Ghim Moh: The New, the Swanky & the old.

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook about his excitement of getting a Built-To-Order (BTO) flat at Ghim Moh Edge (under construction). That’s the new extension of Ghim Moh of course, because when i last visited another friend’s home in Ghim Moh some 20 years ago I remembered it to be a quiet nondescript neighbourhood that not many would know of.

mapThen again, my friend has every reason to be thrilled about his new home. After all, Ghim Moh falls under the prestigious District 10 of Singapore and it’s situated just on the opposite side of Buona Vista MRT station. With the Circle Line intersecting at Buona Vista MRT and the popping up of a new mall Star Vista, this tiny neighbourhood has suddenly found itself in the limelight!

GM new estate 7View of Ghim Moh Valley (completed) from Commonwealth Avenue West

GM new estate 5The Star Vista Mall (behind the train) and MRT station just 10 minutes walk away

Ghim Moh‘, loosely translated to mean ‘Golden Hair‘ in the Hokkien dialect, was used as a general reference to Caucasians. The estate probably traced its origin back to the Colonial days when British military forces and their families resided in the vicinity of Buona Vista / Holland Village. Nearby Colonial style houses in Nepal Park & Rochester Park (Read: Medway Park post) still stand today as a testament of the bygone era.

sbf priceWhen I saw the recent HDB announcement of BTO and Sale of Balance (SBF) flats and units were actually available in the New Ghim Moh, I did a quick check on the price and it amazes me that a 92 Square Metres flat in Ghim Moh now costs  S$560,400! (Refer to image from HDB’s website)

Perhaps having both the East-West Line & Circle Line at your doorstep drove home prices in this area to a peak, or being a stone’s throw away to Holland Village (Read: Post on Holland V) adds to the charm of living here. Or maybe I’m just stuck 20 years back in time when it comes to Ghim Moh, so I decided to take a trip down to the area to relive the moments, and also to witness for myself the value in this neighbourhood, old and new.

GM old estate 3View of Blk 3 Ghim Moh road

Built some time circa 1976, the original Ghim Moh estate has seen its residents come and go, but I guess a great number must have stayed around. The ravages of time has caught up with the residents and the flats themselves, but both do seem to be still in good shape thankfully.

GM old estate 2The prominent Community Club along Ghim Moh road

GM old market 4View of market at Blk 20 Ghim Moh estate

There is a wet market at the heart of the old Ghim Moh estate and it teems with life on a Saturday morning. Somehow, I find that such traditional markets are the true heart and soul of the HDB estates and they act as a central place for people all around to gather and mingle. We are lucky that such scenes are still not completely erased from our island yet.

GM old market 3Fresh fish anyone?

GM old market 2Fresh produce decked out in their full glory

GM old market 1The food centre has almost no space for the breakfast crowd!

GM old estate 4View of Ghim Moh estate (old) from Blk 19

GM old estate 5View of Ghim Moh estate (old) from Blk 18

Blk 22 layoutI have to admit that the physical state of the flats here are not at their best. After all, some of the first batch of homes are already more than 35 years old! Yet, the development all around has not forgotten the Old Guard, because the last 3-rm flat in Blk 3 sold for S$428,000 in November! (Figures from HDB data) That sure puts some weight into the saying ‘Old is Gold’!

But prices aside, what I find endearing about these old HDB flats is actually its design. You see, most of the new BTO flats built for our younger generation are quite different in design compared to the old flats.

At Ghim Moh Valley, the layout for Blk 22 (image on right) is similar to the other new blocks and I believe to match young owners’ expectations the design provided utmost privacy for individual units. Now, I’m not saying that’s bad, because it allows all the units to get somewhat unblocked views from their living rooms and they don’t have to live with the ‘neighbour walking by on corridor and peering in’ lifestyle.  It’s almost like a private apartment these days when it comes to HDB!

GM old estate 1The old design feature of HDB flats

Then again, we will slowly lose those unique common corridor where children run about playing ‘catching’ and neighbours interacting with one another. That I believe was the original intention of having the long stretch of corridor as a public space. When we demand to be rid of that, we cut away the opportunities (even if compelled) to interact and probably wouldn’t know our neighbours next door even after 5 years.

GM Bridge 2The bridge connecting New & Old Ghim Moh

Moving on! I found that Ghim Moh Valley and Ghim Moh Edge are actually very near to the wet market! With this swanky new bridge, walking to the market is a breeze. At the center lies the Ulu Pandan canal and residents can jog along the canal on days with good weather.

GM Bridge 1The Ulu Pandan Canal

GM new estate 8There are several amenities for the residents at the new Ghim Moh, namely a Preschool right in the middle of the blocks where the common recreation space is, supermarkets, clinics and a food court. I’m not too worried about the Preschool not being able to meet the demands of the huge influx of young residents in the next few years, there’s always Star Vista which can support a few more childcare / preschools.

GM new estate 3Supermarket can be found at Blk 25 Ghim Moh Valley

GM new estate 4View of shops which can be seen along Commonwealth Avenue West

GM New food courtQuite a decent ‘Ba Chor Mee’ in the food court!

GM New estate 1Alright, here’s the LiveHere Top Tip of the day! If you wish to see the grandeur of Ghim Moh estate, and the reason why prices are in the premium level, venture to Blk 18 of old Ghim Moh, just where the bridge leads you to and go to the top floor. From the corner, you can see Ghim Moh Edge being constructed at the moment, and…

GM New estate 2Voila!

The view of Holland / Mount Sinai neighbourhood is magnificent!! On a good clear day the view brings an air of calmness and whatever nerves you have for spending half a million on the new BTO should get soothed in seconds! I don’t think this view will change much in the near future as it is mainly a private residential area, any plans for a towering skyscraper condominium may spoil the landscape. (Latest URA plan shows plot ratio in this area to be 1.4)

Many a times in our lives, all it takes is a moment for us to smile and forget the negative things in life. A smile or a hug from loved ones, the giggling of your baby, or in this case a clear wonderful view that puts your mind at ease. At least that works well for me! That being said, when I stare at the new BTO flats long enough, they seem to become sort of a majestic, almost regal, gigantic Lego castle.

GM New estate 6

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Categories: District 10

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