Super rich in Nassim

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/ EdgeProp Singapore
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August 2, 2019 6:34 AM SGT
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Singapore’s most prestigious address just saw a Good Class Bungalow sold for $230 million. It is the latest in a string of record-breaking bungalow and luxury penthouse deals. Why are the ultra-rich flocking to Singapore?

NASSIM ROAD GCB - The Good Class on Nassim Road which was sold recently for a record-breaking $230 million or $2,720 psf
The Good Class on Nassim Road which was sold recently for a record-breaking $230 million or $2,720 psf
The Good Class Bungalow (GCB) at 33 Nassim Road has an old-world grandeur: sprawling 84,544 sq ft grounds with a tennis court and inground swimming pool, a guard post at the gate and a winding road leading up to the double-storey mansion perched at the top. The house is also shielded from prying eyes by a thick hedge of tall trees.
The GCB was sold for $230 million, making it the biggest GCB deal in terms of absolute price. Even in terms of price psf, it is one of the highest today – at $2,720 psf. “Given the land size of the Nassim Road GCB, the magnitude of the price – both in absolute and psf terms – is astounding,” says a source who declined to be named.
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The seller is Winright Investment, a private company set up for holding property investments and owned by property magnate Cheng Wai Keung, chairman of Singapore-listed Wing Tai Holdings, and his wife Helen Chow. Cheng declined to comment when contacted by EdgeProp Singapore.
A property title search showed that the contract for the purchase was exercised on May 10, with the transfer to the buyer completed and registered on July 4.
The buyer, SG Casa, is a trust, and based on records, the trustee is Leon Kwong Wing, a partner in the private client and tax team of law firm Withers KhattarWong.
The beneficiary or beneficiaries of the trust are believed to be Singapore citizens. “The Land Dealings Approval Unit (LDAU) of the Singapore Land Authority will require the trustee and all beneficiaries to be Singapore citizens, says Lee LiatYeang, senior partner of corporate real estate group at law firm Dentons Rodyk.
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NASSIM ROAD GCB - Another part of the garden showing the road leading up to the mansion
Another part of the garden showing the road leading up to the mansion

Those who can afford it

Who has the appetite for a $230 million GCB in the most prestigious address in Singapore?
Some are speculating that the buyer is Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook who is worth US$9.7 billion ($13.3 billion) and a Singapore resident. He purchased the 10,300 sq ft, ultra-luxury penthouse at Sculptura Ardmore for over $60 million in 2017. However, some say that Saverin has outgrown the penthouse. A two-storey mansion sitting on an 84,544 sq ft land may be more suited for his needs.
Another possibility is Macau businesswoman Pansy Ho, group executive chairman and managing director of Hong Kong-listed Shun Tak Holdings. The newly minted “queen of casinos” took over the reins of the casino empire from her father, Stanley Ho, popularly known as “Godfather” and “King of Gambling” in Macau.
Pansy Ho is said to have a net worth of at least US$4.5 billion. According to the South China Morning Post, she purchased a house on The Peak, one of Hong Kong’s most prestigious districts, for US$114.6 million last year.
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Shun Tak started investing in Singapore three years ago, with the purchase of a bungalow on Cuscaden Road for $145 million in 2016 for redevelopment into a hotel; the en bloc purchase of Park House for $375.5 million ($2,910 psf per plot ratio) which set a record in Singapore in June 2018; followed by the purchase of a bungalow at 14 and 14A Nassim Road for $218 million, which also has redevelopment potential.
For price trends, recent transactions, other project info, check out the Nassim Road, Sculptura Ardmore, The Peak, Cuscaden Road, and Park House project details page
NASSIM ROAD GCB - Part of the garden on the sprawling 84,544 sq ft, freehold site which comes with a tennis court and swimming pool
Part of the garden on the sprawling 84,544 sq ft, freehold site which comes with a tennis court and swimming pool
Others reckon the buyer of the GCB at Nassim Road could be the family of the late Hong Kong tycoon Cheng Yu-tung who passed away in 2016 at the age of 91. The Cheng family’s vast empire includes the Hong Kong-listed New World Development real estate business; Knight Dragon, the master developer of Greenwich Peninsula in London; and the Chow Tai Fook jewellery business. The family is reported to have a net worth of US$22.5 billion, making them one of Asia’s richest, according to Forbes.
Chow Tai Fook opened two jewellery shops in Singapore in 2014 and 2015, while New World Development is involved in two residential projects here: the 400-unit Artra on Alexandra View, in a joint venture with Far East Consortium International; and Cuscaden Reserve, the 192-unit luxury condo on Cuscaden Road, just off Orchard Boulevard, in a joint venture with Far East Consortium and SC Global Developments’ Simon Cheong.

