- 1 Maplewoods Review: A Tropical Paradise
- 1.1 Ratings of Maplewoods
- 1.2 Maplewoods Project Info
- 1.3 Facilities & Ground of Maplewoods
- 1.4 Walking Through Maplewoods
- 1.5 Location: Maplewoods Best Attribute
- 1.6 Site Analysis: Choosing The Best Stacks
- 1.7 Future Government Plans Near Maplewoods
- 1.8 Pricing
- 1.9 Concluding Thoughts
Maplewoods Review: A Tropical Paradise
By Danny Han
Along the stretch of Bukit Timah Road, there remain only a handful of condo projects where you can enjoy the luxury of space. One such project is Maplewoods.
Though it is now more than 20 years old (completed in 1997), it still enjoys popularity with both locals and expatriate families mainly because of its spacious apartments and proximity to excellent local schools and international schools.
For many years, Maplewoods residents suffered much inconvenience and disruptions due to the construction of the MRT Downtown Line. On many occasions, they went back and forth with the authorities over the safety concerns arising from the construction works. One notable incident was the sinking of the soil after a nearby drain embankment caved in on 17 January 2012 in the course of tunnelling works.
Eventually, the King Albert Park Station was opened on 27 December 2015. Today, residents of Maplewoods enjoy the convenience of the MRT that is only 230m away, bringing them to downtown in a matter of minutes.
Ratings of Maplewoods
- Luscious greenery
- Lovely landscaping and water features
- Convenience: near MRT (Downtown Line)
- Ample covered parking
- Minimart, shops, clinic and café in the condo
- Spacious units
- Good security because need access cards to gain entry
- Good layout
- Near good schools: within 1km to Methodist Girls’ School and Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School (only block 991 and 993)
- Popular with expatriates
- Resort feel
- Huge ground
- Full condo facilities
- Well equipped gym
- Covered walkway from the main entrance to Methodist Girls’ School and across from King Albert Park MRT
- Some units are very dark
- Some units are too close to Floridian, Casa Esperanza and Nexus
- The carparks are not interconnected and can be quite confusing for first-time visitors
- Some units with balconies that are not functional because they have no shelters
- Finishing very dated
- Signs of ageing everywhere
- Swimming pool (only one main pool and one wading pool) too small for so many residents
- Shelters at security point and drop off points offer insufficient protection from rain
Maplewoods Project Info
|Land Size (sqm)
|Bukit Timah Road
|Number of Units
|2BR (850 – 1066SF)
4BR (1776 – 1894SF)
PENTHOUSE (2734 – 2756SF)
Facilities & Ground of Maplewoods
- Swimming Pool
- Wading Pool
- 4 Tennis Courts
- Squash Court
- Basketball court
- Club House
- Multi-Purpose Hall
- Outdoor Fitness centres
- Minimart, Shops, clinics
Once a European client of mine remarked that newer condos in Singapore lack character because they are like factory mass productions. Most are rubber-stamped with standard features like glass facades, minimalist designs and typical colour schemes.
In contrast, Maplewoods stands out with its ‘old world’ charm and resort feel.
Walking Through Maplewoods
The moment you step into Maplewoods, you feel like you are in a tropical paradise. Trees, trees and more trees. Walking around the compound is like walking through a park. You are as close to ‘nature’ as possibly can be, making Maplewoods a perfect hideaway from the hustle and bustle of city life.
With a vast ground of almost 600,000 square feet and only 697 apartment units (compared with Leedon Green 638 units on 306,000sf land), the foliage is in abundance.
The buildings blended in well with their coordinated colour scheme. There is so much common space and walkway around the compound that makes Maplewoods so incredibly alluring.
You can jog around the whole complex instead of going to the sports complex or Park Connectors!
Maplewoods distinguishes itself with its rustic charm and bohemian appeal. It cleverly uses faux structures and grids to add character to the architectural design.
The driveway into the compound is an atypical brick-laid road. There are various drop-off points where the shelters are too short to provide sufficient protection from the rain.
The centrepiece of Maplewoods is its curvy-shaped pool, albeit a tad too small for a condo development of its size. Surrounded by palm trees and coconut trees, dotted with plants, adorned with faux rocks, and decked with picnic table sets, it does have a charming ambience and a resort feel to it.
At the clubhouse, you will find a decent size gym which is very well-equipped with numerous cardio equipment and muscle-building machines and free weights.
You can even find a table-tennis table tucked away in one corner outside the gym.
