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  • Writer's picturePriscilla Low

A Review Of A 1 Bedder Conservation Apartment At Kim Yam Road



Let's dive right into it - what exactly is a Conservation Apartment? This unique property type, which I have the privilege to market, might just be the next gem you're looking for.


Certain areas/streets in Singapore are zoned as Heritage Conservation Areas. Can you guess some of these areas? Yes, Joo Chiat, Tanjong Pagar, and Chinatown have pretty Peranakan/colonial designs or quaint shophouses along the road. 



So, the buildings and apartments in these conservation areas are known as Conservation Properties. According to URA, more than 7,000 buildings have been gazetted for conservation. Click here to see where these Heritage Conservation Areas are.


URA broadly group these areas into four categories -


  1. Historic Districts such as Boat Quay, Chinatown, Little India are the city's oldest areas. Many of the buildings in these areas are still intact.

  2. Residential Historic Districts, such as Cairnhill and Emerald Hill, are residential areas developed close to the city centre in the early years.

  3. Secondary Settlements such as Geylang and Joo Chiat developed when people started moving out of the crowded city areas to the city fringe.

  4. Bungalows of various architectural styles are retained for their rich character and heritage roots. Some are good-class bungalows that are out of the reach of many average Singaporeans. There are also conservation colonial houses that are available for rent, while others have been conserved within residential projects, such as a clubhouse in Haus on Handy, a restaurant in Sophia Hills, an entrance at Emerald Garden, etc.


To be honest, as a pure humanities student, I am deeply thankful that we have this initiative in Singapore. As a salaried worker before, I was too busy with the daily grind of life to take a look at my surroundings as I went about my day. 



Now, as a realtor, I get to see so many properties, and being a part of this Conservation Apartment journey really makes me smile. Knowing that our future generations can see a piece of history alive. Priceless.


Take a look at the two photos above from the URA webpage. They tell a powerful story of conservation. This building would have been pulled down, every brick thrown away, and it would only exist as a photograph.  Instead, it was given a new lease on life, reborn like a phoenix, and defiantly standing against the test of time. It's a testament to the power of conservation.


Oops, that sounds drama-sounding, but it is really true. Hahaha! Okie, enough of my artsy, flowery tones. Let's start talking about this unit that I am marketing—a one-bedroom unit (581 sqft) at 35 Kim Yam Road for less than $900K.



Location Scan



35 Kim Yam is within a conservation area under the secondary settlement district. It is strategically nestled in the exciting areas of River Valley and Mohamed Sultan. Many amenities and lovely F&B outlets, such as Mohamed Sultan, Robertson Quay, and UE Shopping Mall, are at its doorstep. 


For nature lovers, the nearby Singapore River offers a perfect evening stroll, and Fort Canning Hill offers a good workout basking in the fresh air of its lush greenery. 



Canninghill Square by CDL



One exciting development in this area is the upcoming retail mall Canninghill Square and residential condo Canninghill Piers, which replaces the previous Liang Court. Led by CDL and designed by Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group, this building will be an architectural icon and visual anchor of the Fort Canning and Clarke Quay area. 


What can we expect from Canninghill Squares? By mid-2025, this neighbourhood will be enriched with three levels of F&B and retail amenities, offering residents a vibrant and convenient lifestyle and a promising investment opportunity for potential investors!



New Bahru by The Lo & Behold Group



And just opposite 35 Kim Yam, another exciting enhancement will be unveiled in Q3 of 2024! The luxurious Lo & Behold Group, which owns three-Michelin-starred French restaurant Odette, Tanjong Beach Club, Michelin Bib Gourmand awardee The Coconut Club and natural wines bar Le Bon Funk, is building a lifestyle cluster called New Bahru.


Taking over the site of the previous Nan Chiau High School, it will soon be home to dozens of exciting homegrown brands such as The Coconut Club, One Fattened Calf for their famous burgers, MasterChef Singapore judge Bjorn Shen’s Middle-Eastern mezze and kebab bar Artichoke, and prawn mee eatery One Prawn & Co


This new kid on the block is a culinary haven, where people can enjoy the convenience of dining at some of Singapore’s most well-loved food establishments all under one roof.



URA Masterplans




35 Kim Yam is also right in the midst of many URA masterplans. Just about 1 KM away, there will be the Orchard Road Rejuvenation. Apart from bringing the orchard back to Orchard Road, where it will showcase colourful blooms of tropical flowers, we will also see exciting enhancements and offerings at the Somerset and Orchard Interchange areas to pull in both tourists and local crowds. 



Just 2 KM away, there are plans for a Greater CBD. Apart from being focused as a commercial hub in the day and a ghost town at night, the CBD areas will slowly transform into exciting places to live and play.


