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Published August 26, 2006

Sentosa Cove sets new record for bungalow land
S'porean pays $1,039 psf for plot; other bids range from $656-$925 psf


(SINGAPORE) New benchmarks were set for bungalow land yesterday, when an auction at Sentosa Cove drew a top bid that works out to a whopping $1,039 per square foot (psf) of land area.

The other 11 bungalow plots that went under the hammer yesterday also fetched bullish winning bids, ranging from $656 to $925 psf.

In fact, most of the 99-year leasehold sites attracted bids exceeding $750 psf. The average price of the winning bids for the 12 plots is about $823 psf.

In contrast, the choicest freehold Good Class Bungalows (CGBs) - the most prestigious form of landed housing on mainland Singapore, with stringent planning conditions - now fetch between $500 and $700-plus psf, according to Colliers International executive director and auctioneer Grace Ng.

'This auction has broken all records for GCBs,' Ms Ng said after conducting the two-hour-long exercise jointly with Graeme Hennessy, award-winning auctioneer appointed by Christie's Great Estates' affiliate Ken Jacobs.

The Singaporean who paid the record unit land price of $1,039 psf had special reason for doing so - he had earlier clinched the adjacent plot at a much lower $826 psf and was eyeing the pair of adjoining plots to amalgamate them for a bigger bungalow development.

In absolute dollar terms, the plots fetched between $5.56 million and $8.15 million. Nine of 12 parcels front the sea, two face the waterway and the final plot faces Tanjong Golf Course.

'Sentosa Cove is the only place in Singapore with oceanfront bungalows. You're buying into a lifestyle. It will be a gated community, with a Marina,' Ms Ng said.

BT understands that each of the 12 parcels sold yesterday comes with membership of the One-degree 15 Marina Club, currently selling for $30,888. The day's auction was the first for bungalow plots at Sentosa Cove's Southern Residential Precinct or South Cove - and the top bid of $1,039 psf for a seafront plot was double the previous benchmark for such a plot at Sentosa Cove's Northern Precinct in a private-treaty deal last year.

The Southern Precinct is deemed more exclusive because it will have fewer homes than Northern Precinct and boasts views of the Southern Islands.

Ms Ng had expected the 12 plots yesterday to fetch $600-$650 psf. She attributes the stronger-than-expected bids to the fact that these may be the only seafront bungalow plots at South Cove available for sale to individuals who want to develop dream homes.

It is not certain whether Sentosa Cove Pte Ltd (SCPL) - the master developer of the up-scale housing precinct - will sell other bungalow plots in the area to end users or offer them en bloc to developers instead, Ms Ng said.

SCPL general manager Margaret Goh said: 'Today's highly anticipated auction not only sets the stage for subsequent release of our highly prized land parcels in South Cove but also hastens the stunning transformation of Sentosa Cove into a showcase of the very best in luxury real estate that Singapore has to offer.'

The auction at the Sentosa Cove's Sales and Information Centre (SIC), a glass building facing the sea, attracted about 400 people, including well-heeled Singaporeans and foreigners. At least two Rolls-Royces, a Bentley, Maseratis and Ferraris and the usual Mercs and BMWs lined the driveway outside the SIC. Well-known names in the business and finance world were among those who attended the auction.

Eight of the 12 plots were bought by Singaporeans, according to SCPL, which declined to name any of the buyers. Among them was furniture group Da Vinci Holdings chairman Tony Phua, who snapped up two adjoining seafront plots - both for $760 psf.

Four plots were bought by foreigners - from Myanmar, India, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Among the Singaporean buyers, three clinched pairs of adjoining plots. This will enable them to amalgamate their plots for bigger bungalow developments.