May 27, 2024

City View @ Boon Keng DBSS review: Million-dollar city fringe living with great views and convenience – AsiaOne

City View @ Boon Keng has certainly made a name for itself. While it's not quite as famous as The Pinnacle @ Duxton, it certainly boasts quite a similar price point with a five-room flat here going for a cool $1,288,888!
In fact, The Edge even made a pun out of its name:
The article went on to highlight the higher profit margins compared to resale flats around, though this isn't really a fair comparison since built-to-order (BTOs) or new design, build and sell scheme (DBSS) flats are usually cheaper than resale.
Moreover, the gains here aren't too far-fetched from those who buy a new HDB/DBSS.
Today, its five-room prices have jumped from $800k+ back in 2016 to over a million dollars. While many laments its high cost, there's no denying that it's not irrational given there aren't any options close to this if you consider its central location, views and amenities.
So if you're looking out for an HDB with these qualities, should you be picking City View @ Boon Keng over other "premium" HDBs like Pinnacle @ Duxton or SkyVille @ Dawson?
Let's find out in our usual HDB tour!
Getting to City View @ Boon Keng was a breeze. For those who've read our review of Bendemeer Light (which is located just next to this DBSS) you would know that it's in a central location within convenient reach to public transport.
So if that still wasn't quite convenient enough for you, you'd be happy to know that City View @ Boon Keng is even more convenient – just a two-minute walk away from Boon Keng MRT!
If you travel a lot to and from your house, that is still quite some time saved altogether, and as we all know – time is money!
But perhaps more important than the travelling time, is also sheltered convenience. And so if you walked from the outside, you'll realise that the pathway to the MRT entrance isn't sheltered.
However, the nearest access to Boon Keng MRT is just north of block 6 which has a sheltered walkway to the car park and around the development, so residents would never have to worry about getting caught in the rain.
For those who travel to work frequently, you'll know this is an invaluable amenity to have. Not only is it nearby, but it's fully sheltered too. Many residential homes do not come with such features, so it's certainly not to be overlooked!
From the outside, you're greeted by the usual development sign. I do like that there's some use of colour here while keeping to the overall aesthetics that are true to the development.
Behind, you'll see the towering block with the usual DBSS layout two balconies in the middle with bedrooms on each side).
Now let's head in to check out the drop-off points at City View @ Boon Keng.
Inside, you'll find that there are no drop-offs for each of the three individual blocks within the development. Instead, the only drop-off point is located right in front of the main entrance next to block 7.
A quick search on Grab for "city view" reveals this block to be the first option.
Having a designated drop-off is nice to have since these usually have seats and a shelter, allowing you to call for a taxi right to your block. It's a really common feature to find in most developments, however, this isn't something that City View @ Boon Keng can boast.
I can't help but point out how strange this looks as a drop-off. The right-angle nature and lack of a clear road guide leave the flow to the imagination of drivers.
As such, I would say that the drop-off could fit two cars comfortably at a time while still being sheltered. I can imagine it to be confusing if there are two or three vehicles there and you'd need to do a reversal out if there are other vehicles blocking your exit.
The drop-off is also one of the least inviting I've seen. Truth be told, this really doesn't look half as much as a drop-off point as it does a barricade preventing people from driving into the space.
Regardless, this is just nitpicking on our end. The walk to the drop-off is fully-sheltered which is really what matters.
Residents can also choose to drop off at the sheltered linkway at the rear of the development:
What's great though, is that the Precinct Pavilion is right by this drop-off. The large area here also allows catering companies to quickly offload bigger items and deliver them with a minimal amount of effort.
Granted this does block the drop-off area, but such occurrences aren't frequent anyway. The wide sheltered area can also shield bigger trucks from the wet weather, and visitors won't find it difficult to reach the pavilion.
This does mean that if there is an event, the drop-off space might actually be used for this rather than its actual purpose as a drop-off point.
Since we're at it, let's explore this pavilion in greater detail. This is just one of two sheltered pavilions that City View @ Boon Keng has to offer. For a 714-unit development, I reckon that's just about enough.
The pavilion is equipped with basic fans and lights as well as a wash area. Overall, it's naturally lit and well-ventilated given the wide openings around it, so it makes the space seem quite open.
In fact, when I was here, I did see some kids playing football here (but this is not allowed though!).
One thing that's lacking are seats. It's normal for pavilions to feature bench seatings by the side, however, there's none to be found here. From my visit, there's also no obvious power socket here (they're usually by the sides or below benches).