The appeal of big plots in prime locations

Written permission was obtained in 2016 for the subdivision of the GCB on Nassim Road into four smaller GCB parcels of 20,000 to 21,000 sq ft. However, the recent sale reflected in the property title was for the entire plot of 84,544 sq ft.
“This shows that big plots in prime locations that are elevated and offer great views are sought after by the ultra-high-net-worth individuals,” says Steve Tay, senior associate vice president of List Sotheby’s International Realty.
In 2013, the GCB at 33 Nassim Road was on the market for sale by tender, with JLL as the exclusive marketing agent. The asking price then was in the range of $250 million to $300 million. The property was subsequently withdrawn.
The sale of the GCB for $230 million tops the string of record-breaking deals of luxury penthouses and GCBs in the past three months. “This phenomenon is due to various factors,” says Lee of Dentons Rodyk. “Singapore’s appeal to ultra-high-net-worth individuals has been fortified by its safety and security, political stability, and strong and stable currency.”
NASSIM ROAD GCB - The property of Nassim Road has a hedge of tall trees for greater privacy
The property of Nassim Road has a hedge of tall trees for greater privacy
The biggest penthouse in Singapore – a 21,108 sq ft, five-bedroom penthouse at Wallich Residence at Tanjong Pagar Centre – was purchased by British inventor and the UK’s richest man, James Dyson. He followed up the purchase with that of a GCB on Cluny Road recently. The asking price for the bungalow on Cluny Road with a land area of about 15,100 sq ft was $45 million or $2,980 psf.

‘Chain effect’

Recent purchases of penthouses have also hit new highs in their respective condos, with many of them purchased by Chinese nationals. These include Boulevard Vue, where the last and biggest penthouse of 11,098 sq ft was sold for $52 million ($4,686 psf). At 3 Orchard By-the-Park, the biggest penthouse fetched $31.5 million ($4,805 psf) in June. At Boulevard 88, the last of four penthouses was sold for $31 million ($5,125 psf) in early June.
“There’s certainly a chain effect, though we may only see the landed property purchases pick up much later,” says William Wong, managing director of RealStar Premier Group. “An increase in penthouse transactions will be a positive push as it means some penthouse sellers may in turn buy a prime GCB.”
Anecdotal evidence is that the unrest in Hong Kong, now in its second month, may lead many of the rich to consider relocating their businesses and families to Singapore. “While high-net-worth individuals from Hong Kong will not be able to buy GCBs, those who are Singapore Permanent Residents and have made significant contributions to Singapore’s economy for at least two years may still get approval from the authorities to purchase a boutique GCB with a land area of 1,400 sq m,” says Wong.
He reckons that 2H2019 will see an increase in purchases of condominiums, penthouses and even commercial properties from some high-net-worth Hong Kong investors. “The increased demand and volume of transactions will have a spill-over effect on the landed and GCB market. I foresee landed prices picking up starting early next year,” he adds.
For price trends, recent transactions, other project info, check out the Artra, Wallich Residence at Tanjong Pagar Centre, Cluny Road, Boulevard Vue, 3 Orchard By-the-Park, and Boulevard 88​ project details page
NASSIM ROAD GCB - The sale of the GCB for $230 million tops the string of record-breaking deals of luxury penthouses and GCBs in the past three months
The sale of the GCB for $230 million tops the string of record-breaking deals of luxury penthouses and GCBs in the past three months (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

‘Stars aligned for Singapore’

Political uncertainty elsewhere has increased Singapore’s attractiveness as a safe haven, notes Samuel Eyo, managing director of boutique realtor Lighthouse Property Consultants. The announcement of the URA Draft Master Plan 2019, extension of the Greater Southern Waterfront and the $9 billion investment commitment by the two integrated resorts “provide greater clarity about Singapore’s future, unlike for other countries”, he adds.
The URA Master Plan 2019 is definitely “a catalyst”, agrees Bruce Lye, managing partner of SRI. “When our realtors bring their overseas clients to the URA Centre on Maxwell Road to show them the Master Plan 2019, most of them are wowed and convinced,” he says.
Regardless of who the buyer is, the recent purchase of the Nassim Road GCB signifies the desire to own “limited-edition, top-end stuff – from cars to watches and bags”, says Lye. “Some of the ultra-high-net-worth individuals feel that this is just the start of a new wave for Singapore. With what’s happening in Hong Kong, Singapore’s stability is attracting those who rank among the world’s richest. It seems the stars are aligned for Singapore.”
*Photos of the mansion and the grounds of 33 Nassim Road were taken by Samuel Eyo
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