At a glance: With a lower land rate, North Gaia looks set to be one of the more affordable EC launches this year. Coupled with the stellar waterfront view, this executive condominium in Yishun—the first one in 7 years—is definitely on our radar.
|Yishun Close/Yishun Ave 9
|Land Size (sqm)
|TOP Date (Expected)
• Junction Nine: 9-min walk
• Northpoint City: 6-min drive or 20-min walk
• Canberra Plaza: 6-min drive
• Yishun Park Hawker Centre: 6-min drive or 22-min walk
• Chong Pang Market and Food Centre: 8-min drive
• Upcoming Khatib Bongsu Nature Park (adjacent to North Gaia)
|Nearest MRT Station
|Yishun MRT along the North-South Line
|Primary Schools Within 1-km (approx.)
|• Chongfu School
• Humin Primary School
• North View Primary School
• Xishan Primary School
|Nearby International Schools
|• XCL World Academy and XCL American Academy
• Heritage Academy Singapore
It has been nearly seven years since the launch of an executive condominium (EC) in Yishun, which is probably the reason why there’s quite a bit of hype surrounding upcoming North Gaia. The last time there was an EC launch in this neighbourhood was back in 2015. That year saw not one, but two ECs, Signature at Yishun and The Criterion, launched to much fanfare. Will North Gaia see a similar response at its launch? In this review, we take a closer look at North Gaia’s location and see its investment potential.
A Look at the Location
Located along Yishun Ave 9, North Gaia sits along a relatively quiet stretch on the periphery of an industrial node, but its main selling point is really its waterfront location on the other side. It is situated next to Sungei Khatib Bongsu, a large canal that channels into a mangrove- and mudflat-filled area popular with kayakers.
It was announced back in 2020 that part of this area will be developed in a 40-ha nature park, scheduled for completion in 2024. As it stands, we reckon some units at North Gaia will be overlooking Khatib Bongsu and its calming waters and verdant greenery. Definitely a million-dollar view.
For cycling enthusiasts, there’s also a park connector right in front of North Gaia. It’s part of the Northern Explorer Loop, which takes you to a number of parks in the north region of Singapore, including notable ones like Lower and Upper Seletar Reservoir Parks, Sembawang Park and the Woodlands Waterfront.
Yishun in its entirety isn’t an overly developed neighbourhood, but there is a decent number of amenities already in place. There’s Northpoint City, a huge shopping mall located next to the North-South Line, and is a short drive or bus ride from North Gaia.
You also get a smaller mall nearer to North Gaia, Junction Nine. Reachable in 9 mins by foot, this integrated development comprises a range of retail and food and beverage options, as well a Sheng Siong supermarket. The nearest hawker centres (as noted on the table above) will require a fair bit of walking from the area, but there are smaller coffee shops within the HDB estates nearby and the industrial buildings for more dinner options.
The nearest MRT station, Yishun, isn’t exactly walking distance. But it’s 4 bus stops from North Gaia on feeder services 801 and 803. The existing bus stop is located Yishun Ave 6 and is within a 5-min walking distance from the EC. If you are getting back from the MRT station, it will take you about 5 bus stops.
For drivers, you will be able to access three major expressways, TPE, SLE and CTE within 10 mins, traffic notwithstanding. Connectivity will likely improve following the construction of the North-South Corridor, an expressway and transit priority corridor with dedicated bus and cycling routes linking up the northern region of Singapore to the city and set to be completed in 2027.
Graphic courtesy of The Straits Times
With an estimated four primary schools within a 1-km radius of North Gaia, we can expect this EC to be popular with families with young children. In terms of secondary schools, there are Northland Secondary School and Yishun Town Secondary School that you can reach by foot.
Besides the adjacent industrial centre as well as an industrial park (Yishun Industrial Park A) nearby, there’s also the Seletar Aerospace Park within a short 8-min drive away. This business park comprises over 60 MNCs and local companies, serving mainly the aviation industry and providing you with a decent sized rental pool if you choose to rent out your unit.
Indicative Pricing and Investment Analysis
Sing Holdings won the public land tender for North Gaia at a bid of $373.5 million, which works out to a land rate of $576 psf per plot ratio.
So we are looking at an estimated breakeven cost of about $1,000 to $1,050 psf, which will likely translate to launch prices of above $1,100 psf.
Update: Average prices for North Gaia are currently around $1,297 psf.
There isn’t an apple to apple comparison since there aren’t recently launched ECs in Yishun, but if we look at neighbouring Canberra also within D27, there’s Provence Residence, which was launched last year in 2021. Average launch prices were around $1,142 psf—so, pretty similar to our estimates for North Gaia.
Compared to North Gaia, Provence Residence’s nearer to the MRT station (about a 7-min walk), although its location right by the main road and a busy road junction will mean it won’t have as tranquil an environment or as beautiful a view as North Gaia.