That said, I could be wrong, so if you're a resident who knows about the power supply situation here, please do let us know! I find it hard to believe that there is no power available here for what's essentially a space to hold events.
The other pavilion is located just opposite. This could raise some concerns over the concentration of people in one area since they're next to each other.
Moreover, events can be noisy, so it could be disruptive to the event holder as well as residents facing them.
The upside to this is that you could try to book both pavilions to hold a big event!
One downside to this location is that the pavilion is located next to a busy pedestrian pathway since it's right next to the drop-off point.
The lack of feature walls makes it very exposed, so those looking to cater more private events need to take note of this.
This is especially true given that there are ground floor units directly facing the pavilions.
Next, let's check out what the car park here has to offer. The car park is located next to the Precinct Pavilion and drop-off point, and it's immediately apparent once you cruise in from the main entrance:
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In total, there are 442 car park lots here spread across six decks, not quite the desirable 1-1 parking lot ratio. However, residents need not worry since a quick check shows that even within the month of September (when this article was written), there are still 70 lots available.
With such a desirable location close to an MRT in a relatively central area, we can expect many residents to be content with public transportation here.
It would be a different story if the development were located in fringe places such as Sembawang where transport links are not as developed and the distance to the CBD is considerable.
Inside, you'll find the car park to be well-lit and naturally ventilated – very normal for multi-storey types.
From here, you'll notice that certain stacks do face the car park directly. These tend to be the least desirable of all units given the loss in privacy as well as noise from tyres screeching (mind you, this can even happen past midnight!).
The distance between the car park deck and the blocks is pretty close too:
For those who drive electric vehicles, you'll be pleased to see the three electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on level five above! It's still quite a few levels up though, so this is something you'll need to contend with if you own an electric vehicle and wish to stay here.
Another downside here is the lack of a link bridge. This is very inconvenient for drivers since those who park on higher floors have to take the lift down and walk over to their blocks.
It may not sound like a big deal now, but on a regular basis, it does add up. It's also very difficult to get parking on the first level, as you might well imagine.
Having a link bridge reduces the amount of time it takes to get home from the car park and can be very useful when having to carry heavy things such as groceries or your kid sleeping in the car seat.
Finally, let's head to the rooftop where you'll find…
… yet another car park deck.
Unlike most new HDBs, City View @ Boon Keng does not feature a rooftop garden. However, it is worth noting that there are at least lots, so the rooftop is functional as compared to just leaving it bare.
Rooftop gardens are particularly useful for those who want to take a stroll without venturing far off which can be useful for parents and the elderly.
Not having one is inconsequential if the project is next to a park or the park connector, however, City View @ Boon Keng is located in a relatively dense place so it is a shame that this isn't an option.
Now that we're done with the car park, let's head down to check out the facilities.
First off is the playground of which there's just one which is found right next to the multi-storey car park (MSCP). This is not a lot for a development with 714 units, however, residents can also utilise the playgrounds found in neighbouring HDBs.
The playground is pretty typical as it features some climbing structures and a slide, so nothing really notable or interesting here. I do like that there aren't any service roads here making it relatively safe for children.
Close by, there's also a fully-sheltered seating area for parents/guardians looking for a more comfortable place to watch over the young ones.
The next facility is the fitness area. There are two here – one being the elderly fitness corner and another for adults, and both fitness corners are pretty standard.
One of the fitness corners is located a little too close to a ground floor unit though. There's a lack of taller greenery to provide privacy here too – and this is the same for all ground floor units.
The final facility of interest is the barbecue pits – something that many DBSS offers. Over here, there are two barbecue pits – each with a fully-sheltered pavilion right next to it.
What's great is that there's quite a lot of space afforded here, allowing residents to set up their own chairs and tables to accommodate their guests.
This is unlike Belvia DBSS where seating can be a little tight! Since they're side by side and share the same communal space too, it might even be possible to book both at the same time to fully maximise the space.
Another good point is that the barbecue pits are located at the corner of the project which minimises disruption to the residents.
Unfortunately, one stack (stack 164) still faces it directly, but this is possibly the best place it could be situated given the land constraints.
Now that we're done with the facilities, let's head up to check out what the common corridor looks like!
Heading to the block, you'll notice another unique thing about City View @ Boon Keng:
Like Trivelis and Belvia, City View @ Boon Keng has a gated lobby which restricts non-residents from entering easily.
