Over the last couple of years, or even decades, properties in the Somerset precinct have somewhat been struggling to get out from under the shadow of those luxury properties in Orchard – despite being located within the same prime District 9 of Singapore.
Somehow, discerning property buyers have never seemed to associate the word “luxury” with condos located in Somerset. For some reason, it just doesn’t have that premium feel or perception among the affluent class. However, developer Bukit Sembawang looks set to unravel this ‘myth’ by introducing the 250-unit 8 St Thomas condominium and attempt to redefine luxury living within Somerset.
Singapore is being formed by 28 districts in total and when it comes to owning a property here, nothing beats having one right in the prime District 9 – which comprises of key areas such as Orchard, Somerset, Dhoby Ghaut, and River Valley.
Looking at 8 St Thomas, it is located along St. Thomas Walk; one of the more popular addresses within the Somerset precinct by any affluent individual and family. However, some may ask what sets it apart from the other neighboring addresses such as Devonshire Road and Killiney Road?
What we really love about the location of 8 St Thomas is that if you were to look at the map or drive around the area, you will see that St. Thomas Walk is somewhat of a private residential enclave and hardly anyone would travel along that route unless they are living in one of the condominiums or apartments along St. Thomas Walk. In other words, we love the exclusivity – one of the key attributes in a high-end real estate.
In addition, 8 St Thomas would be ideal for parents with school-going kids as it is within close proximity of established and renowned schools such as River Valley Primary School & Chatsworth International School.
To date, the closest MRT station to 8 St Thomas would be Somerset MRT station and by 2021, the upcoming Great World MRT station will be in operation as well. Both stations are approximately 10 minutes’ walk away.
Honestly, It’s not extremely far but the occasional hot and humid weather conditions in Singapore will certainly make one feels so. Then again, this is a very subjective matter and we can have a never-ending debate on this.
Other than the MRT, there are also public buses right in front of the condominium which can take you directly to the Central Business District (CBD) and other parts of Singapore. But if you drive, things will be so much rosier as it will only take you around 10 to 15 minutes to reach the CBD or the Marina Bay district (of course, it will vary according to traffic conditions).
Oh! And not that it matters for someone who can afford to own a luxury home in this area, but 8 St Thomas is actually just located outside the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) zone. Thus, you need not to worry about having to pay a ‘fee’ everytime you return home during peak hours.
Dealing with your empty stomach or your daily necessities should be the least of your concerns when living at 8 St Thomas. Let’s face it, you are within one of the biggest shopping districts in Singapore which comprise a wide range of retail and F&B options.
For quick fixes, a 24-hour supermarket can be found at the nearby Grand Orchard Court and there are also a couple of F&B outlets located along River Valley Road and Killiney Road.
When we first stepped into 8 St Thomas, the first impression we had was the astounding quality that this luxury condominium offers. From extensive landscape to a wide range of top-notch facilities which are designed to cater to diverse lifestyles.
The residential units are eventually distributed across the two residential towers (Block 8 and Block 10) but you will notice that the more premium unit types – 4-bedroom, 4-bedroom dual-key, and penthouses are only located at Block 8. On top of that, you will also notice that there are sky terraces constructed on various levels for each block as additional entertainment areas for the residents at 8 St Thomas.
Once we entered the show flats, we were practically ‘blown away’ by the impressive interiors coupled with the breathtaking views of the Singapore skyline.
Here’s what we saw (photo credit to Benson Koh from Singapore Realtors Inc).
Bukit Sembawang has really done an amazing job when comes to planning for the unit types at 8 St Thomas. One thing that really appeals most affluent homeowners is low-density living (only 250 units in total), which translates to privacy and exclusivity. And whether is it for investment or own consumption, this condominium covers everything – from 1-bedroom to 4-bedroom, dual-key units and penthouses.
However, you may feel slightly disappointed with the space being offered. While the layout for all unit types looks really efficient and well-designed, it’s just a pity that even the largest typical apartment (a 4-bedroom unit) at 8 St Thomas is only 1,755 square feet. Honestly, the sizes are ‘good’ – just aren’t ‘great’.
When it comes to judging whether a property is in the luxury category, the number 1 criteria would be definitely its location. However, the price, scale, and demographics within a condominium are also some of the key considerations for affluent prospects.
In terms of price, there isn’t really much to complain about. At an average selling price of $3,230 psf (based on the total number of units transacted till 16 November 2018), it does seem rather fair when being compared with some of the newly completed condominiums nearby. New Futura by City Developments Ltd is one of them and the closest to 8 St Thomas.
Over the years, there have already been quite a number of well-known and decent scale condominiums being constructed within the area, such as One Devonshire and Skyline 360. 8 St Thomas certainly took its architecture and class to a whole new level; being one of the iconic condominium projects in Somerset.
The only downside for this condo project would probably be the demographics.
For such price tag, you would expect lots of privacy and exclusivity. Most important of all, you will be want to be rubbing shoulders with the high net worth individuals who are also living in there.
And in our opinion, having a good amount of 1-Bedroom units within the development is not the “luxury” way to go; there’s a reason why you will rarely find a 1 bedders or studio apartments in the Nassim or Ardmore precincts (which houses some of the most upmarket condominiums in Singapore).
Such (small) unit types are just not very appealing to the majority of the wealthy bunch.
In fact, buyers for such unit sizes are mainly looking at them as an investment option, thus every dollar counts. Being priced at more than $3000 psf, you will require a significantly high rental amount to command a decent yield. It will be rather challenging as there are many other nearby condos offering 1-bedroom or studio apartments for rent within the Somerset area – some are even closer to the amenities, MRT station and selling at prices which are much lower.