Bungalow market keeping up with last year’s momentum

The bungalow market in Singapore is humming along nicely, with transactions likely to equal if not surpass 2016’s volume.

Based on an analysis of caveats data, 23 transactions have been made in Good Class Bungalow Areas totalling S$480.6 million so far this year.

BT understands that options have been granted for a few more bungalows, although they have yet to be exercised.

In 2016, 37 bungalows in GCB Areas changed hands for a total of S$788.5 million.

Bungalows in GCB Areas are the most prestigious form of landed housing in Singapore with strict planning conditions laid out by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Only Singapore citizens are allowed to buy landed homes in the 39 GCB Areas on mainland Singapore. However, in the waterfront housing district of Sentosa Cove, a foreigner (including a Singapore permanent resident) is eligible to seek approval to buy a landed home for owner occupation only.

A recent transaction on the mainland though not in a GCB Area involves a bungalow along Wilkinson Road in District 15, which was sold for about S$17.2 million. The price works out to some S$1,200 per square foot on the freehold land area of 14,300 square feet.

The built-up area is estimated to be about 8,900 sq ft across two levels and a basement.

The property has four bedrooms, two living areas, a dining area, dry and wet kitchens and a swimming pool. The basement contains an entertainment room. The bungalow is believed to be about 20 years old.

BT understands the buyer is Singapore Technologies Engineering chief executive Vincent Chong.

Another recent bungalow deal was along Oriole Crescent in the Raffles Park GCB Area where Macoline (S) Pte Ltd, a boutique developer and freight forwarder, sold a newly developed property for S$16.7 million or over S$1,600 psf based on the land area of about 10,300 sq ft.

The bungalow is spread over two storeys and an attic and has a swimming pool.

Meanwhile, 10 Sentosa Cove bungalows have been transacted so far this year for a total of around S$143 million based on caveats. However, there are at least four more deals totalling close to S$70 million at various stages that have yet to be caveated.

For the whole of last year, caveats were lodged for four deals worth S$64.5 million. However, on top of that, there was also a bulk sale of the remaining 10 bungalows on Pearl Island, one of the five man-made islands in Sentosa Cove. This transaction was structured through the sale of the entire equity of Ximeng Land (S) Pte Ltd, which developed the 19-villa project, which was completed, that is, received Temporary Occupation Permit, in 2012.

The equity was sold by a Liu family from Beijing to SRIF Pte Ltd, fully owned by Leslie Lim and Vincent Ong, the co-founders of Evia Real Estate.

The deal is said to have valued the 10 villas at about S$125 million or about S$1,500-1,600 psf on land area. Landed homes in Sentosa Cove have a 99-year leasehold tenure.

Messrs Lim and Ong told BT that the one of the 10 villas has been sold and the rest will be relaunched for sale in a fortnight.

The landscaping for all the homes has been redone. Two of the villas have been furnished – one with Fendi, and the other, Bottega Veneta, said Mr Ong.

“Our target pricing is between S$15 million and S$30 million per villa, or about S$2,500 psf on land area – inclusive of furnishings. Excluding furnishings, the price will be about S$2,350 psf.”

Pearl Island’s balance lease tenure is 89.5 years.

The bungalows have land areas ranging from around 6,500 sq ft to 11,500 sq ft.

Each villa comprises two storeys, a basement and an attic/roof terrace. All four levels are accessible by a private home lift.

The bungalows have five to seven bedrooms with en suite bathrooms.

The basement of each unit has a wine cellar, an entertainment room/lounge area, a semi-open garden as well as two spas (a “his” and a “hers”). The top floor houses an entertainment room, a gym and a roof terrace fitted with cooking and outdoor dining facilities.

Each villa is built with wet and dry kitchens fitted with Miele refrigerators, wine chiller, ovens and cooker hoods/hobs. Each villa has its own private berth (imported from France) and swimming pool.

In the heyday of the Sentosa Cove bungalow market back in 2010, the buyers were predominantly foreigners including Singapore PRs. These days, however, the buying action is dominated by Singapore citizens and a few PRs.

Foreign demand has fallen sharply due to the prohibitive 15 per cent additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD). As a result, it may not make sense for foreigners to buy a Sentosa bungalow – unless they live here. Many of them, if they are based here and contributing to Singapore’s economy, hope to get Singapore PR status before making their purchase – in order to qualify for a lower ABSD rate.

Market watchers estimate that prices of bungalows on the Cove have eased around 25 per cent to 45 per cent from the peak in 2010.

For Singaporean and PR buyers who are looking for bungalows up to say, S$15 million, they are seeing more attractive value at present market prices in Sentosa Cove – compared with mainland houses – because Sentosa has a nice waterfront ambience and 24-hour security.

Adapted from: The Business Times, 18 August 2017

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