Surrounded by another EC (Parc Canberra) and a few condominiums, Provence Residence will also see stiffer competition when you do decide to sell. With North Gaia, there’s really only the adjacent Symphony Suites and integrated development Nine Residences (sitting atop Junction Nine) competition-wise at the moment.
Let’s also look at the upcoming ECs in the pipeline. Tengah Garden Walk and Tampines St 62 are likely to launch this year and their land rates were $603 and $659 psf ppr respectively, both of which are higher than the site for North Gaia. This will likely translate to higher launch prices. So in terms of affordability, North Gaia’s looking pretty good right now if you are looking to buy a new EC in 2022.
Image courtesy of HDB
Comparing North Gaia with resale condominiums in the vicinity, the average prices for Symphony Suites, which was completed in 2018, are at $1,150 psf. The average prices for integrated development Nine Residences, completed in 2015, are at $1,172 psf. So if you are looking to buy for own stay, North Gaia’s lower indicative prices should be a point of consideration.
With ECs, there is a minimum occupation period of 5 years before you can sell it in the open market or rent out the whole apartment. This is in contrast to condominiums where you can sell without financial penalty after 3 years. You will also have to wait a further 5 years (for a total of 10 years) before an EC becomes privatised, where you can then sell to foreigners. This longer wait will mean you face a narrower pool of buyers in the first 10 years.
Here’s a look at some of the differences between an EC and a condo:
|Minimum Occupancy Period
|Cannot rent out the entire unit in the first 5 years
|Can rent out the entire unit
|Can only sell in the open market after 5 years. Can only sell to foreigners after 10 years
|Can sell immediately, but will incur a sellers stamp duty if sold within the first 3 years
|Need to meet several eligibility conditions. Foreigners are also not allowed to buy new ECs. For more information, refer to this site
|None. Foreigners may also buy
|Your household income cannot exceed $16K
Because of all these regulations and restrictions, an EC isn’t the best option if you are looking for a quick capital appreciation or if you are looking to invest in a rental property. But if you are buying to stay, its lower price point makes it a better deal.
ECs are really a longer-term investment. Some capital appreciation is expected when the EC gets privatised. According to historical data, a number of ECs after 10 years do manage some capital gains. But not all ECs are made equal, and there are a lot of factors involved that determine how much gain (or even loss) you make with an EC, including the competition the area, the facilities in the development and the surrounding amenities.
Demand for ECs looks to be healthy at the moment though. It was reported last year in the Business Times that the price growth for ECs outpaced that of condominiums over the past five years. From 2016 to 2020, EC prices increased by 27.9 per cent compared to that of condominiums at 19.2 per cent.
Looking at the data and transactions for D27, we would also notice a recent price surge in this particular district, which looks set to continue as the area sees more upcoming developments.
Upcoming developments in the area include the construction of the Khatib Bongsu nature park as mentioned earlier, the redevelopment of Chong Pang City into a multi-storey integrated development by 2027, as well as the construction of the North-South Corridor that will help to revitalise the area and improve connectivity, eventually pushing up prices.
What can we expect to see at North Gaia?
Not a lot of information has been released for North Gaia as of now. But we expect more information to flow in ahead of its launch. Units are likely to be a mix of 2- to 5-bedroom apartments, which cater more to families, so you can expect family-friendly facilities on site as well.
We can expect similar offerings to Parc Botannia, which was also developed by Sing Holdings. (Interesting titbit: Before North Gaia was called North Gaia, it was actually named Parc Symphony. So the fact that they initially had similar names may provide an inkling to North Gaia’s concept.)
Parc Botannia is a 735-unit development that is also very family-oriented with a childcare on site. It sits on a slightly smaller land size compared to North Gaia, but it doesn’t shortchange on the number of facilities on site. These include a fitness clubhouse (with gym and yoga deck), a tennis court, a putting green, a lap pool, a kids’ pool and spa area, and a jacuzzi alcove. We can expect North Gaia, which has a larger land size and fewer units, to be roomier and to include more facilities.
Image courtesy of Sing Holdings
Besides Parc Botannia, Sing Holdings, which is listed on the Singapore Exchange Mainboard, has done quite a number of high-end condominiums including Robin Residences at Robin Drive, The Laurels at Cairnhill Road, BelleRive in Bukit Timah and Meyer Residence at Meyer Place. So if anybody knows luxury living, it’s these guys.
With unparalleled views and a quiet neighbourhood, North Gaia is one for folks who value their privacy and peace and quiet. Full amenities are a short bus ride away, but you can get most things (supermarket, food and beverage options, pharmacy, etc.) within a short walking distance. Capital appreciation looks possible because of its lower price entry plus the upcoming developments in the area, but it’s definitely a long-term game seeing as it’s an EC. Overall, it’s good choice for HDB upgraders looking to buy an EC this year, seeing as it will likely be the most affordable one in the market for 2022.
|Area Size (sqft)
|3 BEDROOM + YARD
|3 BEDROOM +YARD+STUDY