June 30, 2007

East Coast conservation bungalow sold for $13.95m

By Fiona Chan, Property Reporter

A WELL-HEELED Singapore buyer has outbid four others to lay claim to a large conservation bungalow on Mountbatten Road in the East Coast area.

The buyer, known only as Mr Koh, paid $13.95 million for the 20,222 sq ft plot at an auction held by Knight Frank yesterday. About 89 bids were received for the property, classified as a rare 'early bungalow' built in the 1860s, said Knight Frank's auctions director, Ms Mary Sai.

Bids opened at $9.5 million, with the winning offer coming in at almost 40 per cent over the indicative price of $10 million, she added.

While transactions for conservation bungalows are too infrequent to be easily comparable, the last similar deal was done in 2004, she said.

SC Global then paid $11.05 million for Chansville, a Mountbatten Road bungalow with grounds of 55,000 sq ft. It has since restored the house, built four new ones and sold all five.

The bungalow sold yesterday was put under the hammer by a High Court order. But more properties going on auction these days are sold by their owners, according to two separate reports by property firms.

Knight Frank research showed that the number of properties auctioned by owners climbed 38.9 per cent in the first half of this year, compared with the preceding six months. Those properties that were sold this year had a total value of $207.8 million, up from $115 million for those sold in the second half of last year.

Another major auctioneer, Colliers International, said 421 properties have been put up by their owners since January, up from about 350 properties in the preceding half-year.

It added that the auction market is being boosted by properties with the potential for a collective sale. On the days when such properties are put up for sale, 'the number of attendees jumps from the usual 100 to as many as 200', observed Ms Grace Ng, the deputy managing director and auctioneer at Colliers.

Bids are competitive for these properties as well, she added. A shop unit in Golden Wall Centre recently sold for $1.07 million, while a shop unit in The Adelphi also fetched $460,000.

For the auction market, $263.02 million worth of properties have been sold since January, up from $210.29 million in the six months before that, said Colliers.

Owners' sales made up more than half of this number, with 52 deals worth $177.42 million.