$36 million Sentosa home sale still valid

Source: The Straits Times

Rumours that a buyer walked away from his $500,000 deposit for a posh bungalow after he got cold feet over the $36 million price tag appear unfounded.

The title deed shows that Mr Shen Bin – a Chinese national and a Singapore permanent resident – remains the owner of the 14,983 sq ft plot on Paradise Island in the northern part of Sentosa Cove. There was a great deal of media coverage when Mr Shen was reported to have offered $2,403 per sq ft (psf) for the home last May. This far outstripped market prices and set a benchmark price for the area.

The average psf price for the 10 detached homes sold in Sentosa Cove last April and May was $1,976. Rumours arose in December that Mr Shen had baulked at the deal after learning that his offer far exceeded prevailing market rates. He was said to have forfeited more than $500,000 – including the deposit, commission, lawyers’ fees and administrative charges – when he backed out of the deal.

However, a property title information search by The Straits Times found that Mr Shen remains the owner of the 99-year leasehold bungalow. He is believed to be the son of billionaire entrepreneur Shen Wenrong, chairman of China-based steel manufacturer Shagang Group. China’s Hurun Wealth Report ranked the elder Mr Shen as the 13th richest individual in China last year.

The 2-1/2 storey bungalow faces a waterway, with a berth for a yacht. It also has a private pool and a total built-up area of about 17,000 sq ft. The house was first sold by developer Ho Bee in April 2007 for $18.1 million, and resold for $20.18 million in September 2009. It received a temporary occupation permit in May 2009.

Interest in landed homes in Sentosa remains strong, with property agents saying there has been a healthy number of viewing requests with genuine offers being tabled. Prices have also continued to inch upwards, with the sale of a bungalow in Ocean Drive in October fetching a record $2,988 psf – or $28.2 million – on its land area of 9,436 sq ft.

Sentosa Cove is a gated community comprising more than 2,000 homes, of which 400 are landed. The rest are condominium units. The landed houses in Sentosa Cove appeal to a wider market, as foreigners who do not have permanent resident status are allowed to buy them.

Paradise Island is in the northern part of the cove.

$36 million Sentosa Cove deal called off

The deal to sell the S$36 million Sentosa Cove home located on Paradise Island has been called off – at a cost of half a million dollars.

According to a report in Lianhe Zaobao, the deal fell through after the buyer realised he paid over the market rate after reading media reports surrounding the sale in May this year.

The house has a land area of 14,983 sq ft and a built-up area of about 17,000 sq ft. The S$36 million sale price translates to S$2,403 psf. It was first sold in April 2007 by the developer, Ho Bee, for S$18.1 million (S$1,208 psf).

The buyer, who is believed to be a 31-year-old Chinese permanent resident Shen Bin, is the son of Shen Wen Rong, the president of Chinese firm Sha Steel. The elder Mr Shen is listed as the 13th richest person in China this year in China’s Hurun Wealth Report.

Shen Bin is currently the chief financial officer of the company, and is slated to take over the company from his father.

According to the daily, he mistakenly believed that $36 million was the market price for the property until media reports said otherwise. He then chose to withdraw from the deal.

He lost about S$500,000 in deposit, agent fees, legal fees, and procedural fees.

Reporters were unable to contact him yesterday as he was at a meeting, then later could not be reached on his hand phone.

China buyers are tops

Source: Straits Times

They form biggest group of foreign purchasers there this year; many snap up landed homes.

BUYERS from China now comprise the largest group of foreign buyers in the exclusive residential enclave of Sentosa Cove.

In the first half of this year, Chinese buyers accounted for nearly a third of all foreign buyers – well up from 18 per cent for all of last year and just 7 per cent in 2008, according to a new DTZ report yesterday.

Malaysians were the largest group at the gated community last year, and Indonesians held the title back in 2008, the property consultancy said.

The buying surge from China is even more dramatic for landed homes there. When purchases of landed homes in the Cove were tallied up, China buyers accounted for a hefty 60 per cent (12 deals) of all foreign buyers there in the first half of the year, up from 38 per cent (nine deals) for all of last year.

Chinese buyers have shown a clear preference for the landed homes, which tend to be more expensive than apartments there.

