Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary school

In the first of my Continuing series, i shall focus on real estate that are in the immediate vicinity of popular primary schools. In Singapore, the journey of a child’s primary school life begins way before their registration. Parents try so hard to enrol their children in schools of their choice, with some of them volunteering in school activities and some even relocating their homes so that they may be closer to the school, which is taken into consideration. But what do the surroundings of such primary schools actually offer?

Pei Hwa front 2Frontal view of Pei Hwa Presbyterian primary school.

Pei Hwa front 1Main entrance.

About the school

Pei Hwa Presbyterian primary school, first set up in 1889, has had more than 120 years of rich history and tradition. Selected by the Ministry of Education as a Special Assistance Programme (SAP) school, Pei Hwa has consistently nurtured students with exceptional results through the years. Nestled in a quiet corner of Bukit Timah, Pei Hwa is as sought after as the immediate residential area around it.

Name: Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School
Address: 7 Pei Wah Avenue Singapore 597610
District: 21

What’s in the area?

Conveniently situated next to the primary school is a HDB neighbourhood most people know as Toh Yi. Built in the late 80’s with its orange facade, the HDB blocks have taken on a new coat of reddish hue in recent years. With a total of 19 HDB Blocks, there are a whopping 7 blocks that are total or partial Executive Maisonettes (EM)! Needless to say, given the location of this neighbourhood, these HDB blocks, in particular the EM units, have a long line of home-hunters waiting.

Toh Yi 1View of EM blocks 2 & 3 in Toh Yi.

So at what prices are the EMs being transacted at recently? According to data, 2 units have been sold in the month of August alone, and I think that’s still healthy given the small supply of EM here. While the general market trend dictates that Cash-Over-Valuation (COV) has decreased over the past few months due to regulatory measures, bear in mind that the longtime owners of these EM are generally not under financial duress and certainly not many feels compelled to sell. Prices shown in the table are inclusive of COV.

em priceWell, how about something of a smaller size then? You’d think with a bigger supply of 4-room flats there should be a larger quantity transacted but from the following table, similarly only 2 transactions were recorded from June-Sept. Suffice to say, the home owners in this estate wouldn’t be selling unless there was a pressing reason to.  Is such a market price fair for a 4-room flat? There is sure to be debate over this but in my opinion, when buying a home we take in many factors for consideration, and different factors have different weightage for each one of us. Those buying into Toh Yi must have set their eyes on the relatively quietness of the location and upcoming developments, or perhaps a better chance to enrol in Pei Hwa.

4rm priceInteresting. Why then is this little neighbourhood drawing so much appeal? Is it purely a spillover effect of having Pei Hwa Presbyterian primary school in the vicinity?

Toh Yi 2

Getting around

Prior to the ongoing construction of the Downtown Line, or even any contemplation of expanding the MRT network beyond the initial lines, residents of Toh Yi had to take a feeder bus service to either Clementi or Bukit Batok station. The various bus services that took them to Bukit Timah Road and to Town still exists today, but it was the confirmation of Beauty World station ( on the Downtown Line that injected new excitement into the area. The presence of a MRT station not only facilitates travel, but brings about a positive re-evaluation of surrounding properties, be it Resale or Rental value. Suddenly everyone wants a piece of this pie.

Toh Yi 3The construction of Beauty World station in the foreground, view from Blk 1 Toh Yi.

In the background, we see another relic Beauty World Shopping Centre & Bukit Timah shopping Centre, of which the former lent its name to the MRT station. A trip to the neighbourhood now would reveal quite a bit of construction work happening, not just that of the MRT, but also to the surrounding private properties. In fact, a majority of this part of Bukit Timah is made up of shops and private properties.

The charms of the neighbourhood

Just across from Blk 1 Toh Yi Drive is Lorong Kilat. What was once a quiet rustic lane a few years ago, this little stretch certainly has seen tremendous transformation with hip cafes and restaurants popping up one by one. On a typical weekend now, one can easily find this stretch brimming with youngsters having ice-cream at Udders, or perhaps coffee at the new cafes. Towards the evening, families would start to fill the restaurants for some rather authentic Korean cuisine. It is hardly odd if you consider the growing Korean community in this estate, many of whom are students and expats. You can even grab some not-so-common groceries at the Korean minimart!

kilat 1A row of shop-houses along Lorong Kilat.

kilat 2

kilat 3

kilat 4Despite the recent commercial boom on Lorong Kilat, I guess this lane still retains a fair bit of its history, you can still catch a glimpse of the houses that have been sitting here silently for the past few decades. Of course, things could look a lot more different come 2015/16 when Beauty World station is completed. Heritage is eventually sacrificed in the name of progress, a story we are all too familiar with.

kilat 5View of Lorong Kilat from the other end of this 1-way street.

Moving along, just adjacent to Lorong Kilat is another street Chun Tin Road, where an outlet of Old Town Coffee sits. Offering both indoors & outdoors seating, this particular outlet attracts those who wishes to have a simple meal or quiet coffee, even on a weekend there is usually seating available. Just round the corner of Chun Tin road, you will find a stretch of eateries offering a wide selection of food. From popular Roti Prata shops to Chicken Rice restaurants, this area used to be packed with people on any evening, but business has taken a toll ever since construction work for the MRT began.

kilat 6Old Town cafe sitting quietly on the slope of Chun Tin road.

kilat 7Across from Chun Tin road is a shopping centre you should be quite familiar with by now. Beauty World, a name synonymous with this part of Bukit Timah and perhaps etched into the hearts of every resident in the area.

beauty 1Inside Beauty World

The Beauty World shopping centre as it is now belongs to an older generation of malls. If you are visiting for the first time, it would be a very contrasting experience to that of other CapitaMall shopping centres. In Beauty World, except for MacDonalds or perhaps the supermarket, everything else is like a trip down memory lane. Most of the shops haven’t changed in the last 20 years or so.

beauty 2

From the tiles,

beauty 3

to the shop facade,

beauty 4

to the wares they sell, everything here comes with a dose of nostalgia

beauty 5Two of the hawker stalls still remaining from yesteryear

And right at the top of the mall is a hawker centre that has certainly seen better days. With people preferring newer and bigger malls these days, the crowd at Beauty World hawker centre has thinned over the years. Some of the stalls thankfully still remain and continue to serve up the same old tastes. I’m not too sure what lies ahead for the old guard here, once the MRT station is ready in a few years the whole building may just be demolished.

Food 1Famous fried carrot cake at Bukit Timah food centre

It wouldn’t do Bukit Timah residents much justice if I don’t introduce the food centre here. Coming back to Pei Hwa Presbyterian primary school, there is a wet market right next to it and on the upper level lies a food centre with a wide selection of local delicacies. Residents & even people from other estates love to come here on weekends to have breakfast and do some grocery shopping. Remember to place your parking coupons at the open air carpark just outside, the wardens are always watching!

Now there is much more to introduce around the neighbourhood other than Toh Yi Estate, but I figure it’s better to break them up and keep it simple. Check out my segment on the private properties under District 21 or carry on reading about neighbourhoods around other popular primary schools in the same series!

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Categories: Continuing Series: Primary Schools


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One Comment on “Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary school”

  1. papa chua
    November 11, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    This is awesome!! Great read…

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