Esparina Residences – A Spa-Themed EC in the Heart of District 19

PLB Editorial Team

*This article was written in January 2023 and does not reflect data and market conditions beyond.

Putting the ‘spa’ in Esparina Residences is not just a clever word play – the concept of this 99-year leasehold executive condominium revolves around wellness and indulgence. And the developers delivered by incorporating not just one or two, but seven spa facilities in the project. The luxurious facade, its resort vibes, and convenient location could be some of the reasons why Esparina Residences has one of the highest transaction volumes in the vicinity over the last five years. 

Location Analysis

A fun fact is that this part of District 19 has always been confusing. Buangkok Drive and Buangkok MRT station, Sengkang East Road and the upcoming Sengkang Grand Mall, Hougang Green Shopping Mall, Serangoon Park Connector, Yio Chu Kang Primary School, and Punggol Primary School are all within a 1km radius of Esparina Residences. With the names of six different estates clustered into one area, just where is this place really? Talk about an identity crisis!

In terms of amenities, Buangkok MRT station is a short 4-minute walk away, giving you access to the North-East Line (NEL) and 3 stops away from Serangoon MRT on the Circle Line (CCL). Right next to the MRT and directly opposite Esparina Residences is the upcoming Sengkang Grand Mall, which will be integrated with Sengkang Grand Residences and will be completed this year. This means that residents will enjoy more convenience for shopping, dining, and grocery needs. Drivers will also get easy access to TPE and KPE, opening up more options.

With the upcoming Cross Island Line (CRL) in 2030, residents will also enjoy improved connectivity to the eastern, central, and western regions of Singapore. Speaking of the future, the Punggol Digital District will become a major employment node in the northeastern region and provide more amenities, creating higher rental demand from this pool of working professionals who wish to stay closer to work.   

For parents with young children, there’s a good selection of schools to choose from. Palm View Primary, North Vista Primary, Punggol Primary, Yio Chu Kang Primary, and Montfort Primary are all within 1km radius of Esparina Residences.

 

Site Plan Analysis

Esparina Residences is made up of 2-Bedroom to 4-Bedroom unit types with a total of 573 residential units spread across 9 towers standing at 18 storeys high. The towers here are point blocks with 4 stacks per tower, with the exception of tower H and I which have only 3 stacks per tower. Point block has been gaining popularity over the years, especially in condos, because it provides residents with more privacy since there are fewer units per floor – something that condo residents value.

Most of the stacks have an internal facing towards the 50m olympic-sized pool and other condo facilities except for Stacks 01, 02, 05, 06, 11, and 12. These external facing stacks closer to Compassvale Bow, which used to enjoy an unblocked view towards Buangkok MRT station, will be facing towards Sengkang Grand Residences and Sengkang Grand Mall. 

While Esparina Residences is sandwiched between two residential projects and two streets, it is surrounded by shrubbery that will block out some of the noise from surrounding streets. This means that most stacks will enjoy a quiet environment with privacy.

As mentioned earlier, Esparina Residences’ concept is its spa-themed resort inspiration. Its seven spa facilities include a Fragrance Spa, Rain Spa, Hydromassage Spa, Bubble Spa, Sunshine Spa, Beauty Spa, and Friends Spa. All of these spa facilities are clustered towards the middle of the development near the main pool, allowing residents from all towers to have easy and convenient access to them.

 

Price Analysis

Esparina Residences obtained TOP in 2013, so units only went on the resale market around Q3 of 2018 after serving the 5-year MOP. Since then, there have been a total of 244 resale transactions in this project. 

During its launch in 2010-2011, units at Esparina Residences averaged around S$700 to S$800 psf. Prices increased immediately after MOP as expected, averaging at about S$1,057 psf and continued trending upwards until the fourth quarter of 2019 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. There was a drastic dip in both the average psf and transaction volume in Q1 2020 due to market uncertainty at that time with COVID-19 cases at its peak and an impending lockdown. 

However, it didn’t take long for the market to bounce back, as both prices and transaction volume started to climb in Q3 2020. Esparina Residences saw a 39% growth in terms of its average psf from 2020 to 2022, and the growth was particularly stellar after Q3 2021 thanks to the post-pandemic boom in the real estate market. 

Overall, Esparina Residences has seen a growth rate of 47% since its MOP in 2018. So how does it fare compared to similar properties in the area?  

Looking at 99-year leasehold condominiums within the immediate vicinity, the nearest would be Jewel @ Buangkok (TOP 2017) which is right next to Esparina Residences, the oldest would be The Rivervale which obtained TOP in 2000, and the newest would be the upcoming Sengkang Grand Residences (TOP 2023) which is already fully sold. 

