Even as analysts debate the outlook for Singapore’s luxury condo sector, there has been no dearth of bungalow transactions. Sentosa Cove, for one, is said to have seen several deals. They include two properties at Cove Drive facing the waterway and Tanjong Golf Course. Both are said to have been sold for $15-plus million. One fetched $15.3 million, or $2,202 per square foot, based on 6,947 sq ft of 99-year leasehold land area. It is said to have been sold by a Singaporean aesthetics doctor to a Myanmar national. A foreigner, whether a Singapore permanent resident (PR) or not, is allowed to buy a landed property for own occupation on Sentosa Cove, subject to the nod of the Land Dealings (Approval) Unit. The other bungalow that changed hands on the same road is closer to the Seven Palms Sentosa Cove condo development. There is also talk that Fragrance Group boss Koh Wee Meng recently disposed of a seafronting bungalow along Cove Grove with views of the Southern Islands at around $24 million or $2,470 psf on land area of 9,725 sq ft. The bungalow’s built-up area is said to be around 11,000 sq ft, spread across two levels and an attic. It features eight bedrooms including a spacious master suite, a rooftop jacuzzi and a swimming pool. The property was believed to be Mr Koh’s weekend home.
Market watchers note that the sale follows Mr Koh’s purchase last year of a nearby bungalow. The hotel and property tycoon paid close to $16.8 million or slightly over $1,720 psf on land area of 9,740 sq ft for that property. This was at a loss to the seller, who forked out around $16.5 million for the land alone in 2008, say sources. The seller was Tony Chan Chun Chuen of Hong Kong, the former feng shui consultant to the late tycoon Nina Wang and who is embroiled in legal problems for allegedly forging Mrs Wang’s will in an attempt to claim her multi-billion-dollar estate. That bungalow, too, spans two-and-a- half storeys, including a spacious attic, and boasts eight bedrooms and a swimming pool. Samuel Eyo, director, Prestige Homes at Savills Singapore, says asking prices of Sentosa Cove bungalows are around $2,200 psf for golf course-facing properties and $2,500 psf and upwards for prime sea-fronting bungalows. At these levels, it’s mostly foreigners who are acquiring landed homes in the upscale waterfront housing locale these days. Foreigners, even if they are Singapore PRs, are finding it difficult to qualify for purchases of large landed homes on mainland Singapore. “Instead, they’re turning to either luxury penthouses in the prime Orchard district or landed homes on Sentosa Cove to match their social and financial standing,” notes Mr Eyo.
It’s a different story for Singaporeans. “At current price levels, Singaporeans are generally not entering the landed housing market on Sentosa Cove at the moment as they have the option of buying large bungalows in Good Class Bungalow Areas and other locations on mainland Singapore, where foreigners are not allowed to make a purchase.” Last month, a two-and-a-half storey bungalow at Tudor Close – in the Kheam Hock Road/Dunearn Road vicinity – changed hands for $10.88 million or $1,995 psf on its freehold land area of 5,454 sq ft. It has five bedrooms, a lap pool, lift and wine cellar. Both the seller and buyer are Singapore citizens. The house is currently leased at a monthly rental of $20,000 until August 2014. In the Meyer Road vicinity, a freehold bungalow with a driveway fronting Broadrick Road fetched $22.2 million or $1,147 psf. A two-storey property and a swimming pool are on the site, which has a land area of 19,349 sq ft. The buyer – believed to be a Singaporean hailing from a family in the construction business – is likely to live in the property.
Both transactions were brokered by RealStar Premier. The firm’s managing director, William Wong, says the level of interest in the bungalow market on mainland Singapore is “still high as more and more wealthy Singaporeans aspire to own a bungalow”. “It’s getting pricey to acquire a bungalow and there’s a fear among some buyers that it will not be within an affordable range. A boutique prime district bungalow averages $10 million or more nowadays.” Most owners are pricing their properties above bank valuation, but some buyers are prepared to match that. “On the whole, the buyer-seller price gap is narrowing, as a result of which there are a reasonable number of bungalow transactions now. We expect this to continue in the near future,” Mr Wong added.
The Straits Times
Marketed for its exclusivity and high-end luxury properties, Sentosa Cove’s real value is showing in the number of high-end property sales sealed. For Singaporeans who have more real estate investment options, how likely are they to invest in properties on Sentosa Cove over those on the mainland?