Sembawang’s beachfront ‘kampung’
It may not have the island resort’s glitz and exclusivity, but the Sembawang Greenvale housing estate makes up for it with a rustic charm that appeals to home buyers seeking a waterfront lifestyle.
Living about 2.5km from Sembawang MRT station, residents of about 350 landed homes near Sembawang Beach, overlooking Malaysia near Singapore’s northern-most point, boast of the old-style kampung atmosphere of the area.
“Sometimes my neighbour calls me to check if her son is in my house,” said homemaker Julia Nicole Moss. The Singaporean paid $3.2 million nine months ago for the show unit of The Shoreline Residences I, developed by the Goodland Group.
“The children come over to play for almost the whole day, and go home at dinner time,” she said.
The family loves the tranquillity and sea view. “When we saw that the house had a view of the water, we were sold,” said Ms Moss.
The homes are a mix of bungalows, semi-detached and terraced houses. Since the Urban Redevelopment Authority put sites in the area up for sale in 2007, it has attracted a mix of individual, boutique and larger developers, including the Fragrance Group, Goodland Group and boutique agency JBE Holdings.
Bungalows by the Sea, a 99-year leasehold development of eight units by Fragrance, has its own grass frontage leading to the beach. Residents will get a view across the Johor Strait to the neon lights that dot Malaysia’s shore as ships pass by.
The largest bungalow, on a 5,468 sq ft site, is going for about $7.6 million, or an average of $1,400 per sq ft (psf).
Upcoming projects include Avant Parc by the Sunway Group and Bukit Sembawang Estate’s Watercove Ville, which will have an unblocked view of the sea.
Other older landed properties in the area are farther away from the shore, along Andrews Avenue.
In 2005, units at Straits Gardens, developed by Bukit Sembawang Estate, were sold at $1.13 million to $1.42 million for terraced houses with a land area of 1,615 sq ft to 2,766 sq ft. Residents are a stone’s throw from Sembawang Park, which is being upgraded by the National Parks Board.
Sembawang Shipyard, which once served as the Singapore Naval Base, can be seen from the park. On weekends, visitors fish, jog, cycle and do water sports. Residents stroll and jog on weekday evenings.
This being Singapore, development encroaches. Near Sembawang Shopping Centre, two condominium projects – The Nautical and One Canberra – are being built. Sites are also being cleared for further land sales.
But meanwhile, residents are enjoying their enclave.
Retiree Lim Kim Huat moved into his home at The Shoreline Residences I last November.
From the second floor and above, all the five-storey houses get a partial view of the sea, with a dipping pool on the rooftop, five bedrooms and a lift serving all floors.
Mr Lim said his family wanted to be near the site of the former kampung at Gambas Avenue where he lived.
His wife, Madam Ong Chu Lan, enjoys the laid-back atmosphere and takes a walk every evening after dinner to listen to the waves to relax.
“The waves are different every day, if you look close enough,” she said in Mandarin.