In time to come, the streets of CBD will be filled with hip restaurants, bars, and boutique gyms, as well as the vibrant street life that has emerged in fringe CBD areas such as Boat Quay, Circular Road, and Telok Ayer.



Down a little south are the plans for the Greater Southern Waterfront, which will bring about transformational change to this area—where people can live where they work and work where they live. New attractions will also replace the two disused power stations, while Sentosa will also be revitalised. 



Connectivity


35 Kim Yam's connectivity is unparalleled. For drivers, many key office areas are a short 10-minute drive away. Even the custom Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints' at the furthest northern or west corner only take 25 minutes.

  • 4 mins to Orchard Road

  • 6 mins drive to CBD or Chinatown

  • 9 mins to Bugis or Little India

  • 20mins to Changi Airport or Jurong

  • 25 minutes to Woodlands Checkpoint or Tuas Checkpoint



Excellent Network Of Buses



35 Kim Yam is well-served by a myriad of buses. About a 400m walk to the bus stop along Mohamed Sultan Road before Kim Yam Road (see green bus stops), you will find four bus routes—Bus 139, 195, 32, and 54—that can take you to various parts of Singapore, such as Toa Payoh, Bukit Merah, Marina Centre, Bedok, Buona Vista, Bishan, Kampong Bahru, and more. 


If you take a 550m walk to the bus stop at UE Square, there are another three bus routes—Bus 123, 143, and 64—that can take you to Beach Road, Toa Payoh, Jurong East, Sims Place, and more. 


More importantly, these buses pass by many MRT stations within 2-4 stops - truly the epitome of accessibility!

Bus Stop

MRT

Bus Routes

Green bus icons

  • 2 stops to Great World MRT

  • 2 stops to Fort Canning MRT

  • 4 stops to Dhoby Ghaut MRT

  • 139, 195, 32 and 54

  • 195, 32, 54

  • 139

Blue bus icons

  • 2 stops to Chinatown MRT

  • 3 stops to Somerset MRT

  • 3 stops to Havelock MRT

  • 143

  • 123

  • 64



Nice Scroll to MRT Stations


For those who commute via MRT, there are two MRT stations that you can choose from. It is about a 1 KM scroll to Somerset MRT (black dotted line), where you can get your nostalgic breakfast toast, eggs and coffee set at Killiney coffee shop en route to the office or an 800m walk to Fort Canning MRT (pink dotted line) as you can explore the up-market areas of Robertson Quay.


Building Features





One of the worries about conservation areas is that they could be old and shabby, or certain units could be run down or come in a kaleidoscope of colours that may give you a headache. But this worry is unfounded at River Valley. The units here are well-maintained, nicely painted in white, and give off a welcoming vibe. 



Ground Floor Unit



Let's review the apartment itself. 35 Kim Yam is a three-storey private apartment [the grey building on the right] comprising six units over three floors at the end of a street of conservation homes.


My unit is a ground-floor unit located slightly below the main road. The external facade is different from the usual characteristic design that comes to your mind when you think of a conservation apartment, but don't judge a book by its cover because it is indeed a conservation apartment with its splendour and charm. 


Most people will walk past using the main road, and the unit is below eye level, which helps to keep it away from passersby's nosy stares. While there is a private corridor outside the unit, our unit is the last corner unit and thus enjoys a private cul-de-sac area.




Psst psst, another interesting nugget of info, albeit non-verified, about the staircase that leads down to the main door of this unit. Hearsay that this could indicate good fengshui because water that flows down when it rains could be interpreted as incoming wealth. Those who are believers of fengshui, please verify this with your master to ensure that this saying is valid and applies to you.


The next worry could be that this unit is below the road level. Will it get flooded in a heavy downpour? This worry isn't unfounded, especially when Singapore issues flash flood alerts during the high-volume downpour days.


The chance should be small:

  1. This area isn't listed in the flood-prone regions compiled by PUB as of 31 January 2024.

  2. The unit is on the upslope, so the first direction of water flow would be downstream towards the lower grounds.

  3. There is a good network of drainage systems outside the house.

So, I believe the chances of striking the lottery are higher than a flood in this unit. 



Layout Of Unit


It is often difficult to get floor plans for older properties. Thus, I have recreated the floor plans and also done up space planning as if it were a bachelor pad for singles and a cosy home for a couple! 





This unit is a generous 1BR unit of 581 sqft, comprising a living area, master bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and yard. There are many plus to this layout:


  • Bathroom: The bathroom location is also well-positioned, almost like an en-suite to the master bedroom yet near enough to the living area. 

  • Kitchen: The kitchen, situated at the end of the unit with windows opening to the yard, offers a unique layout. You can enclose the kitchen, a rare feature in 1BR units these days. Many 1BR and 2BR units can only accommodate an open kitchenette.

