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Thread: Houseboats - the next 'property' craze?

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    Default Houseboats - the next 'property' craze?

    Published April 20, 2007

    WATER LIFE

    Houseboats - the next 'property' craze?

    By VINCENT WEE


    THE desire to be part of the coveted waterfront lifestyle on Sentosa Cove is the inspiration behind entrepreneur Masood Mohajer setting up a custom houseboat provider called Bespoke Marine. 'I don't want to pay through the nose for one of those waterfront units,' says Mr Mohajer.



    A view to die for: One of Bespoke Marine's houseboats. Prices are expected to be around $1m, including a full range of furniture and fixtures, and household amenities.


    So one solution for him was to build a boat to live on at the marina on Sentosa Cove which would enable him to be part of the lifestyle at a fraction of the cost. His made-to-measure 64-foot boat will have three decks of living quarters with 2,250 sq ft of living space. Mr Mohajer's beautiful new wooden home-to-be (which he will move into when it arrives next January) will cost him $850,000, inclusive of luxury interior furnishings and fittings.

    The idea to do this came from something which he knew well from his days working in Hong Kong. 'My passion has always been boats, and crafting them was my hobby when I lived in Hong Kong,' he says. Among the clients he built boats for then was the chairman of a top bank there.

    It naturally followed that in the process of building a boat for himself, he saw a market for these so-called liveaboards. 'By just talking to people and telling them what I'm doing with my houseboat plans, it seems like there are actually people thinking like there might be an alternative way of living and I thought if I could make a business out of it, why not do it?'

    Mr Mohajer cites the example of the mid-1990s housing situation in Hong Kong when rentals started to go up and many expats were putting their housing allowances into liveaboards. He sees the same situation emerging in Singapore and thus has confidence that more people may be convinced to move into houseboats.

    Bespoke Marine, which has a stand at Boat Asia, expects the main market to be Singapore and region-based expatriates initially but notes there has been more interest from younger Singaporeans seeking an alternative lifestyle. The boats are built at Hong Kong's only remaining builder of customised houseboats, Sun Hing Shing, which has been building them since the 1960s and has built over 400 boats so far.

    The boats are so highly customised that they can do just two wooden boats a year at their yard in Hong Kong while a sister yard in China can make about 10 of the easier-to-make fibreglass boats annually. Prices are expected to average around $1 million and will include a full range of furniture and fixtures as well as household amenities like a fridge and washing machine.

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    Default All aboard for high style on the high seas

    April 20, 2007

    All aboard for high style on the high seas

    Boat Asia shows how you can live it up while afloat

    By Brenda Goh



    The interior of one of the luxury charter yachts, which gives a whole new meaning to the term 'splashing out in style'.


    IF YOU'VE ever wondered what life aboard a luxury yacht is like, a show launched yesterday at Sentosa Cove will float your boat.

    Boat Asia - an annual showcase for yachts and power boats of all ranges, plus marine equipment - includes a boat touted as 'uberluxurious', the S$24-million Azimut 116 superyacht.

    The show was opened in spectacular style by Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, who entered the cove's marina in a speedboat.

    Together with the show, a private yachting membership programme kicked off that is said to be a first in Asia.

    Under the Azurea Lifestyle Yachting scheme, yachts are chartered to members who want the pleasure of cruising without the hassle. Its yachts include one touted as 'the ultimate floating party palace', the US$15-million (S$22.6 mil) Azurea 130.

    Boat Show visitors can get a taste of the scheme's opulence by visiting one of its motor yachts on display, the 53 ft Horizon 53. The Azurea 130 megayacht will be in Singapore in August.

    The people behind the scheme, charter company Kingfisher Marine, say it is the first time their yachting concept has been introduced in Asia. While there are already several charter companies, Kingfisher says its difference is its 'service philosophy of a five-star restaurant'.

    It provides a personal concierge, crew, an on-board chef, and organises watersports for extra fun on your cruise - plus, some of its packages even include spa treatments with their own therapists.

    Such pampering means splashing out quite a few bucks: Prices range from US$37,000 for a three-year membership for the Horizon 53, to US$179,000 for the same period of time, but with the Azurea 130, which Kingfisher's press release claims 'will have the babes flocking to you in droves'.

    Membership is limited to 120 spaces - and five were already taken before the launch.

    An Azurea spokesman told Life! that the scheme will 'revolutionise and stimulate boating in Singapore', as it provides easy access to luxury boating.

    A total of 46 boats are on display at Boat Asia, which is open from 11am to 7pm and which runs till Sunday.

    Tickets are $10 per adult and $5 per child (below 12 years old), inclusive of the $2 entry fee into Sentosa.

    There is also 'Book a Boat Viewing' system for potential buyers available on Boat Asia's website.

    Visitors can skip the long queues to secure an appointment in advance to go aboard their preferred marine craft.

    Highlights include watersports activities such as wakeboarding and canoeing, a children's corner as well as a Miss Boat Asia beauty pageant to be held on Sunday.

    There will be another marine-related show, Boat Tech Asia, on Monday and Tuesday.

    [email protected]

    # For more information, visit www.boat-asia.com

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