Published 9 March 2011
The Business Times
By Kalpana Rashiwala
Buyer is said to be the executive chairman of Midas Holdings
A record land price per unit has been set for a Good Class Bungalow (GCB) transaction: a bungalow at Cluny Road has been sold for $33 million or about $2,038 per square foot (psf) on the freehold land area of about 16,200 sq ft.
The seller is understood to be an investment banker, a British national who is a Singapore permanent resident. The buyer is said to be Singapore-listed Midas Holdings executive chairman Chen Wei Ping. The former China national is now a Singapore citizen.
The $2,038 psf he is paying for the Cluny Road bungalow surpasses the previous high of $1,899 psf on land area that Raffles Education founder and chairman Chew Hua Seng paid in October 2007 for 32H Nassim Road. Incidentally, Mr Chew and Mr Chen are understood to be friends.
The latest transaction at Cluny Road was handled by Renee Lim of Singapore Home Search, who co-brokered the deal with Samuel Eyo of Savills Singapore.
An option for the sale of the same property had been granted last year apparently at the same price, but that deal later fell through as the potential buyer, a Singapore permanent resident, was not given approval by the Land Dealings (Approval) Unit of the Singapore Land Authority, BT understands.
The bungalow is a two- storey property with a basement and understood to have been completed a couple of years ago. It was designed by Guz Architects.
The house bagged an honourable mention under the residential category at the Singapore Institute of Architects’ Architectural Design Awards 2010. The house uses photovoltaic cells and solar water heaters to save energy and recycles rainwater for the irrigation, as well as recycled teak with reconstituted timber in the design.
The judges citation read: ‘The jury were impressed with how the architect has integrated the landscape and the building so much so that the architecture and nature merged into a seamless and formless whole. Thick and lush greenery has made the building completely disappear and nature has taken over the view.’
While a record unit land price has been set for a GCB transaction, sales activity for such bungalows, the most prestigious on mainland Singapore, has cooled in the first two months of this year after the record $2.27 billion deals involving 121 transactions achieved last year, according to CB Richard Ellis figures.
Douglas Wong, director (luxury homes) at CBRE, said that with the punitive seller’s stamp duty rates announced under the Jan 13 property cooling measures for those who buy a private residential property after that date and sell it within four years, activity in the GCB market is expected to slow down in the short term as speculators bow out of the market, with owner-occupiers and long-term investors remaining the main players.
‘The current stand-off between buyers and sellers as well as the Chinese New Year festivities have also contributed to the slow down in the first two months. Some offers have been made for GCBs but these have been below the sellers’ expectations.
‘A more visible trend should emerge in the next three to six months but overall, prices are expected to increase 3 to 5 per cent in 2011,’ he added.
Newsman Realty managing director KH Tan observed that after hibernating in the first two months of this year, potential buyers are on the prowl again.
‘I think GCB prices will remain strong and a 10-15 per cent price increase this year is quite a high possibility. While those who trade in GCBs will be affected by the seller’s stamp duty, demand from others who are buying for long-term investment or for their own occupation will remain strong.
‘Lately we have seen interest from some Singaporeans doing business in Hong Kong/China; high net worth new Singapore citizens also remain keen on GCBs due to the limited stock of such properties in Singapore.’