The Jalan Besar Town Council has also put up a notice that non-residents cannot enter the compound without first getting consent from a resident.
While it is a measure that improves privacy, it must be added that there is no security guard here. So while this makes it harder for non-residents to enter, it's still not a robust system by any means.
Regardless, you cannot deny that it does make it harder for non-residents to access.
Inside, you'll find the lift lobby to be very well-lit. The lobby also has three lifts which is not a lot for a development that's 40-storeys high and six units per floor.
Each block has a triangular layout of six units – two in every corner.
This makes every unit a "corner" unit, so there should be no reason why anyone would walk to your home which means greater privacy… or is there?
Take a look at this corner right here:
If this scene looks familiar, it's because Belvia DBSS also has this issue of doors just being too close to each other. In this case, your neighbour would actually come up right to your gate before accessing theirs.
Given how close they are to each other, you'll also find that the amount of space outside is dismal! This is exacerbated by the fact that you need to share it with your neighbour which can make for a pretty awkward conversation.
It's also quite likely that you could clash with your neighbour when leaving. So for those who want a great level of privacy, this is certainly going to be a setback.
You should also know that due to the configuration of the block, the service yards of certain stacks face each other directly. While it's not a big deal, it does reduce the level of privacy.
It's also quite possible to see part of the kitchen from the common corridor, even if the window is small:
While it does pose some issues with privacy, it's not the same as other developments that have a long corridor. There are only six units per floor and since it's divided into three parts, it's not often that you'll find people walking by your kitchen window so this isn't a big deal.
Before we wrap up the tour of the development, I'd like to highlight one more thing: City View @ DBSS does not come with a childcare centre or amenities located within the development.
This is quite a common occurrence for a DBSS, so those looking to stay here will need to take note of this.
That being said, there are five childcare centres surrounding City View @ Boon Keng. These are well within walking distance so expecting parents or those with young children wouldn't need to worry about not having one nearby.
Regardless, having commercial elements directly beneath your residence may be really convenient, but it's not all too common.
Not everyone wants to deal with the crowd that comes with it too – in fact, some rather stay near enough to daily amenities but not too near so that some level of peace, quiet and privacy is maintained. This leads me to our next point – location.

I've done a review of Bendemeer Light's location before, which is situated right next to City View @ Boon Keng. As such, I'll keep it short.
As mentioned earlier, City View @ Boon Keng has no immediate amenities within its compound – commercial outlets or a childcare centre.
This is often the case for DBSS based on what we've seen and would be a shame if were located in an inconvenient place, but City View @ Boon Keng is far from that.
In terms of food, Bendemeer Market & Food Centre (hawker) is just an eight-minute walk away.
There's also an NTUC FairPrice next to it, so residents are also within sort of convenient reach of a major supermarket.
On the southwest side, residents can visit the numerous conserved shophouses along Serangoon Road and Jalan Besar.
Residents looking for a more traditional shopping experience can also head to City Square Mall. It's about an 11-minute walk away or eight minutes by bus.
There's also the Aperia Mall which is a 13-minute walk away. It's not quite the shortest in terms of walking time, but the fact that a major shopping mall can be reached within this timeframe is pretty good compared to some other HDBs I've reviewed!
Those looking out to be close to nature would be glad to know that the Kallang River is relatively nearby. It is around an eight-minute walk, and once you reach there, you'll also find yourself along the Whampoa Park Connector.
From there, residents can head north towards Ang Mo Kio or North-East towards Punggol. The downside is that the path towards the Park Connector isn't wide which can be a concern when riding with kids.
Those who enjoy swimming will also be glad to know that the Jalan Besar Swimming Complex is nearby too. Residents can reach the swimming complex in just nine minutes!
Needless to say, City View @ Boon Keng brings a huge amount of convenience in terms of amenities to its residents and is probably one of the strongest highlights of this HDB development.
Closest MRT: Bendemeer MRT (eight-minute walk) and Boon Keng MRT (two-minute walk).
City View @ Boon Keng is within a two-minute walk to Boon Keng MRT, making it very convenient, and eight minutes to Bendemeer MRT.
They're also situated on different lines – North-East and Downtown, making this HDB development a lot more connected than others I've reviewed.
Do note that the walk to the MRT is not completely sheltered though. For Bendemeer MRT, you'll have to cut through this empty plot of land that wouldn't be too kind to you during wet weather.
