Good Class Bungalows, high-end condos in district 10 see buyer interest

Good Class Bungalow (GCB) transactions in the prestigious Tanglin Hill are very rare. The most recent, according to a caveat lodged on Nov 3, was for a 21-year-old GCB on a freehold site of 34,585 sq ft. It was sold for $57 million ($1,648 psf) in a private-treaty deal. Colliers International represented the seller, while Savills Prestige Homes represented the buyer. Both the seller and buyer were Singaporeans. The psf price is just slightly higher than that of a GCB located across the street that was built in 1992 and sits on a 23,982 sq ft plot. This GCB changed hands in April for $38.8 million ($1,618 psf).

Meanwhile, a GCB at Victoria Park Road on a freehold elevated site of 32,077 sq ft was sold for $48 million ($1,496 psf) a fortnight ago in a deal brokered by Samuel Eyo, associate director of Savills Prestige Homes. A caveat has yet to be lodged. The last time the property changed hands was just two years ago, when it was sold for $38.67 million ($1,205 psf). Hence, the seller saw a 24% capital appreciation.

Given the rather gloomy economic outlook and market uncertainty, the recent Tanglin Hill and Victoria Park Road deals took about three months to negotiate and close, says Eyo. This is because there aren’t too many buyers at this end of the market, given the large quantum price and most of the buyers being owner-occupiers looking to tear down and redevelop the existing property into a luxurious bungalow for their own use. Large GCB plots of at least 30,000 sq ft that can be sub-divided into two smaller GCBs are also becoming increasingly scarce, he points out.

Including the recent transaction at Tanglin Hill, there have been only three transactions that have crossed the $50 million mark in the last 12 months. In December last year, niche GCB developer George Lim paid $61.4 million ($1,467 psf) for a 41,850 sq ft freehold site at Leedon Park that he intends to sub-divide into two GCBs. And in April, Raymond Ng, executive chairman of Enviro-Hub Holdings, paid $59.5 million ($856 psf) for a 69,546 sq ft freehold site at Yarwood Avenue. The site can be sub-divided into three GCB plots.

Smaller GCBs with land areas of 15,000 to 16,000 sq ft in prime districts 10 and 11 (Bukit Timah, Chancery Hill and Bukit Tunggal) that had asking prices of $24 million to $26 million at the beginning of the year have been transacted at $22 million to $23 million, says William Wong, managing director of bungalow specialists RealStar Premier. “The transaction prices of these GCBs are probably 5% to 8% below what the owners were asking for at the start of the year — an indication that sellers were prepared to adjust their prices downwards to meet buyers’ expectations.”

In October, a GCB on Olive Road in Caldecott Hill Estate on a 14,000 sq ft site was sold for $16.38 million ($1,088 psf) in a deal brokered by RealStar Premier, although the caveat has yet to be lodged. The property last changed hands in January 2009 for $6.8 million ($452 psf), hence the seller saw its price increase 2.4 times in just over two years.


In the Tanglin area, there have also been some transactions in the high-end condominium segment. In the Tanglin area is the 46-unit luxury condo 8 Napier, located next to Gleneagles Hospital and Medical Centre and the Singapore Botanic Gardens. According to URA, as at end-October, 27 units in the luxury condo have been sold. The project was completed last year. The developer of 8 Napier is Hasetrale Holdings. In late 2007, 19 units were sold to private equity real estate investment fund MGPA’s Asia Fund III at an average price of $3,550 psf. The fund sold the units in July last year for an undisclosed price.

Last year, some units purchased for $3,550 psf four years ago were sold on the secondary market at an average of $3,200 psf. From last December to September this year, units sold in the low-rise development ranged from $3,000 psf for second-floor units to $3,527 psf for higher-floor units. Most recently, a 2,013 sq ft three-bedroom unit on the fifth level was sold for $6.5 million ($3,229 psf). The buyer is said to be a Permanent Resident who is buying for her own use, says Nancy Hawkes of Jones Lang LaSalle, who brokered the sale.

There seems to be interest in old condos with spacious apartments. At the 274-unit freehold Tanglin Park condo developed by City Developments Ltd (CDL) 22 years ago, there were two transactions in the week of Nov 1 to 8, based on caveats downloaded from URA Realis as at Nov 23. A 1,593 sq ft three-bedroom apartment on the eighth level was sold for $3.2 million ($2,009 psf). This is the fifth time the unit has changed hands in the last 16 years (URA’s database of caveats go back only to January 1995).

One can trace the ups and downs of the property market from the transaction history of this unit. The very first recorded resale was in April 1995, when the unit was sold for $1.83 million ($1,146 psf). It changed hands three years later for $1.53 million ($772 psf), in December 1998, at the height of the Asian financial crisis. The unit was subsequently resold in January 2007 for $2 million ($1,255 psf). The buyer sold the apartment six months later, at the peak of the last property boom, for $3 million ($1,883 psf), enjoying a 50% gain in that short period of time.

The second transaction at Tanglin Park in the week of Nov 1 to 8 was for a 1,109 sq ft two-bedroom apartment that changed hands for $2.1 million ($1,858 psf). The seller paid $1.15 million ($1,037 psf) for the apartment in a resale in 1995, hence seeing an 83% gain in 16 years.

“[Tanglin Park’s] main attraction is its location; being in a quiet and exclusive neighbourhood is definitely an advantage,” says Andy Goh, a property agent and president of AG Prestige Home.

Another condo that is known for its luxurious and spacious apartments is the 330-unit Ardmore Park by Wheelock Properties that was completed 10 years ago. The development comprises three 30-storey towers and typical units are 2,885 sq ft four-bedroom apartments. There are four penthouses of 8,740 sq ft. A four-bedroom unit on the eighth floor of one of the towers changed hands recently for $9 million ($3,120 psf). Based on caveats lodged, the seller had purchased it for $5.03 million ($1,742 psf) when the project was launched in July 1996, and hence saw a 79% capital appreciation. “Ardmore Park is a perennial favourite not only because of its spacious units but also its facilities and landscaping,” says Goh. “The condo attracts a good mix of investors and occupiers, although these days, most of the buyers are looking to buy for their own occupation.”

Source : The Edge – 28 Nov 2011

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