At the time of writing, the average psf for Esparina Residences is around S$1,310 to S$1,410. This is similar to Jewel @ Buangkok’s average psf of S$1,447, which isn’t surprising since the two developments are right next to each other. On the other hand, The Rivervale is transacting at a much lower average psf of S$915. Lease decay and location are likely the factors contributing to the disparity of prices between these two developments and The Rivervale, as the latter is a project that is almost 20 years older and located further away from an MRT station. 

The newest kid on the block, Sengkang Grand Residences is expected to obtain its TOP later this year and was launched with an average psf of S$1,794, with its highest transacted psf hitting S$1,913 for a 4-Bedder unit. With Sengkang Grand Residences already approaching S$2,000 psf at the launch, resale prices in a few years’ time are likely to cross that mark.  

This makes Esparina Residences a safe benchmark to enter due to the relatively low psf and healthy lease balance.

 

MOAT Analysis

PLB’s MOAT Analysis looks at the value and potential of a property from a holistic approach. We take properties with similar attributes (district, region, tenure) and compare them over 10 different aspects that might affect its value. We then take a balanced approach and evaluate whether a property might be appealing to the mass market in Singapore. You can read more about our MOAT Analysis for an in-depth explanation of our tool.

Looking at the MOAT profiles of all the condominiums highlighted in the previous section, they all have high MOAT scores of over 70%. MOAT scores of over 70% typically translates to projects that have high growth potential. 

Esparina Residences has a MOAT score of 72%. As a development in the highest transaction volume District 19, it makes sense that it will do well in its Volume Effect score. Similarly, with a healthy balance lease of 87 years at the time of writing, it has done well on its Bala’s Curve Effect score as well.

The four main points that stand out for Esparina Residences are Parents’ Attraction Effect, Exit Audience, Quantum Effect, and MRT Effect, in the order of potency. Parents’ Attraction Effect scores a perfect 5 out of 5. There are five Primary schools located within the 1km vicinity of Esparina Residences as highlighted in the location analysis – the closest being Palm View Primary, which is 280m or a mere 4-minute walk away. This gives parents with young children or young couples with plans of starting a family ample options of schools to choose from. It also increases the opportunity for future exit as the development will remain popular amongst parents gunning for these Primary School options. 

Next, Exit Audience scores another perfect 5 out of 5. The Sengkang and Buangkok area forms a large HDB residential cluster, meaning that there is a good amount of public housing in the area to provide an upgrader demographic and a steady pool of Condo buyers with families. 

The Quantum Effect score is relatively high, coming in at an average of 4 out of 5. This means that the property is still a relatively affordable option for the average Singaporean family unit. As an executive condominium, Esparina Residences is currently semi-privatised and is only available to Singapore Citizens (SC) and Singapore Permanent Residents (SPR) at the time of writing. It will only be fully privatised after September 2023. This means that it is likely the best time to capitalise on the EC benefits of Esparina Residences as the quantum might start trending upwards even more after it is fully privatised.

Finally, the MRT Effect score comes in at a high average of 4 out of 5, despite being just a 4-minute walk from Buangkok MRT station. While it should have scored a perfect 5 out of 5 for its proximity to the MRT, Esparina Residences is overshadowed by Jewel @ Buangkok and Sengkang Grand Residences in this aspect. Jewel @ Buangkok is slightly closer to the MRT, being a 3-minute walk away from Buangkok MRT. For Sengkang Grand Residences, as an integrated development with Sengkang Grand Mall and Buangkok MRT, you can’t get any closer to the MRT than that.

Some points to note, however, for prospective buyers and investors are the relatively lower scores on Disparity Effect (District and Region) and Rental Demand. Firstly, for the low disparity scores, what you could interpret from this is that there might be more affordable (but potentially less accessible) private resale properties to choose from within the district and region. This makes sense given the size of the Outside Central Region (OCR) and District 19 which spans Punggol, Sengkang, Buangkok, Hougang, and parts of Serangoon.

Coming to the point of Rental Demand, we exclude Sengkang Grand Residences since it is still under construction and does not have data on existing rentals. The reason why Esparina Residences has scored lower on Rental Demand could again, be due to Jewel @ Buangkok being the better option since it is slightly nearer to the MRT while having similar price quantums. However, it is the only condo in its immediate vicinity that offers dual-key units which are highly popular for rental strategy and rental yield. Together with the upcoming Punggol Digital District and the hot rental market, the rental demand for Esparina Residences is likely to pick up.

