Bukit Purmei: The hidden gem in the south

Bukit Purmei MapSo this is where it all began, the place where my earliest memories were formed. A neighbourhood so compact and quiet that few actually know it exists, albeit its proximity to the city area. Everyone zips by along the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) on a daily basis yet this little estate often goes unnoticed. Yes, today I venture into Bukit Purmei once again, after spending the first 7 years of my life growing up here.

About Bukit Purmei (and me)

‘Growing up’ in Bukit Purmei may not be the best way to describe my relationship with this estate, for we pretty much grew together. With a remaining lease of about 70 years, Bukit Purmei was completed around 1983 – 84. Not much has changed over time, thankfully, except for the Lift Upgrade which now brings residents to every level in the block. I remember being quite excited when I read about the story of ‘Radin Mas‘ in the primary school textbook. I can’t recall the details of the story, but i went around telling classmates about how I lived near this Radin Mas primary school & that it wasn’t some remote place in Papua New Guinea.

Purmei roundaboutView of the Bukit Purmei Roundabout

Purmei EstateView of Teresa estate (background) from Blk 109 Bukit Purmei Road

Getting there & Around

Located in District 4, getting in and out of Bukit Purmei estate happens via Bukit Purmei Avenue or Bukit Purmei Road. Entering from either roads will bring you around the estate and out the other entrance if you’re driving. Bus services that ply the route include 123, 123M, 131, 275. In fact, travelling on foot from Blk 101 to 109 takes less than 10 minutes.

Location, Location & Location

Situated at the foot of our famed Mount Faber, Bukit Purmei was practically off the radar in a time before Vivocity mall and when Sentosa was still a barren island. Of course, with the North-East line in place today, the area surrounding Harbourfront has turned into prime property with mega yachts lining the harbour and an Universal Studios Singapore attracting thousands of people. Living in Bukit Purmei, you can reach Harbourfront via Lower Delta road in less than 5 minutes, or get to work in the CBD under 15 minutes via Kampung Bahru road! This must be the next best thing to Pinnacle @ Duxton!


Purmei Clinic

A family clinic situated at Blk 109 Bukit Purmei Road

Seeing this clinic with its red bricks still standing strong after all these years was nothing short of a blast from the past. Perhaps the only fond memories of this place was that I got a lot of those fruity candies from the doctor every time i visited, and being a sickly child when I was young, I had a lot of such candies. If you still wish to witness a bit of such old world charm, just pop by Bukit Purmei!

Purmei Famous Lor MeeA hungry line of ‘Lor Mee’ fans!

Also in Blk 109, there’s a coffee-shop selling Lor Mee with a queue that doesn’t end any time of the day you visit, unless of course you’re there when the food runs out by mid-day. For a more detailed review on this Lor Mee, click Here – ieatishootipost. Other than that, I found the neighbourhood shops pretty adequate in terms of providing for daily necessities. Generally, this is the type of cosy community you find in smaller estates where the people know one another, I see shop-keepers chilling outside their shops and watching people go by, it’s a tranquil charm you don’t find often in the city.

Purmei Temple and ChurchBeauty amidst religious harmony

Strolling along to Blk 111, there is a staircase that leads down to Kampung Bahru road, and the iconic Church of St. Teresa comes into view. My brief research on this Church told me that it was completed around 1929 and went through some upgrading works in 2006. Nevertheless, it has always been a beautiful sight when I pass by Kampung Bahru road, the white facade shines on a hot sunny day!

Telok Blangah Market 2Wet market & food centre 10 minutes walk away at Blk 36 Telok Blangah Rise.

Taking you back to the other side of Bukit Purmei, if you happen to be the sort who loves a wet market shopping experience, right across at Telok Blangah Rise is a wet market & hawker centre. It’s another one of those ulu places one would never find, but I remember my late grandma bringing me along on her daily shopping trips at this place. Naturally, it looked a lot more ‘original’ then. Amazingly, I believe one of the ‘bird shops’ from the 80’s has survived till now!

Telok Blangah Market 3The breakfast crowd at Telok Blangah Rise food centre.

Telok Blangah MarketShophouses at Blk 38 Telok Blangah Rise.

Telok Blangah bird shopOne of the disappearing trades in Singapore. A shop selling mainly birds and other pets.

Which Property should be considered?

