The red-hot bungalow market: who's buying and selling in 2021

07 Oct 2021
Property News

Good Class Bungalows (GCBs) are seen as Singapore's highest-end places to live. Their hefty land area coverage and prime locations (Districts 10 and 11, as well as the bungalow estates of districts 20, 21 and 23) also make them extra attractive to the super-rich. BT PHOTO: KNIGHT FRANK

GOOD Class Bungalows (GCBs) are seen as Singapore's highest-end places to live. Their hefty land area coverage and prime locations (Districts 10 and 11, as well as the bungalow estates of districts 20, 21 and 23) also make them extra attractive to the super-rich.

And here's what makes them even more exclusive: only Singapore citizens are allowed to buy.

According to data compiled by ERA Realty Network, sales of GCBs jumped more than six times to S$1.5 billion in the first half of 2021, compared with the year-ago period.

And the moves by prominent Singaporean couple Lee Hsien Yang and Lee Suet Fern to sell at least two properties in the Caldecott Hill GCB area are simply the latest high-profile developments reported in this segment of the landed property market here.

Here's a rundown of what some of Singapore's well-known names are buying and selling:

1. For sale: Second Avenue & Caldecott Hill Estate bungalows owned by OK Lim

Two of the GCBs owned by beleaguered oil trader Lim Oon Kuin, founder of Hin Leong Trading, were put up for public tender and expression of interest on Sept 6, with deadlines of Sept 30 and Oct 19.

A previous attempt to sell the freehold Second Avenue GCB last year fell through, after a caveat of S$27 million was lodged for it in mid-April.

Meanwhile, the Caldecott Hill estate GCB is a two-storey building with a land area of 29,483 square feet located close to Caldecott MRT station, according to Knight Frank, which is handling the sale of both properties.

2. Bought: Third Avenue GCB purchased by Razer CEO and co-founder Tan Min-Liang

The Singapore gaming company founder was reported in July as being in the early stages of purchasing a 30,954 square foot property in Third Avenue for S$52.8 million, which works out to S$1,706 per square foot.

Mr Tan purchased the bungalow from three members of the Pang family behind Catalist-listed offshore marine services group Pacific Radiance.

The two-storey GCB was reported to have five bedrooms, a pool and a large carpark space.

3. Sold: Two adjacent Cluny Road GCBs owned by Kim Eng Securities' Ronald Ooi and lawyer Laurence Wee

Mr Ooi and Mr Wee were reported in mid-July to have granted options to purchase their freehold bungalows located opposite the Singapore Botanic Gardens for about S$3,000 per square foot on land area totalling about S$91 million.

Each bungalow occupies land area of more than 15,000 square feet, and both were reportedly being purchased by a family of Indonesian Chinese origin.

4. Bought: S$40 million GCB in Bin Tong Park, by Chloe Tong, wife of Grab CEO Anthony Tan

Ms Tong, daughter of The Edge Media Group owner Tong Kooi Ong, purchased the freehold property occupying a land area of 21,637 square feet from a doctor, working out to S$1,849 per square foot. The transaction was completed by early July.

Her husband is a Malaysia-born Singapore citizen and a scion of the Tan Chong Motor family, but struck out on his own to co-found the ride-hailing and food delivery giant Grab.

5. Bought: S$63.7 million freehold Cluny Hill property for record S$4,291 per square foot price tag, by founder Tommy Ong

Mr Ong had sold his Singapore-based e-commerce marketing platform to Canada-listed WeCommerce in April for up to US$110 million.

The bungalow, which was under construction when the sale was reported in May, is located near the Singapore Botanic Gardens, and was slated to have two levels, a basement and an attic, six bedrooms and a swimming pool.

It was sold by Top Global controlling shareholder Oei Sui Hoa, also known as Sukmawati Widjaja.

6. Bought: S$86 million GCB in Queen Astrid Park, spanning a land area of 31,800 square feet, by TikTok CEO Chew Shou Zi

The newly-minted leader, who is also chief financial officer at ByteDance (which owns TikTok) was reported in late July as being in the early stages of the purchase, which worked out to about S$2,700 per square foot.

The property has a 999-year leasehold tenure.

7. Bought: S$128.8 million Nassim Road GCB with transaction price of S$4,005 per square foot, by Jin Xiao Qun, wife of Nanofilm Technologies International founder Shi Xu

In March, Ms Jin made headlines for buying an old bungalow in Nassim Road with a land area of 32,159 sq ft for S$128.8 million.

The price worked out to S$4,005 per square foot, a record price at the time the sale was reported for bungalow redevelopment land in a GCB Area. This was overtaken by Mr Ong's purchase of the Cluny Hill bungalow in May.

8. For sale: 18,010 square feet freehold Cluny Hill bungalow owned by former Singapore Cabinet minister Yeo Ning Hong and his wife

The property was reported in July to have been put up for sale by expression of interest, with a deadline of Aug 2.

9. Bought: S$36 million GCB on Olive Road in Caldecott Hill estate, by Secretlab co-founder and CEO Ian Ang

The bungalow was purchased in late June from Danny Yong Ming Chong, who founded and heads Singapore investment manager Dymon Asia Capital.

Its price tag translates to S$1,537 per square foot based on the 23,424 square foot site, a record purchase price for the Caldecott Hill GCB area at the time.

Mr Ang also purchased, within the span of a week, a five-bedroom triplex penthouse at Leedon Residence off Farrer Road spanning 7,007 square feet.

10. Sold: 35,482 square feet King Albert Park villa for S$43.4 million by Lim Kay Tong and siblings

The transaction was reported in late January, for the freehold property which has a dual road frontage. It was owned by actors Lim Kay Tong and Lim Kay Siu, as well as their sister Irene, and sold to Sim Lian Group's controlling Kuik family.

The price tag works out to S$1,222 per square foot, and the property area is large enough to be carved out into two GCB plots.

11. Bought: S$42 million freehold bungalow in Gallop Road, by Haidilao co-founder Zhang Yong's son

The property, purchased in January this year, is located next door to the Zhang family's existing villa, working out to S$1,940 per square foot based on the land area of 21,647 square feet.

This was higher than the S$1,700 per square foot price the family paid for its then-four-year-old GCB in 2016. That property sits on 15,884 square feet of freehold land.

Mr Zhang and his wife Shu Ping are ranked by Forbes as Singapore's richest individuals, with a net worth estimated at US$19 billion as at August 2020. Their son is in his early 20s, and all three are Singapore citizens.

Source: The Business Times
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