitors on the market to reduce chances of any monopoly by an singular condominium.
Expected competition vying for the unblocked reservoir view
A quick survey around the area shows at least 7 neighbouring condominiums along the same stretch of Bedok Reservoir. Archipelago is averaging $1139 psf at levels similar to the other 4 waterfront labelled condos, which can be both a positive and negative thing. At similar psf price levels, Archipelago is one of the newest in the area having TOP in 2015, along with Waterfront Isle. Naturally, most potential buyers would prefer the newer developments wherever possible.
However, it also opens up to the possibility that psf-sensitive buyers can easily consider the other developments since they are at similar psf price levels, which may work against Archipelago considering it is a low-rise development with a maximum of 5 storeys. On the other hand, other condominiums in the area like Waterfront Isle have 15-storey buildings, which caters well for buyers preferring to stay on higher floors overlooking the reservoir.
Then again, one of the key aspects of Archipelago is the resort-style with much larger land size than its competitors, almost the equivalent of Waterfront Gold, Isle & Waves all combined, thus giving it an edge over its competitors who do not like the feeling of a high density development.
As mentioned earlier, the fact that Archipelago is a few years past its TOP, which is typically the peak price for leasehold development, makes it hard to expect further significant appreciation potential. The supply of private properties in the area is also rather stiff, with easily 7 private condominium and even a DBSS Belvia just opposite (for the buyers with tighter budget).
There also seems to be no major transformation plans according to the URA Master Plan in the near vicinity, other than the Paya Lebar Transformation, which will take quite a long time of at least 15 - 20 years to come to fruition. By then the 99-year leasehold Archipelago would likely be less appealing to prospective buyers, thereby limiting its potential for very lucrative capital gains.
Just a small portion of the mega large cluster of industrial areas in Kaki Bukit-Ubi region
Nevertheless, Archipelago has proven to be a decently popular destination for tenants, who are possibly looking to take advantage of the luxurious land size and proximity to an iconic nature park. The locality supplies prospective tenants in the form of employees from the massive industrial cluster nearby towards the Ubi area.
While you may be thinking the general industrial area may not be a good indicator of tenant pool, there will always be the staff from the companies’ management levels who are looking to rent a place near their workplace, hence contributing to the ready pool of prospective tenants.
Let’s take a quick look below at the sheer amount of rental transactions in this development and you can see a healthy rental demand for Archipelago, which can help mitigate fears of a stagnant vacant unit should you decide to rent your unit out someday.
A healthy 13 rental contracts were inked only in the month of September, and a total of 27 contracts when combining both the months of September and August 2020. This translates to a rental transaction volume of 4.88% of the total number of units moving in just two months, which shows good demand from tenants and not much worries on the part of landlords regarding vacant units.
Our Honest Opinion
Overall, the Archipelago seems to cater to those younger buyers with a strong preference for proximity to large parks. The direct access to Bedok Reservoir is definitely a plus point, along with the huge land size that provides the luxury of space to Archipelago owners and an abundance of carpark lots.
The façade of the development still looks new and appealing to passer-bys from the outside, which is expected for a 5-year old condominium, not to mention the unique architecture and low-rise characteristics as compared to its high-rise competitors. Frankly, this factor was what piqued our curiosity and prompted us to explore further into the condo in order to find out how exactly it feels like to be living inside.
Unit size is still on the generous side as the rooms are able to fit a king-szed bed easily, unlike most modern mass-market condos. However, the shape of the balcony is irregular and the lack of zip track blinds in the units here seems that the MCST doesn’t approve of it, which is a bummer to us as we see it as a way to enlarge the living area.
As for facilities, they seem to be rather basic for a typical condominium and definitely not luxurious. Despite the huge land size, there is no tennis court, basketball court, nor olympic-sized swimming pools. Other than the multiple pools of various shapes and sizes, there is nothing much that makes this development stand out in this aspect.
Transport doesn’t seem like much of an issue to us, with the many buses available, though access to the Blue Line can be quite a bit of hassle. On the other hand, access to amenities is awesome and an attractive option for those who really don’t like travelling for their necessities.
If you have strong emotional or physical needs to buy into this condominium, particularly due to the unique architecture and location, then Archipelago will be the one for you.
However, if you are looking for greater value and return on your injected capital, we strongly believe that there are alternatives with greater potential out there in the market.