DTZ said this is because the place offers them the opportunity to own landscaped grounds with waterfront facing in a resort-style living environment, and at prices lower than similar properties in mainland China and Hong Kong.

Chinese buyers’ share of total foreign purchases across Singapore rose to 17 per cent in the first half of the year, from 7 per cent in 2006. Foreigners include Singapore permanent residents (PRs).

But overall, they are still No. 3 among foreign buyers here, after Indonesians in second place and Malaysians at the top.

Malaysians and Indonesians accounted for around 22 per cent and 18 per cent respectively of total deals by non-Singaporeans in the first half of this year.

Still, foreign buyers, not including PRs, are certainly not rushing into the market here. Their share of total deals in the second quarter was stable at 11 per cent. They remained cautious, owing to slow economic growth in the United States and Europe, said DTZ.

Singaporeans accounted for a higher proportion of private home purchases in the second quarter, at 74 per cent of total deals, up from 71 per cent in the first quarter, it said. Meanwhile, Singapore PRs accounted for 13 per cent of total deals in the second quarter, down from 15 per cent in the first, while purchases by companies were unchanged at 2 per cent.

China buyers have made headlines with some notable purchases recently, such as the $36 million purchase of a Sentosa Cove bungalow in June this year. DTZ said this is largely due to their increasing wealth and mobility on the global scene. They are also attracted to the transparent and well-regulated Singapore market.

Also, many in China come to Singapore to work, or they want their children to study here, because of the relative ease of adjusting to the culture and the bilingual environment in Singapore. This may lead them to buy homes, to live in or for investment, said DTZ head of South-east Asia research Chua Chor Hoon.

Rising real estate prices and property purchase curbs in China have also motivated its citizens to look to overseas markets for diversification and investment opportunities, Ms Chua said.

Savills Singapore prestige homes and investment director Steven Ming said Singapore is the main Asian market Chinese buyers are keen on, though they are also looking at markets elsewhere, such as Britain.

‘The Chinese buyers are still active. Some of them are now in the market looking for bulk purchases of condominium units,’ Mr Ming said.

The DTZ report said that when it comes to non-landed homes, Chinese buyers generally prefer districts 15, 16 and 23.

Singapore PRs from China generally like homes in districts 22 and 23 such as Jurong and Choa Chu Kang as they are near a number of their workplaces.

On the other hand, well-to-do Chinese buyers are attracted to prime districts 9, 10 and 11 as well as waterfront areas in Sentosa Cove and district 15 in the east.

Sentosa Cove bungalow sold at bargain price

Source: Straits Times

$13.6 million sale price is well below estimated valuation of $17 million

A LUXURY bungalow in Sentosa Cove with a grim past has been sold for $13.6 million – a bargain price, well below its valuation.

A caveat has just been lodged for the sale of the three-storey bungalow in Ocean Drive where Chinese national Li Hong Yan’s naked body was found floating in a pool in March.

The 8,051 sq ft property was sold for $1,690 per sq ft (psf), 17 per cent lower than the average of $2,039 psf for the four other homes sold in Ocean Drive since the beginning of this year, according to caveats lodged with the Urban Redevelopment Authority. The last transaction was for a 6,706 sq ft home, which was sold at $2,162 psf or $14.5 million in May.

In the latest sale, the buyers are recorded as Poh Cheng Seng and Poh Seng Kui in the certificate of title obtained from records kept by the Singapore Land Authority.

Those are the names of the brothers behind major Singapore steel piping equipment supplier Nam Leong. However, when contacted, Mr Poh Cheng Seng said that he was not the purchaser.

HSR, the property agency that brokered the sale, declined comment when asked for further details of the buyers.

The Straits Times understands that the initial asking price in June was $15.8 million – which was below the estimated valuation of $17 million.

The home, said to be slightly over a year old, was believed to have been priced below valuation for a quick sale.

The vendor, Mr Adrian Chua Boon Chye, 39, chief executive and founder of real estate investment management firm Roundhill Capital, is now based in Tokyo.

Mr Colin Tan, research and consultancy director of Chesterton Suntec International, said that the depressed selling price was to be expected since the property had a ‘history’.

He said, however, that the price was ‘a real bargain’ since it could be sold to foreigners or other local buyers who might not know of the property’s past in a few years’ time.