Yes! Now we come to the crux of the post, and by now you should have gathered that Bukit Purmei sits on a sublime location. In this locality, I believe the private development to look out for is Teresa Ville.

Teresa Ville 1Teresa Ville is a Freehold condominium along Lower Delta Road.

Completed around 1985/86, Teresa Ville is a Freehold condominium with a total of 264 units and features very classic convex (rounded) balconies, which gives every block the shape of a flower with 4 petals, or some may say a Windmill design. Teresa Ville has seen only 4 transactions in the past 6 months. Take a look at the following table reflecting recent transacted prices:

Teresa Ville TransactionsA staggering average of $1,211 psf (per square foot) for a City-fringe Freehold condo! Bear in mind this is an aged condo of about 28 years, and to the savvy home hunters they know that aged = spacious. This was a time before ‘shoebox concept’ came about and for a 1,356 sqft Freehold condo the price tag of $1.655m is a steal, as compared to other city-fringe estates such as Holland Village, where some units command prices of up to $2,100 psf. With its entrance along Lower Delta Road, residents at Teresa Ville can easily access the AYE or head down to Harbourfront in minutes.  I took a very raw video of the immediate surroundings, Click Here to watch it.

Need more Privacy?

If you have taken a liking to this location but prefer to have a little more privacy for your family, fret not for there is Bukit Teresa estate. To be fair, this is a very niche Freehold neighbourhood tucked right behind Teresa Ville and I don’t blame anyone for not being able to find this place! There is only One way in & out of Bukit Teresa if you’re driving, you need to go along Kampung Bahru road and make a left turn into Bukit Teresa Road right next to CHIJ (Kellock). Not unlike Batman returning to his mansion actually. And for that, you need pockets as deep as Bruce Wayne too.

Bukit Teresa TransactionsWhen I first discovered this neighbourhood many years ago, I’d thought that Teresa Villas & Teresa 8 were condominiums. Which was why I had a hard time finding out the transactions for this estate until I realised that this estate consisted of just landed housing. Both Teresa Villas & Teresa 8 are Cluster-housing projects. For those new to this term, Cluster-housing is a hybrid whereby the units are built like terraced houses but they share facilities as most Condominiums do.

Teresa Road 2The very private estate of Bukit Teresa.

Teresa RoadResidents can also access the landed estate from Bukit Purmei Avenue.

Purmei Estate 2Elevated view of Bukit Teresa estate.

Teresa VillasTeresa Villas is a Cluster-housing project.

A quick search on a popular online property portal reveals current asking prices for Teresa Villas are easily above $5m. I believe the surrounding Detached and Semi-detached houses would be asking for the same range, if not more. Such prices are actually reasonable given the huge sizes of the houses, and as I stood watching these beautiful homes, I felt the serene beauty in this tiny community sitting on top of a hill. You get the exclusive environment of undisturbed peace amidst greenery, and even though the AYE is just right below, none of that traffic noise could be heard. A friendly resident told me that this area used to be a Kampung, in days before I was born, but now it has transformed into a quiet Atas enclave.

What about the HDB estate then?

Bukit Purmei transactionsMy exploration around the HDB estate ended with Blk 110, and personally that’s my star pick if anyone is looking at getting a Resale flat here. Prices around the Bukit Purmei estate are not the cheapest in the records of HDB transactions, but it’s definitely value-for-money given all the observations I had written so far.

Blk 110 is my favourite here, simply because it has a strategic location to all the shops, and right at the foot of the block is the staircase aforementioned, which leads to the bus-stop outside Church of St. Teresa. In terms of size, even a 4-rm flat here is considered roomy compared to the current BTO launches.

Not only that, some of the units have an amazing view of the cityscape:

Purmei Blk 110View of Blk 110 Bukit Purmei road

Purmei Pano 1Imagine waking up to such an incredible view

In the News

Before I end, the authorities have already announced that the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA), which currently has operations opposite Blk 102 Bukit Purmei, will be relocating to Tuas. The current location will be further planned for use but the way I see it, as our CBD area continues to expand and even more mega skyscrapers emerge, the entire Bukit Purmei estate will be poised for an upward valuation. Private properties, such as Teresa Ville, may be eyed for en-bloc sales and re-developed. Even the HDB estate may be relocated via the SERS programme. One thing for sure, Bukit Purmei won’t be off the radar anymore.

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Categories: District 04


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