  • Open Yard: This is a gem for this unit. In addition to letting natural light and wind flow into the house, it is also an excellent corner for your vertical garden, spice garden, and laundry drying. 

  • Master Bedroom: It is spacious enough for a queen bed, wardrobes, and a study table. What more can you ask for?

  • Living Area: A big rectangular space that flows seamlessly between the living and dining areas. The dining area overlooks the open yard, and you can add a bar table and high chairs to sip your coffee while enjoying your garden.




Look at this inviting space, which has an nice price tag plus a low maintenance fee of $XX per quarter!


Next, let's discuss what it means to own a conservation apartment. One thing you must know is the 3R Principles. 



Uniqueness Of A Conservation Apartment


3R Principles



What are the 3R Principles? In short, 3R refers to the three fundamental principles of conservation: maximum Retention, Sensitive Restoration, and Careful Repair. These principles apply no matter how small or large, simple or complex the heritage building is. So, if you are involved in any conservation projects, make sure that the architects, engineers, and contractors apply the 3R in their work so that they restore it properly.


The original structure and architectural elements of historic buildings should be retained and restored as far as possible, without reconstructing the entire building, and repaired using original methods and materials whenever possible.


Before and during any conservation work, there should be thorough research and documentation to ensure that restoration work is carried out accurately and carefully. And the technical aspects and processes of the various activities should be documented at every stage of the conservation work.


If this mumbo-jumbo scares you, you will be happy to know that 35 Kim Yam Road is a private apartment building of six units. Thus, you are not alone. If any conservation work is involved, you will discuss it with the MCST and the other residents. 


Furthermore, in the world of conservation buildings, where some of the oldest buildings could date back to the 1800s, 35 Kim Yam is much newer than many of the other conservation homes. Thus, the extent of conservation work should be greatly minimised. 



Government's Support For Conservation


If the conservation cost is a worry, the government provides various assistance to encourage private owners to restore their buildings. They include:

  • waiver of development charge and car park deficiency charge, where applicable; and

  • waiver of the need to provide car park lots where applicable.



Property Value Of Conservation Properties



In 2019, a study published by Assistant Professor of Law Edward Ti from the Singapore Management University and urban planner and senior tutor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Tan Bin Shin suggested' a positive and significant relationship between conserving property and an increase in value for neighbouring properties' — aka conservation may have a positive impact on property value in Singapore. Yay, this is good news for owners of Conservation Properties!


With the conservation of historical buildings, the Government also dedicates resources to 

improve the environment of conservation areas, such as its infrastructure and utilities, to withstand time.  



Price Analysis


Talking about property value, let's compare the price analysis of this 35 Kim Yam unit to those around it. There is a saying in the property market: 'There is a buyer for every house, as long as the price is right and the house meets their needs.'


  • When it comes to 35 Kim Yam, I can imagine the first objection being—why should I buy a leasehold when it is surrounded by freehold homes? In fact, there is The Waterford Residences (999-year lease) and Vivace (freehold) just around 35 Kim Yam. 



Translated PSF comparison - Leasehold vs Freehold


The table below shows the transacted PSF of the non-landed private properties within a 300-m radius of 35 Kim Yam Road that have smaller units (below 800 sqft).


Almost all transactions have closed at almost $2,000 PSF and above, while 35 Kim Yam is listed at $1,550 PSF, which is 25% below these freehold prices.

No.

Condo

Last Transacted Month

Last Transacted PSF

1

RV Point / 2014 / 999YR

Jan 2024

$1951 / 484sqft

2

Waterford Residences / 2011 / 999YR

Jul 2017

$1974 / 517sqft

3

Robertson Edge / 2008 / 999YR

Apr 2024

$2015 / 689sqft

4

The Inspira / 2009 / FH

Jul 2021

$2053 / 667sqft

5

Starlight Suites / 2014 /FH

Oct 2023

$2122 / 560sqft

6

Vivace / 2012 / FH

Mar 2024

$2151 / 420sqft

7

Attitude @ Kim Yam / 2011 / 999YR

Jan 2024

$2182 / 355sqft

8

Martin Place Residences / 2011 / FH

Jul 2022

$2260 / 592sqft

9

Two8One / 2011 /999YR

Aug 2023

$2323 / 517sqft

10

The Pier @ Robertson / 2006 / FH

Jun 2023

$2342 / 657sqft

11

Martin Modern / LH

Mar 2024

$2578 / 764sqft

What does this translate to actual prices? If we compare the prices of leasehold units vs freehold units of the same size, these would be the prices: 

  1. 35 Kim Yam at 581 sqft - $899,000 negotiable

  2. A Freehold unit at 581 sqft - At least $1.13M to $1.36M


This translates to a budget difference of almost $250K and more. If you do have a budget, feel free to shop around for a freehold unit. Otherwise, 35 Kim Yam will win hands-down for its attractive entry-level prices, if I may say again, less than $900K for a 1-bedroom conservation apartment unit at D9. Enuff said. Period. 