As mentioned, residents can cut through block 6 to get to the MRT entrance making it a sheltered all the way through.
Those looking to reach Raffles Place MRT may find it a little more complicated since it's not quite along the East-West line.
You could take the Downtown Line direct to Telok Ayer station and then walk the rest of the journey since it's nearby anyway – this should take only 29 minutes including the walk to the MRT.
You could also take bus 133 to Lavender MRT station first before taking the train straight to Raffles Place. This shortens your journey to just 23 minutes which is really fast for a daily commute.
In terms of buses, there are two options. First is along Bendemeer Road which offers plenty of services:
As you can see, residents would have convenient access to the south, northeast, and east. You'll notice that buses to the west side are lacking here.
The good news is that the bus stop along Lavender Street on the southwest side passes through Bukit Timah to Choa Chu Kang.
The closest, however, is the one located along Boon Keng Road. This one is fully-sheltered to block 7!
There aren't a lot of options, but if you're travelling to the west frequently, perhaps City View @ Boon Keng isn't quite suited for you.
Boon Keng Road
Drivers here can easily hop onto the PIE or CTE from here given it's just a few minutes' drive away. This allows quick access to all parts of the island. And given how central it's located, getting to either end would not take very long.
City View @ Boon Keng is made up of three towering blocks that go up to 40 storeys high – the same with the neighbouring Bendemeer Light. However, it does have more units than the latter – 714 instead of 624 units.
It has 72 three-room flats, 168 four-room flats and 474 five-room flats. Clearly, this development stands out for providing a large number of big units within a central area.
Design-wise, the development sports a very clean white and grey theme – and from the outside, it does leave you wondering if it's an HDB or not.
While it's not visible from the outside, one unique aspect of City View @ Boon Keng is the full length and bay window in the master bathroom – pretty rare for an HDB!
The development was launched in 2008 and was completed in 2011, making it older than the neighbouring Bendemeer Light. It has a lease start year of 2011 and reached its first minimum occupation period (MOP) in 2016.
And as the name suggests, the best part about City View @ Boon Keng is – the city view. This is due to the lack of tall developments around – the only one is the neighbouring Bendemeer Light.
On the southwest side are conserved shophouses, while on the northwest side are existing public housing that is low-rise. As such, you wouldn't feel too caved in here despite having three tall 40-storey structures surrounding you.
You'll also find the development comes with plenty of seating areas all around – all of which match well with the overall theme of the development.
It's also fully sheltered throughout, so residents wouldn't have to worry about the weather when moving through the development.
One thing I'd like to highlight is the checkerboard floor tiles here. While it does make the development stand out (no other HDB I've seen has such a design), I can't help but feel that it's a little too much in terms of design.
Sure, it matches the overall theme, but I very much prefer the more natural-looking paths originally designed in the brochure:
Doesn't it look so different? Here's what it's like seen from Google Earth (tried capturing the same angle):
There's also plenty of greenery around the development which is always good to provide much respite against the urban backdrop.
However, it's nowhere close to what the illustration promised which does look a lot more pruned than what it is today.
The development also features a sculpture inside a garden setting, much like the sculpture I saw at Lake Vista @ Yuan Ching DBSS.
Finally, given the triangular layout of the blocks, you'll be glad to know that stacks do not directly face each other. The stacks that do face each other are angled, so it isn't a big deal at all. They are also around 19 metres apart.
As the name suggests, City View @ Boon Keng is all about that. That being said, those facing the east would get a nice unblocked view of the sea.
North and West facing units (mid-high floor) currently have an unblocked view but might eventually be obstructed by the new HDB Kempas Residences that is now under construction (est. completion 2024) – a little noisy and dusty as well at the moment. Certain low floor units with this facing will face the car park.
South-facing units (mid-high floor) will get a nice unblocked view of the city facing Marina Bay.
As I've mentioned before, Bendemeer Road is quite a busy thoroughfare, so low-floor units facing this road will likely have constant road noise in the day as the road is pretty busy with many heavy vehicles driving past due to its proximity to the industrial estates.
Other than that, other low-floor units here will face trees (not the worst to be honest). You'll need to stay on level six and above to clear them, while certain stacks have to clear level eight to rise above the MSCP.
Do bear in mind that those staying close to the major road junction below can expect to hear more noise.
And given this is a very urban area, you can expect ambient city background noises throughout the day, especially since there are no tall buildings around to block the sounds.
