Straits Times: Sat, Nov 26
JUST when the property market looked like it was sliding into a pre-Christmas slumber, two good-class bungalows have been sold for a total of $105 million.
Both homes - one in Victoria Park Road, the other in Tanglin Hill - were bought and sold by Singaporeans.
The Straits Times understands that the Tanglin Hill home went for $57 million - or $1,648 per sq ft (psf) - the second-highest overall price this year.
The two-storey house and pool were completed in 1990, and sit on a 34,579 sq ft site with a built-up area of about 8,000 sq ft.
The other big sale was recorded by a bungalow on a 32,078 sq ft site in Victoria Park Road, which sold for $48 million - or $1,496 psf.
Savills Prestige Homes is understood to have brokered both deals.
As eye-catching as the prices are, they do not rule the roost for good-class bungalows.
The benchmark price this year was set in April by a Yarwood Avenue home that sold for $59.5 million, but even that trails the record-setter - a house on a 41,852 sq ft site in Leedon Park that sold in December last year for $61.4 million.
The market for good-class bungalows has slowed significantly this year, with sentiment turning cautious on the back of economic uncertainties.
Cooling measures imposed in January and differing expectations between buyers and sellers also led to a stalemate over prices, experts noted.
There were 13 sales totalling $302 million inked in the first three months of this year, but that fell to 10 sales in the second quarter and only three in the third, according to an analysis of caveats lodged with the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
There was a $23 million deal inked last month, on top of the two recent sales, so 29 good-class bungalows worth $794 million have been snapped up this year.
These numbers refer only to bungalows of more than 1,400 sq m - the typical minimum plot size.
Experts are undecided over how this posh market segment might pan out next year.
Some said that there has been a return of interest in the market in recent months, with an increase in buyer inquiries.
Newsman Realty managing director K.H. Tan said many Singaporeans have decided to pull their funds out of countries like the United States, Europe and China, and reinvest in a 'blue-chip' market like Singapore.
He added that a good number of his clients are also permanent residents who have taken up Singapore citizenship.
'With the interest we're seeing recently, I expect next year to be better than this year. There are many buyers making good offers at the market price, but the sellers have holding power and some of them are expecting a premium,' Mr Tan added.
Ms Jasmine Png, a team associate director at OrangeTee, said market activity next year will hinge on how the global economic situation plays out.
CB Richard Ellis director of luxury homes Douglas Wong, who specialises in the sale of good-class bungalows, said the more subdued activity this year is expected to continue into the next six months.
The lower sales volumes are due largely to the January cooling measures, which have removed speculators from the market and imposed a lower loan-to-value ratio for buyers with existing mortgages, he said. Most buyers are now owner-occupiers.
'But while the number of transactions has fallen, prices are expected to remain stable or even inch up, as many of the sellers have strong holding power. Good-class bungalows remain in demand because of their scarcity value,' Mr Wong added.
Good-class bungalows are at the highest end of homes. There are only about 2,400 in 39 gazetted areas such as Nassim, Dalvey and Tanglin.
Source: The Straits Times