It’s notoriously difficult to find an affordable freehold home (or even a reasonably priced leasehold home!) in Singapore, especially in Bukit Timah, which has many GCB enclaves. So when I saw a list of freehold land properties at around $3 million in Hillview Garden Estate I immediately thought of adding it to my series of land tours as I hadn’t previously covered any land estate in the West.
Well, some people may say that Upper Bukit Timah is not really Bukit Timah. But, if you’re determined to buy a 999 year lease or a freehold house, want to live in west Singapore, and don’t have a huge budget, that’s about as good as it gets for you. the moment.
When I typed “Hillview Garden Estate” into the URA space map, these are the streets that appear:
- Jalan Dermawan (seems to have the biggest houses – and asking prices – in the area. If I had the money and wanted to live in this area, this would be the street I would choose as the roads here are very wide. You can have cars parked on both sides and still have room to drive comfortably on the road!)
- Chu Lin Road
- Chu Yen Street
- Jalan Gumilang
- Jalan Intan
- Jalan Remaja
- Elizabeth Walk
- A little further south there are also Hillview Drive, Hillview Crescent, etc., but these do not appear to be part of Hillview Garden Estate, despite the similarity in names.
Currently, here are the properties available for sale (at the time of writing) if you have a $3 million budget:
One thing I love about Hillview Garden Estate is that the houses here (even the terraces) are very large. So big, in fact, that my mother insisted that the terraced houses were individual. Yes, even if the houses shared common walls! I think we need to remind you of the difference between a terrace and a detached house…
Anyway, all the terraces listed above have plots over 2,000 square feet. To give you an idea of the size of a terraced property, note that at MacPherson Garden Estate some of the landhouses are only 900 square feet. !
However, keep in mind that with a detached house, bigger is not always better. I have observed that the noisiest houses tend to be the “medium sized” ones between the terrace and the GCBs as they are not that far from their neighbors but have room for a pool or play area so that the children can have fun outside all day long — as is their right since it is their home!
But this usually has a downside, unfortunately for their neighbors. (You should hear some of my friends who live in semi-detached houses complaining, they can even hear the kids next door sitting inside the house with all the windows and doors closed!) That said, I don’t have noticed no swimming pool in the houses of Hillview Garden Estate.
When I visited Hillview Garden Estate it reminded me a bit of the Teacher’s Housing Estate. As mentioned above, the houses are quite large, even though they are terraced houses, so the area feels more spacious than the average Singaporean land enclave.
It may also be thanks to several empty plots of land bordering – which will probably soon be turned into condos, and the area is actually quite hilly. Unlike Teacher’s Housing Estate which is in a valley, Hillview Garden Estate is more like a series of small rolling bumps, similar to Sembawang Hills but less crowded.
Since Hillview is already bordered by numerous high-rise condo developments, Teacher’s Housing Estate feels even more serene (at least for now).
However, like Teacher’s Estate, the lanes here are more generous than the Singaporean average. Another thing I like is that some of the surrounding condos have thoughtfully located their facilities between the blocks and the individual houses, which creates a really nice setback between them.
Note that the road in between is the one the bus crosses, so I’m not sure what the road noise is like inside the units. (The sound moves up.)
As for what’s around Hillview Garden Estate, it looks like an oddly shaped pentagon on the map. Two sides are bordered by high-rise condos, and two sides by a green forest (designated as a park and for special use so that you are not completely surrounded by tall buildings, unlike the Thomson Garden estate) and the last side by empty land waiting to be developed into high-rise residences and an educational facility.
Probably because of the abundance of surrounding vegetation and empty land, the air was especially cool when walking around Hillview – so much so that I would happily walk around the area even if I wasn’t touring for Stacked! I know the weather has been humid this week, but the air is definitely not as chilly when I walk around my current apartment, so I don’t think it’s rain related.
Looking at the nearby heavily forested area, I wonder if wildlife is an issue here. I had already researched the leasehold homes on Almond Avenue, which isn’t too far away, and when I messaged a local resident to find out what it was like to live there -Down, she didn’t seem to like it very much.
“Monkeys… boars…” In short, she was soon going to terminate her lease!
Like Opera Estate, there is a row of shophouses in Hillview Garden Estate. I ended up coming back with a few egg cartons! Although there are fewer shops here. They understand:
- An egg store (they sell salted eggs and chicken eggs which range in price from $5.50 to $9, depending on the size of the eggs – price is per carton of 30)
- 7 eleven
- A spa
- A bar
- An Italian restaurant
Apart from these shops, Hillview Garden Estate seems to be a little inconvenient when it comes to amenities, the closest commercial units seem to be at Hillv2, about a 10-15 minute walk away. According to the directory, there is a Starbucks, a Cedele and a Hillview Market Place (not the cheapest of supermarkets, although very nice).
As for transport, Hillview Garden Estate is a 20 minute walk from the Hillview MRT station according to Google Maps, although there is a bus that runs around the edge of the estate. It doesn’t seem to come very often as the same people were still waiting for the bus 30 minutes after I walked. On the bright side, the reduced frequency meant that Hillview felt quieter than Opera Estate.
Things to note about Hillview Garden Estate:
- Fun fact: one of the first Google suggestions that popped up when I typed in “Jalan Derm…”. in my search bar was “Jalan Dermawan haunted house”.
- Today, the mansion in question has been demolished and only the gates remain, but apparently it’s one of Singapore’s most famous haunted houses. (The parcel in question is at the top of the slope.)
- There are quite a few noisy dogs in this area – don’t get me wrong. I love dogs and I’m actually trying to adopt one. But this is the only area where I heard two to three dogs barking continuously early in the morning. (And not at around the same time, so the barking was an independent event, not a chain reaction.)
- There are several childcare institutions within the estate as well as a retirement home, United Medical Centerat Elizabeth Drive.
- I think choosing the right lot here will be crucial as some homes are on higher lots than others, some units have morning and afternoon sun while others don’t and obviously the properties next to child care centers won’t be the quietest.
- Although when I previously looked for an apartment next to a nursing home, temple and shops, residents told me that it is actually the elderly care center which is the noisiest, so you never know.
- Also, due to the hilly nature of the area, many houses are elevated and you have to climb steps to get to the front door of the house, which is not ideal if you have babies in strollers or elderly people in the family. It might be possible to rebuild the level of the house (or have a ramp) but you will need to consult your architect/contractor about this.
- The area is very green – in addition to the huge forest (park and special use area), there are also several small parks scattered around the estate and a community garden, which I thought was a good idea ( see the URA space map at the top of the article for park locations).
- It is close to the Lam Soon industrial building, where there is a garden centre/nursery.
- PSA: I think this is the T-junction where Hillview Road meets Upper Bukit Timah (I’m not 100% sure as I was driving and couldn’t jot down the name of the road), but it’s one of the worst signposted highways that I’ve driven.
- There are left and right turning lanes at this junction, but apparently you can only turn right at certain times.
- This information is shared on a very small panel that many drivers may miss. I certainly did – luckily my mum pointed it out, otherwise it could have resulted in quite a serious accident as the roads here are heavily traveled by vehicles, even at seven or eight in the morning.
- Speaking of traffic, the traffic from Hillview Garden Estate into town is quite heavy (the heaviest I have ever encountered on any of my property visits, 99% of which are done at the same time in the morning) and there is lots of heavy vehicles on the road so if you have elderly parents driving you might want to take note.
- There are several new condos coming to the area, one of which is Mount Botanik Residences as well as Midwood
READ ALSO: Sembawang Land House Sold For $5.7M, D27’s Highest In Two Years
This article was first published in Stackedhomes.