Maplewoods is one of the few old-time developments where you can find squash courts. Squash was a trendy sport in Singapore from the 1970s to 1990s. During this period, we see the proliferation of squash courts all over the island, including many condominiums.
I can still remember (yes, I am that old) the likes of Zainal Abidin, Peter Hill, Anthony Chua, Stewart Ballard and Jeremy Yeo, who blossomed into the squash arena around the same time. They helped Singapore to dominate the East Asian and Asian scenes and even the world stage.
Zainal Abidin was East Asian Champion for nine consecutive years between 1980 to 1989.
Singapore won all four gold medals at stake in the inaugural squash event in the 1991 South East Asian Games in Manila and went on to win in 1993 and 1995. It was another 22 years of hiatus before Singapore won the SEA Games (men) in 2017.
Maplewoods is truly for sport-lovers. Apart from squash court, it even has a basketball court and four tennis courts. Yes, you heard it right, four tennis courts!
Like some large condo developments, such as Pandan Valley, Mandarin Gardens, Bayshore Park and Ridgewood, Maplewoods also has a minimart, retail shops, laundry, clinics and café. One cannot underestimate the convenience of these services, especially in times of urgent needs.
Location: Maplewoods Best Attribute
Transportation & Accessibility
With the advent of King Albert Park MRT (Downtown Line), Maplewoods is linked to CBD in just a matter of minutes.
- 22 minutes to Suntec City (Promenade MRT)
- 25 minutes to MBS (Bayfront MRT)
- 28 minutes to Telok Ayer MRT
The MRT is a bliss for those who work in the Marina Bay and Raffles Place areas.
|Distance From Condo (& Est. Off-Peak Drive Time)
|Bukit Timah Road
|850m, 3-min drive
|3.9km, 7-min drive
|Upper Bukit Timah Road
|1.7km, 4-min drive
|Clementi Ave 6
|2.7km, 5-min drive
|5.5km, 8-min drive
|7.9km, 12-min drive
|5.1km, 8-min drive
|2.1km, 6-min drive
|15.6km, 17-min drive
|12.8km, 14-min drive
|3.4km, 7-min drive
|12.3km, 13-min drive
|8.4km, 10-min drive
The problem with Bukit Timah Road is the traffic can be very slow during morning and evening rush hours. There seems to be a bottle-neck just before the Bukit Timah/Clementi Road junction.
The short stretch of road along Bukit Timah Road just before the Clementi Road junction is a bottle-neck. Part of the problem is the location of the bus stop, which is too near the junction. The buses prevent motorists who want to turn into Clementi Road from keeping left.
If you drive out from Maplewoods wanting to get to the right lane to get to Jalan Anak Bukit and PIE or making a U-turn towards Dunearn Road, it can be a nightmare.
Driving to JB is a breeze via PIE and BKE. The 15km stretch takes a mere 17 mins to reach the Woodlands checkpoint (with clear traffic).
Maplewoods is almost in between the bus stops outside Nexus (Bus Stop 42041) and King Albert Park MRT (Bus Stop 42051). To take buses along Dunean Road, you would need to either cross the overhead bridge at Nexus (to Bus Stop 42039) or King Albert Park MRT (to bus stop 42049 next to Hua Guan Gardens).
On a wet day, the bus stop outside Nexus offers a seamless sheltered linkway from Maplewoods.
Bus services: 66, 67, 74, 77, 151, 154, 157, 170, 171, 174, 852, 961C, 961, 970
Located in the educational belt, there are good choices of primary schools, secondary schools, junior colleges and tertiary institutions.
It is noteworthy that Methodist Girls’ Primary School is within 1km to Maplewoods. As for Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School, based on OneMap, only blocks 991 and 993 are within 1km to Maplewoods (do verify with the school).
For secondary schools, you have top schools like Methodist Girls’ School next door, and Hwa Chong Institution and Nanyang Girls’ School, which are only two MRT stations away. For JCs, both Hwa Chong JC and NJC are also along Bukit Timah Road. Taking public buses is about as convenient.