Transacted Prices - Leasehold vs Freehold


Of course, in the real world, we can hardly find two exact units of 581 sqft for leasehold and freehold. So, let's explore the transacted prices of the non-landed private properties within a 300-m radius of 35 Kim Yam Road that have smaller units (below 800 sqft).


Ranked in ascending prices, we can see that:


  • Row 1 to 3 (yellow block): Yay, there are transactions below $950K, but these units are also smaller units of 500 sqft and below. It will be a much cosier home and more suited for a single occupant. These units are about 10 to 13 years old. 

  • Row 4 to 7 (white block): With a budget of $1M to $1.35M, you can find units about 500 to 600 sqft at the same age of 10 to 13 years old. These sizes are more on par with 35 Kim Yam.

  • Row 8 to 9 (yellow block): Looking at a higher range of $1.35M to $1.5M, these spacious units are about 600 to 700 sqft. Age-wise, they are slightly older, at about 15 to 16 years old. 

  • Row 8 to 9 (yellow block): Ranked at the top of about of $1.5M to $2M, pick a 1BR unit in an older condo with a better location or a 2BR unit in a newer 3-year-old condo.

No.

Condo / TOP Year / Tenure

Last Transacted Month

Last Transacted Price / Size

1

Attitude @ Kim Yam / 2011 / 999YR

Jan 2024

$775K / 355sqft

2

Vivace / 2012 / FH

Mar 2024

$902.8K / 420sqft

3

RV Point / 2014 / 999YR

Jan 2024

$945K / 484sqft

4

Waterford Residences / 2011 / 999YR

Jul 2017

$1.020M / 517sqft

5

Starlight Suites / 2014 /FH

Oct 2023

$1.188M / 560sqft

6

Two8One / 2011 /999YR

Aug 2023

$1.2M / 517sqft

7

Martin Place Residences / 2011 / FH

Jul 2022

$1.338M / 592sqft

8

Robertson Edge / 2008 / 999YR

Apr 2024

$1.388M / 689sqft

9

The Inspira / 2009 / FH

Jul 2021

$1.37M / 667sqft

10

The Pier @ Robertson / 2006 / FH

Jun 2023

$1.538M / 657sqft

11

Martin Modern / 2021 / LH

Mar 2024

$1.97M / 764sqft


Transacted Prices - Conservation Apartments Vs Conservation Terrace Homes


Along Kim Yam Road are rows of Conservation Terrace Homes. 35 Kim Yam Road is one of the most affordable conservation apartments with this attractive price tag. If you compare the transacted prices of these single-storey Conservation Terrace Homes, 35 Kim Yam, at about $1,550 PSF, is a steal!



Why Should You Buy 35 Kim Yam?


At this point, this is already an 11-minute read. Let's summarise the key points:


  1. LOW PRICE QUANTUM — where can I find such prices at this size in this area? At such a price tag, this unit is not short of buyers. 

  2. UNIQUE STATUS OF A CONSERVATION APARTMENT — Buy the difference. Conservation apartments are rare compared to typical residential units.

  3. NO LACK OF TENANT POOL — An apartment with such a rich character often attracts a good supply of tenants

  4. A DISTRICT THAT WILL SEE ENHANCEMENTS — Enjoy this area's excellent connectivity and exciting new offerings. Leverage the Government's ambitious plan to transform the Orchard and CBD areas right at your doorstep. These changes should enhance the area's appeal and likely positively impact property values, making it an ideal time to invest in this vibrant location.

  5. GOOD LAYOUT AND GOOD SIZE — A one-bedroom apartment at 581 sqft with an open air well, an ample living area, and possibly an enclosed kitchen isn't easy to find these days.


I can go on and on about 35 Kim Yam Road, but given its price, this unit won't be in the market for long. So grab it when you have a chance. You know what to do — ping me to view this gem!



 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


PrisLowxProperty - Clients' Interest Over Mine. Always.

Pris Low has nearly 20 years of experience in the non-profit sector - representing consumers in their conflicts with retailers and advocating for the less privileged in our community.


Her social service background has helped her be sensitive and attentive to her client's needs and feelings to prepare them financially and emotionally to welcome their new homes. 


She has thrived because she doesn't tell her clients what to do. She hears their needs and explains the options to them. She respects every choice her clients make because she feels there is no wrong decision as long as it meets their needs and they are aware of the possible pitfalls and prepare for it. 


Her Clients' Interests Over Hers. Always.



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