 

Unit Distribution

Esparina Residences offers 2-Bedroom to 4-Bedroom types, with 3-Bedroom types making up more than half of the unit offerings (350 units, 61% of total). 29% of the units are 2-Bedroom types (167 units) and the remaining 10% are 4-Bedroom types (56 units). The spread of unit offering caters to a range of buyer profiles, from young couples to small and multi-generational families.

Most of the towers are made up of 3-Bedders since it makes up ⅗ of the total units. Towers C, E, and G are entirely made up of 3-Bedroom types. You can find 2-Bedders in Towers A, B, F, H, and I, while you can only find 4-Bedders in three stacks – Stack 16, 21, and 22. 

2-Bedroom Type

There are mainly two layouts for 2-Bedroom types at Esparina Residences – A1 and A2. Both layouts have the same size of 829 sqft, with the penthouse variations coming in at 883 sqft for A1 and 936 sqft for A2. The ground floor patio variations stand at 1,055 sqft for A1 and 1,076 sqft for A2. 

The only difference between the two standard layouts is the configuration of the entrance. The featured floor plan belongs to the A1 layout, which has the living room on the right of the entrance. The A2 layout on the other hand, opens directly into the dining and living space in a single file. Those who prefer a layout with more privacy might want to opt for A1 since visitors and neighbours cannot look directly into your living space.

3-Bedroom Type

For 3-Bedders, there are four main layouts – B1, B1a, B2, and B3. B1 and B1a are the standard layouts standing at 1,001 sqft, B2 is a slightly bigger layout at 1,066 sqft, and B3 is the dual-key layout at 1,163 sqft.

The B3 dual-key layout is unique as the unit opens up into a foyer area, which owners can choose to install locks for both the studio portion and the 2-Bedroom on the other side if renting out the studio for additional privacy. Multi-generational families will also appreciate this perk of the dual-key concept.

4-Bedroom

The biggest configuration in Esparina Residences is the 4-Bedroom type, with two main layouts. The standard layout, C2, stands at 1,367 sqft and features an additional area for a dry kitchen and open kitchen concept. 

The featured layout belongs to C1, which is a 4-Bedder dual-key layout standing at 1,464 sqft. This configuration gives owners a lot of flexibility in terms of usage – rent out the studio while staying on the other side, turn the studio space into a home office or entertainment area, or have it as a multi-generational home. Those who want to go full-on in terms of rental play can also potentially convert this layout into a triple key, leasing out two studio units and a 2-Bedder.

 

Future Growth Potential

Firstly, the upcoming Sengkang Grand Mall that’s directly opposite Esparina Residences is set to TOP this year and will provide more amenities to the area. Currently, the nearest shopping mall is Hougang Green Shopping Mall, which is a 15-minute walk away. Looking at the price analysis, the average psf has already been trending upwards for the past two years, and will likely continue to see appreciation as Sengkang Grand Mall becomes fully operational.

Next, Esparina Residences will be crossing its 10th year since its TOP date. This means that it will become fully privatised this year, becoming available for all including foreigners to purchase. While foreign investors are unlikely to buy into an EC in the OCR due to the hefty 25% ABSD, the lifting of the eligibility criteria and restrictions will likely increase the appreciation potential nonetheless.

And lastly, with the upcoming Punggol Digital District, a new major employment node will open up in the northeastern region of Singapore. This will create rental demand that will trickle down from the Punggol area. Furthermore, Esparina Residences is the only condo development in the area to offer dual-key units. Other market comparables that also offer dual-key units like Prive, La Fiesta, and The Topiary are all located further away from an MRT station.

 

In Summary

Esparina Residences is one of the rare ECs that is located within a 5-minute walk to Buangkok MRT station. With its status as a semi-privatised condo coming to an end, coupled with developments in the region such as the upcoming Sengkang Grand Mall and Punggol Digital District, price appreciation can be expected in the near future.

 It is also one of the rare few condos in the Buangkok area to offer 3 and 4-Bedder dual-key units, which offers flexibility in terms of usage. These units that offer part-stay part-investment strategy also have a lot of potential, especially as Singapore’s rental market continues on a hot streak.

Young families and multi-generational families will appreciate the convenient location of Esparina Residences, with an MRT station and multiple Primary schools within minutes walk away. For ECs that typically cater to a younger demographic, having a good selection of schools in the area is important. Having not just one or two but five Primary schools located in the vicinity puts Esparina Residences in a good position to target a specific demographic – parents with young children. 

In terms of Exit Audience, District 19 that Esparina Residences belongs to is also a huge public housing cluster that will have no lack of future upgrader demographic.

 

Let’s get in touch

If you find the part-stay part-investment strategy that some of the units in Esparina Residences offer, do reach out to us here. Thank you for reading and following PLB. Stay tuned as we bring you more in-depth reviews of condo developments around Singapore.