- Pibos Garden (245m)
- Pre-school By-The-Park (277m)
- Childfirst (316m)
- Montessori Children’s House Kindergarten (755m away)
- Nurturing Roots Montessori Preschool(781m away)
- Methodist Girls’ School (267m)
- Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School (996m)
- Bukit Timah Primary School 2.5km 7 min drive
- Hwa Chong 3km 6 min drive. 2 MRT stations
- National Junior College 3.6km 7 min drive. 2 MRT stations
- Nanyang Girls’ High 2.5km 4 min drive
- Raffles Girls’ Primary School 3.2km 5 min drive
- Nanyang Primary School 3.9km 7 min drive
- Ngee Ann Polytechnic 1.8km 5 min drive
- SIM 2.1km 4 mins drive
- National University of Singapore 5.1km 8 min drive
- Singapore Polytechnic 5km 7 min drive
- Hollandse School 2km 4 min drive
- Korean International School 2.1km 5 min drive
- Boston International School 2.5km 7 min drive
- GESS International School 5km 10 min drive
- United World College (SEA) 6.1km 10 min drive
- INSEAD Asia Campus 6.2km 10 min drive
- Tanglin Trust 7.2km 12 min drive
- Essec Business School 7.1km 12 min drive
In terms of shopping and eating options, Maplewoods is within short driving distance to Bukit Timah Plaza, Guthrie House, Grandstand, Coronation Plaza and Holland Village. You don’t find any amenities at its doorstep.
The closest amenities within walking distance away would be 869@Link (former Sime Darby) and KAP Mall.
- Fairprice Bukit Timah Plaza 900m 12 min walk
- Fairprice Coronation Plaza 3.2km 2 MRT stations
- Cold Storage Sime Darby 600m 7 min walk
- Cold Storage Guthrie House 1.4km
- Bukit Timah Plaza 781m 10 min walk
- KAP 680m 7 min walk
- Holland Village 4.3km
- Grandstand 1.5km
Site Analysis: Choosing The Best Stacks
Maplewoods is surrounded by three condos and a school.
To the west is Casa Esperanza; to the east is Nexus; to the south-east is Floridian; to the south is Methodist Girls’ School. To the north is Bukit Timah Road.
Hence, all the outside-facing units are either looking at another condo or the road.
Facing the low-rise school may not be so bad for those on the higher floors (except school bell ringing or band practising). However, some of these units may have afternoon sun.
Not forgetting some stacks have very poor lighting
As we look at the site plan, there are not many ideal stacks.
First choice: Block 991 Stacks 01 (1378sf), 02 (1495sf) & 03 (1495sf).
- Furthest to the blocks on the other end at about 127m
- No afternoon sun
- No road noise, but will have noise from the swimming pool.
- They are within 1km to Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School (please double confirm).
Second choice: Block 993 Stacks 02 (1496sf), 03 (1496sf) & 04 (1378sf).
- About 74m away from the block across
- No afternoon sun (except Stack 04 some sun in the balcony)
- No road noise. Some noise from the swimming pool
- They are within 1km to Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School (please double confirm).
Third choice: Block 989 Stacks 02 (1496sf) & 03 (1496sf)
- About 74m away from the block across
- No afternoon sun
- No road noise
Future Government Plans Near Maplewoods
In our previous article, we have highlighted a few future plans that the government has for the Bukit Timah area.
Sky Park above the Bukit Timah Canal
The government has announced plan for a new green corridor that will connect Singapore’s three national gardens when it is completed in the coming years.
The 11km Bukit Timah-Rochor Green Corridor, which will run parallel to the Bukit Timah Canal, will give cyclists and pedestrians a continuous path between Jurong Lake Gardens, the Singapore Botanic Gardens and Gardens by the Bay.
Construction for the first phase, a 1.4km elevated linear park that will lie above the canal between Bukit Timah and Dunearn Road, will begin in 2021. There are plans for it to be extended to Kallang Riverside Park in the future.
Integrated Transport Hub
Another proposal to the Draft Master Plan 2019 is an Integrated Transport Hubs (ITHs) at Beauty World. It will be a fully air-conditioned bus interchange that provides seamless connection between MRT stations and adjoining commercial developments such as shopping malls.
The railway system is a heritage inherited from the Singapore-Malaysia long-standing transport system. The KTM land and railway, owned by Malaysia, were reverted to Singapore on 30 June 2011.
Since the railway system was no longer operational, our government has decided on various plans for the 24 km track that runs through almost the entire length of Singapore.
As part of the Master Plan, the Bukit Timah Road Truss Bridge, railway tracks, railway station and Station Master’s Quarters near King Albert Park MRT, will be conserved.
The Railway Station will become a heritage gallery, and the Station Master’s Quarters will be converted into an F&B site. These sites are less than 10 mins walk from Maplewoods.
Holland Plain will be a distinctive and welcoming neighbourhood, featuring generous park spaces for residents to enjoy. There will also be water-sensitive elements to clean and manage rainwater run-off. With the newly enhanced Bukit Timah First Diversion Canal and Rail Corridor at its doorstep, native species can be introduced into the new parks to extend these nearby habitats and enrich biodiversity in the area.
