Photo: chuttersnap on Unsplash

 

It’s been quite a year for high-profile HDB BTOs. First, there were not 1 but 2 oversubscribed Boon Keng BTOs, then there were rumours of a Keppel Club BTO. And now, there’s an upcoming BTO development in the coveted neighbourhood of Bishan.

Yup, it’s official: HDB is working on developing a Bishan BTO site, and those flats might be available from 2025 onwards.

But… Is it worth the 5-year wait? Here’s a compilation of what we know about the Bishan BTO so far.

 

What are the plans for the new Bishan BTO flats in 2025?

Here’s a Google Maps embed which shows you the location, size and shape of the upcoming Bishan BTO development:

 

 

This triangular plot of land along Bishan Street 14 used to be the ITE Bishan campus. It also subsequently housed SJI temporarily (while the original SJI was being upgraded).

 

The future Bishan BTO site as viewed from a nearby block.

 

Officially, it’s 44,424 sq ft large. It’s huge, in other words. According to news reports, HDB plans to build 1,504 new flats on the site. In total, there will be 6 blocks of flats, each 22 to 39 storeys high.

To give you a sense of scale, many of the recent BTO launches in mature estates are on very small plots of land with a lot fewer flats. For example, the upcoming Ang Mo Kio BTO in Nov has just 450 units, while the last Boon Keng BTO launch offered 580 units. With over 1,500 flats on offer, it seems like BTO balloters will have a bit more chance in Bishan.

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Aerial view of future Bishan BTO site.

Also, the recent mature estate BTOs only went up to 4-room flats in size, presumably due to land constraints. With its larger plot size and longkang-front location (next to the Kallang River), there’s a chance that the Bishan BTO might offer a few 5-room or even 3Gen flats with balconies.

 
… Is it really only 5 minutes away from Bishan MRT & Junction 8?

For many Singaporeans, the huge plot size and waterfront ambience of the upcoming Bishan BTO are kind of like the 2 free side dishes you get at Astons. They’re nice and all, but the real main course is the BTO’s “prime location”.

I have walked from the Bishan BTO site to Bishan MRT station (exit D, Circle Line side) and can confirm that it takes less than 5 minutes’ walk.

 

Bishan MRT station Exit D (Circle Line).

 
It’s also sheltered most of the way!

Sheltered walkway from the Bishan BTO site to the MRT

If you want to get to the North South Line of Bishan MRT station, it’s maybe another 5 minutes more. This is also where Junction 8 is.

TL;DR? New Bishan BTO is 5 minutes to Bishan MRT (Circle Line) and 10 minutes to the North South Line and Junction 8.

 
What other amenities are within walking distance of the Bishan BTO?

What, can’t you get everything from Junction 8!? It is, after all, a CapitaLand mall…

Okay, in all seriousness, Bishan does have a whole bunch of amenities, and they’re all within walking distance of the new Bishan BTO.

For grocery shopping, there are 2 NTUC FairPrice outlets in Bishan: NTUC FairPrice Finest in the basement of Junction 8, and the “normal” FairPrice in Bishan Central.

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The NTUC FairPrice at Junction 8 in Bishan.

 
Actually Bishan Central isn’t bad; it has a Giant, a fruit stall, bakeries and budget shops for all your other day-to-day needs. Other important buildings in Bishan Central are the CPF building and Bishan Library.
 

Bishan Public Library.

For sports and fitness, you’d be living right next to the Kallang River park connector, which links right up to the Bishan ActiveSG gym and swimming complex. There’s also Bishan Community Centre (which houses a GymmBoxx) about 5 minutes away.

As for food, the bulk of the dining options in Bishan Central are at Junction 8. There are a few kopitiams scattered about, but there isn’t a main hawker centre like at other mature town centres.

 

Bishan Public Library.

 
There are a lot of good schools in Bishan too, right?

To say that Bishan has good schools is an understatement — Raffles Institution eats “good schools” for breakfast. If you have high hopes that your kid will become a future head of state or at least a highly paid MP, then this is the place to send him.

By 2020, there will be 2 more super high-profile schools in Bishan: Raffles Girls School and Eunoia JC (i.e., “the St Nicks JC” — it’s part of the integrated programme for SGCS, CHIJ St Nicholas and Catholic High).

For parents of younger kids, there are several “good” primary schools in Bishan to choose from: Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Secondary + Primary School (right next to the Bishan BTO development), Catholic High, and Ai Tong School.

 

Kuo Chuan Presbyterian — located next to the upcoming Bishan BTO.

Also, it’s not quite a school, but the Bishan BTO is also right next to the MOE Language Centre’s Bishan campus.

 
What’s the selling price of the new Bishan BTO flats?

I didn’t major in Divination at Hogwarts, so I couldn’t say, but here are some guesses I’ve seen online for the price of a 4-room flat in the Bishan BTO:

 
So, is it more like $440,000 or $600,000? Personally, I think it’s likely to be on the higher end of the range.

That’s because, working backwards from the 2025 TOP date, HDB will probably launch the Bishan BTO some time in 2021. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that BTO prices will go up in that 1 to 2 years’ time.

Now, the most expensive HDB BTO launch we’ve seen this year was Kallang/Whampoa (Boon Keng) in May 2019, which started from $562,000 for a 4-room flat.

I think it’s safe to say that the Bishan BTO flats will cost at least as much as a Boon Keng BTO flat now. Actually, it’s likely that they’ll be even more expensive, since Bishan is also a mature estate in the city-fringe region.

And that's all assuming that the Bishan BTO is just your average, bog-standard BTO development…

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Sky Vue & Sky Habitat are 2 immediate neighbours of the upcoming Bishan BTO.

 
Some websites speculate that, due to its waterfront location and proximity to expensive condos like Sky Habitat, the Bishan BTO might be a fancier DBSS-type development a la Natura Loft in Bishan North. If that’s the case, I’d expect the starting price of a 4-room flat to soar beyond $600,000.

Either way, if you’ve got your heart set on the upcoming Bishan BTO, be prepared to scrimp and save for the next 5 years.

 

 This article was originally published on MoneySmart.

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