Monday, March 14, 2011

Good-class bungalows fetching record prices

PRIME bungalows are continuing to set price records, even as overall buyer interest seems to be falling off in the wake of January's property cooling measures.

The latest eye-catching deal occurred last week, when a Cluny Road house reportedly sold for $33million - a record in terms of value per square foot (psf).

The price works out to about $2,038 psf of land area, making it the first good-class bungalow to top $2,000 psf.

But the title of most expensive bungalow overall goes to a property in Leedon Park, for which a caveat was lodged last December at $61.4million - the highest price ever in terms of total quantum.

The price works out to $1,467 psf for the 41,852 sq ft site.

The buyers are Mr George Lim and Ms Jennifer Tan, according to the caveat lodged with the Urban Redevelopment Authority on Dec23. Reports have said they are Singaporeans who may sub-divide the site into two 20,000 sq ft parcels.

Mr Lim has developed and sold at least seven good-class bungalows worth a total of $145million since 2006.

Good-class bungalows are the highest-end homes in Singapore and are located in only a handful of specially designated prime sites.

The Cluny Road bungalow is believed to have been bought by Chinese-born Chen Wei Ping - now a Singapore citizen and the executive chairman of aluminium firm Midas Holdings - from a British investment banker.

The 16,200 sq ft eco-friendly property uses photovoltaic cells and solar water heaters to save energy, recycles rainwater for irrigation and features recycled teak in its design.

Its sale price beat the previous record of $1,899 psf for a good-class bungalow, set in 2007 when Raffles Education chairman and founder Chew Hua Seng paid $25.5million for 32H Nassim Road.

Despite the record prices, interest in posh bungalows has declined since the January cooling measures.

Mr Alexs Chua, managing director of AC MacGyver, an agency that specialises in landed homes, said buyers now are mainly owner-occupiers rather than investors.

But prime bungalow locations such as Nassim and Tanglin could still see prices inching upwards this year, especially with the benchmark set by the Leedon sale, he noted.

However, prices might remain stagnant in other locations.

'Many buyers are waiting for the first-quarter price index to be released (in April), so they are not willing to buy yet... But if you have a property that's nicely done up, buyers are still willing to pay a premium for it,' he added.

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