Towards the north side, residents can also get pretty decent views of the city – provided they are on a higher floor:
Given the cons above, I must say that with careful planning, the space can still really work for you.
For example, the dining area may look cramped with the default layout, and the kitchen area may look like it doesn't have a lot of storage space.
However, we did tour a unit here that made the layout work quite well – the dining area could even accommodate six to eight people:
Considering what City View @ Boon Keng has to offer, it may come as a surprise that it's actually not the most expensive in the area.
That goes to McNair Towers with its four-room flat priced at $904 psf! This is 6.2 per cent higher than what City View @ Boon Keng is going for and is likely due to its newer age.
Even the neighbouring Bendemeer Light is more expensive, with both the three-room and four-room flat outpricing the same flat type at City View @ Boon Keng.
As such, City View @ Boon Keng does present buyers looking for a relatively new flat in a central location with a "cheaper" alternative.
"Cheaper" in quotations because the immediate area around City View @ Boon Keng isn't actually cheap. Even the old HDBs with a lease start year of 1974 is pretty pricey costing over $500,000 for a four-room flat.
For those who prioritise the area and don't wish to pay top dollar for something new, yet don't want to buy an HDB that'll have less than 50 years left when you sell a couple of years down the road, you can go for the older blocks at 4 to 6 Boon Keng Road.
The four-room flats here still go for below $700,000 and they are huge! Records show that they are about 107-108 sqm. These are even bigger than some of the new five-room flats!
So where does City View @ Boon Keng stand in terms of prices? A look at all four-room flat prices in the past six months shows that at $903,000, City View @ Boon Keng is within the top 1.28 per cent in terms of the most expensive five-room flats.
But is this really a surprise? After all, it's centrally located amidst plenty of amenities and it offers unblocked views!
The four-room price is also quite steep – coming in at the top 4.48 per cent of all four-room flat prices in the past six months. So steep is this amount that it falls within the top 9.47 per cent of all five-room flats in Singapore.
This means that for a four-room flat, you could've picked out about 90 per cent of all five-room flats transacted in the past six months!
So now that we've taken a look at both the prices, as well as what City View @ Boon Keng has to offer – the question is, is it worth it?
Concluding City View @ Boon Keng is pretty difficult without sounding like a broken record since it is very, very similar to Bendemeer Light.
To keep it short – it's got great views, transport links, amenities and within two primary schools.
Similar cons include not having a link bridge at the MSCP which is an annoyance considering how much the units here cost.
The area around is also really urban, so if you're looking for peace and quiet, this is obviously not right for you. That being said, there is a lot of privacy since the surrounding area is pretty much unblocked!
One difference is that Bendemeer Light has the better view towards the CBD, however, that view also faces the junction. It is a protected view, though, since it's just conserved shophouses in front.
City View @ Boon Keng boasts the sea view and while it isn't protected via conservation, the zoning is business which is low-rise.
The main difference lies in the layout – City View @ Boon Keng was built in an era when bay windows were the default – and every room seems to have them. This makes it a lot more inefficient. It also has a huge balcony as with other DBSS, so if you like outdoor spaces then this would be better than Bendemeer Light.
As a result, the three-room and four-room flat at Bendemeer Light has more yard and kitchen space.
If you look at the floor plan at City View @ Boon Keng, you'll see that the household shelter borders the kitchen quite closely which makes it a squeeze to put cabinets or a countertop without making the kitchen passage too narrow.
On the other hand, Bendemeer Light has a much more decent service yard and a kitchen where you can build countertops on both sides.
Do note that the three-room flat does not come with a balcony!
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If you're looking for a five-room flat, then Bendemeer Light is out of the question. City View @ Boon Keng caters to this as the majority of flats here are of this unit type.
I like that the five-room flat also has a separate study room.
While traditional five-room HDB layouts allow for a partition to be made, I do like that the study is already carved out and in a separate place and quieter place from where is traditionally a place you'd host guests (the living/dining).
Another notable difference is the narrow corridor that plagues many DBSS. While Bendemeer Light isn't as spacious or exclusive as SkyTerrace @ Dawson, at least the gates aren't situated side by side and residents don't need to share a very small common space.
And having a poor relationship with your neighbour can really make a huge difference when you live right beside them.
Overall, City View @ Boon Keng is a worthy consideration if you're looking for unblocked views in a central location, however, its inefficient layout and poor corridor layout should be mulled over carefully before pulling the trigger.
This article was first published in Stackedhomes.

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