The original single-storey bungalow at 3 Melrose Drive, and behind it the newer 21⁄2-storey house built in 2013. (Pictures by Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
A three-generation family property at 3 Melrose Drive in Braddell Heights Estate will be put up for sale on Oct 18, by expression of interest. The property sits on a freehold site of 14,175 sq ft and has a price tag of $16.8 million.
There are two houses on the site: a single-storey bungalow built in the mid-1980s in front; and behind it, a 2½-storey detached house built in 2013 by husband and wife Paul and Stephanie Masefield.
The single-storey bungalow is where Stephanie’s parents have been living since they purchased the property in 1988.
When Stephanie and her parents first moved to Braddell Heights Estate nearly 35 years ago, there were fewer houses in the private landed estate, she relates. The surrounding areas, such as Lorong Chuan and Serangoon, were also nascent. “It’s been a wonderful neighbourhood for us to live in, as we watched the area around us develop and mature with lots of convenience and amenities,” says Stephanie.
Paul and Stephanie Masefield in the kitchen of their home.
The original single-storey bungalow at Melrose Drive that her parents purchased 34 years ago has remained unchanged. The house has a built-up area of about 3,000 sq ft and three bedrooms. The furniture and interiors are also unchanged. “Walking through the home is like stepping back to a Singapore of yesteryear,” says Stephanie, a Singaporean. She remembers a time when even her grandmother had lived there, too. Hence, four generations have passed through that home.
Stephanie and Paul’s first home was an HDB flat in Bishan. However, when the two children were born, they felt they needed a bigger home.
While the couple was house-hunting, Stephanie’s father suggested that they build their new home in the garden behind his home at 3 Melrose Drive. The original bungalow sits in front of the property, with a large garden behind it. And Stephanie and Paul could build their new home there.
It meant the close-knit family could live together on the same grounds, albeit in separate houses. And instead of buying a new property, the Masefields only needed to pay for the construction cost of their new home.
The living and dining room on the ground floor of the 2 1⁄2-storey house.
“Still, it was not an easy decision to make as we had to consider the inconvenience it would cause my parents, who had to live next to a construction site for over a year while the new house was being built,” says Stephanie.
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A staircase connects the original single-storey bungalow to the newer 2½-storey detached house behind. This connectivity gave Stephanie and Paul’s children access to both houses and allowed them to spend more time with their grandparents while growing up.
The newer 2½-storey house has five bedrooms and a built-up area of 6,000 sq ft. The house’s first level comes with a spacious living and dining area that opens to a patio. There is also an en suite guest room, a utility area and a helper’s room on that level.
The second level has three en suite bedrooms, including the master suite and a family room. The attic has a lounge and a gym with an en suite bathroom. The new owner can turn it into a fifth bedroom.
‘Change in lifestyle’
Stephanie’s father decided it was time to sell the property after having lived there for nearly 35 years. “My parents aren’t getting younger, and I think it is a good move for them to realise the value of this asset as they start preparing for their golden years,” says Stephanie.
The family area on the second floor, which also features three en suite bedrooms.
The couple also anticipate that they will not need such a big home as they get older, and when their adult children eventually move out. “It’s a lifestyle change for us,” says Stephanie. “The children were very young when we first moved into this home in 2013, and they had a chance to run up and down and all around the whole house.”
Both houses have been well-maintained over the years, says Martin Goh, principal consultant at Realstar Premier Group and the exclusive marketing agent for the property.
The property’s $16.8 million price tag translates to a unit price of $1,185 psf based on land area.
Possibilities for the new buyer
According to Goh, the bungalow site at 3 Melrose Drive will be the largest on the market in the Braddell Heights Estate today. The site has a 40m wide frontage. The buyer can retain the 2½-storey detached house, which is still relatively new, and has the option to redevelop the older bungalow.
Goh estimates that developing a new 5,000 sq ft bungalow will cost around $2.5 million to $3 million today. “This is an attractive option for homeowners who want to move in sooner, and they would not need to redevelop both properties, especially with the higher construction costs today,” he says.
The large and spacious attic has been converted into a lounge and gym room.
Alternatively, those who want to build their own dream home on the site may consider tearing down both houses and redeveloping them into a single large detached house. Doing so would cost between $8 million and $10 million, depending on the design, fit-out and materials used, Goh estimates.
Besides homeowners, Goh sees the site at Melrose Drive attracting boutique developers, too. He estimates that the 14,175 sq ft site could be redeveloped into three new smaller detached houses, based on a preliminary feasibility study. URA requires detached houses to have a minimum land area of 400 sq m (4,306 sq ft).
Within the Braddell Heights Estate, only Melrose Drive, Sunridge Park Road, Matlock Road, Lynwood Grove, Cotswold Drive and Chiltern Drive have a two-storey bungalow zoning, notes Goh. The houses in the other parts of Braddell Heights are either two-storey terraced or semi-detached.
“The beauty of living in this corner of Braddell Heights is enjoying the proximity to many amenities and transport connections,” says Paul. “Yet, the area around us is still quiet and private; that makes this neighbourhood stand out.”
Goh agrees. “This part of the Braddell Heights Estate has long flown under the radar of many landed home buyers who tend to gravitate towards Serangoon Gardens or the prime landed neighbourhood of Bukit Timah.”
The freehold, 14,175 sq ft plot at 3 Melrose Drive is in Braddell Heights Estate in District 13.
School catchment area
Popular primary schools within a 1km range of 3 Melrose Drive include CHIJ Our Lady of Good Counsel, Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Primary School and St Gabriel’s Primary School. Secondary and tertiary education institutions nearby include St Gabriel’s Secondary School, Zhonghua Secondary School and Nanyang Junior College.
The Australian International School and Stamford American International School are nearby, too. Hence, the Braddell Heights and Serangoon Gardens estates are popular with expatriate families.
Amenities nearby include Lorong Chuan MRT Station on the Circle Line; the Serangoon Interchange Station on the Circle and North East Lines, which is linked to Nex shopping mall; and the newly opened Woodleigh Mall, which is linked to the Woodleigh MRT Station on the North East Line.
With landed housing prices in the prime Districts 9, 10 and 11 having soared to new levels in recent years, home buyers are rediscovering the benefits of Braddell Heights, says Goh.
The staircase between the living room and the upstairs bedrooms.
Transaction prices on the rise
The last transaction of a detached house along Melrose Drive was for a house sitting on a freehold site area of 4,315 sq ft that changed hands for $6.8 million ($1,576 psf) in November 2022, based on caveats lodged with URA Realis. The house was built in 1996.
Before that, a detached house on a freehold site of 10,199 sq ft was sold for $18.98 million ($1,861 psf), according to a caveat lodged in June 2022. The house was built in 2014 and is located across the street from 3 Melrose Drive.
“Landed homes in Singapore are an evergreen asset, and this type of property is highly desirable and is a timeless investment opportunity for many Singaporeans,” says Goh. “Prices of landed homes are expected to continue rising over the long term due to a relatively limited supply and strong demand.”