Holland Plain, slated to be ready from 2021 onwards, will be in Old Holland Road and have up to 2,500 private residential units.
The prices of Maplewoods have appreciated steadily over the years. In the last ten years, it has gained 42.95% and over five years 11.93%.The yearly number of transactions is quite healthy, averaging 22.4 transactions a year in the last five years.
Based on records found in Edgeprop, in the last five years, there are 89 profitable transactions versus one unprofitable transaction.
- Of the 89 profitable transactions, 19 of them made more than $1m.
- The highest $ per square foot transaction was registered on March 20202 at $1,724 psf at a price of $3.08m. The owner made $830,000 or an annualized gain of 3.4%.
- The biggest profit was $1.87m (5.1% annualized return). The 1787sf 4-bedder was sold for $2.89m on Oct 2019.
- In terms of annualized gain, the highest record is 21.2%! The ground floor 4-bedder was sold for $2.85m in Nov 19. The previous owner bought it for $1.97m in Dec 2017.
Maplewoods seems to fare better than the comparable older projects in the vicinity, such as Casa Esperanza, The Blossomvale and King Albert Lodge. It is quite on the same level as The Sterling.
What could possibly account for the hike in prices from early 2018 where 10 owners made more than $1m and another seven between $800k to $1m?
My guess is the buyers who paid record prices are the beneficiaries of several en bloc projects in the area.
In 2017, some of the en bloc projects in Bukit Timah area were Crystal Tower, Mayfair Gardens and Royalville. In 2018, we had City Towers and Chancery Court. These do not take into considerations those in the nearby Holland/Farrer Road area, such as Tulip Gardens, Hollandia, Estoril, Olina Lodge and Toho Mansion.
Many of these owners are so used to the space they had and Maplewoods is one of the very few that can fill the gap. The question is, will this upward trend continue at such a rate?
The completion of King Albert Park MRT in 2015 could also be another factor for the strong demand in Maplewoods.
Currently, there is an acute shortage of supply for the bigger 4-bedder in Maplewoods.
To be expected, the rental rate at Maplewoods is lower than the nearby newer projects.
In general, freehold projects in prime district such as Bukit Timah area, the rental yields are below 3%. If you were to buy Maplewoods today, you will likely buy for own stay because of the high quantum and low rental yield.
Rental transaction volume in Maplewoods is very healthy.
In the first two months of 2020, there were already 26 rental cases.
In 2019, there were 167 rental transactions, averaging almost 14 a month.
Any Price Upside Potential?
The upside potential maybe a bit limited. Many positive attributes that contributed to the growth of Maplewoods have already been factored in, such as the MRT and nearby en bloc projects.
Now what’s left is the future developments of the new Sky Park, Rail Corridor and Integrated Transport Hub (not exactly near) as announced by the government. We are not sure how much these will help to improve its appreciation potential.
Maplewoods, with the recent transaction of $1,724 psf is even higher than the newer Nexus and only a shade lower than Tessarina, Cascadia and Floridian.
Prices at Maplewoods are also better than 1 King Albert Lodge and Sterling. Even though the highest $psf at Sterling was $1,816psf, it was for a small 753sf unit. For the bigger units, prices are around $1,600+psf, except for one 1969sf unit that was sold for $3,350psf ($1,701psf). 4-bedders at The Sterling are also rarely available for sale.
One factor that works against Maplewoods is its age. At 23 years old, the project, while relatively well maintained, will face more and more structural and maintenance issues.
For landlords, more money will need to be spent on renovations to make it rentable. There will be an increased competition when the nearby new projects are completed in a few years’ time.
If you are buying for own stay, you would need to factor in the renovations and maintenance costs. But if space is what you are looking for, then Maplewoods is a viable option. On the other hand, because of the size, the quantum will be very high. This will put a cap to how far Maplewoods can appreciate in the coming year. Affordability will become more and more of an issue.
Having said that, newer smaller condos in the areas are already selling over $3m at more than $1,000psf than Maplewoods. So, that still makes Maplewoods looks cheap.
Another factor that may work in favour of Maplewoods is the upcoming developments in Holland Plain. It will add another 2,500 new homes to that area.
Looking even slightly further into the future is the development of the old Turf Club.
The appeal of Maplewoods lies mainly in the:
- generous sizes of the apartments
- proximity to good schools
- relative lower price per square foot compared to nearby newer projects
- future Sky Park and Rail Corridor will add value lifestyle living
Maplewoods is definitely a serious choice for those buying for own stay.