‘If you hold it for a while and give it enough time, you’ll be able to get handsome returns,’ he said.

Mr Tan added that after the record resale market price for a Sentosa Cove property in Paradise Island was set in April at $36 million – or $2,403 psf – a new price benchmark had been set and property prices in Sentosa were likely to trend upwards over the next six months.

Mystery still surrounds Ms Li’s death. It is believed she had spent the night at the house with Mr Chua after they met at a party.

No comparison to Sentosa homes

By Colin Tan, head of Research and Consultancy at real estate consultancy Chesterton Suntec International.

Exclusivity is a major attraction

I was asked recently for my comments on pricey homes in Singapore and my thoughts on Sentosa homes compared to those on the mainland. When I tried to explain why they are strictly not comparable, I ran into difficulties.

I then realised many of us have read about Sentosa Cove. But how many of us have been there and seen these homes for ourselves? Not many, I suspect.

Therein lies the first distinction between homes on the mainland and those on Sentosa – exclusivity and the status that comes with it.

You cannot be at Sentosa Cove if you have no business being there. I can drive by Bukit Timah and other good-class bungalow areas to show foreign visitors where the rich and famous in Singapore live. However, I cannot simply bring them around Sentosa Cove if I do not have a valid reason. I cannot take a picture of one of the condo projects on Sentosa if I cannot get past the security post.

The closest description I have for Sentosa Cove is that it is Singapore’s first gated housing community. It is of a very high quality and not the run-of-the-mill ones you get in other countries. The individual houses and condo projects do not have boundary walls or fences.

In terms of housing designs, a photograph of one of the lakeside properties with its own individual boating berths may lead you to think that the property is in one of the top European cities. My foreign visitors gaped in amazement saying they could never imagine this in Singapore if they have not seen it with their own eyes.

I see many of these gated projects – but of a far lower quality – on my overseas assignments in neighbouring countries. In these countries, security is a big issue. But in Singapore, crime is not a big problem even in our poorest public housing estates.

On Sentosa Cove, the security posts guard privacy more than against crime.

Another important distinction I would tag on to Sentosa homes is that they are not meant to be your typical home. Holiday homes would be a more apt description. After all, Sentosa is a holiday destination.

You do not have the usual social amenities nearby such as schools, libraries, post offices, cineplexes, public transport services, banks, shops and eating places. It is much less of a hassle to stay on the mainland even if it is in the heart of the business district.

Sentosa homes are more suited for people with plenty of time to spare. While many may not be holiday homes now, they will be in time to come.

Nevertheless, whatever opinion one may have about residential properties on Sentosa, most will agree that it has turned out to be a hugely successful and profitable commercial venture.

And already there are some thoughts of replicating this model in other parts of Singapore. The Southern Islands have been mentioned as a possible venue.

But I have my reservations. I see Sentosa Cove as an enclave for the haves. In my opinion, enclaves, whether they be slums or populated mainly by a single ethnic group or just for the wealthy, should not be encouraged. They separate rather than integrate society.

Nevertheless, I can understand the strategic reasons for such a place to attract the Bill Gates of this world and other top foreign talent who will bring in much needed investments and create jobs for citizens.

However, there should be an audit before we replicate this model. Making huge profits and using them to fund other attractions is not a good enough reason. Or else, we will be carving out choice pieces of land all over Singapore and selling them to foreigners.

We need to establish whether Sentosa Cove has indeed been successful in attracting the desired top foreign talent to live and invest in Singapore. From press reports and feedback from agents, some of the buyers seemed less than desirable.

Is this the exception or the norm?

Sentosa Cove bungalow sells for $36m at $2,403 psf

Source: Business Times

Top-end home sells defines gravity in a cautious property market

Amid the caution that has crept into the market for mainstream condos since last month, a record price has been set for a top-end bungalow on Sentosa Cove. The property at Paradise Island changed hands in the resale market for $36 million or $2,403 per square foot on land area last month. In terms of both, the absolute amount and unit land price, this is believed to be the priciest bungalow deal in the upscale waterfront housing district, based on caveat records captured by the URA Realis system.

The $2,403 psf unit land price is also probably the highest for a bungalow transaction anywhere in Singapore, property agents say. The deal is understood to have been brokered by DTZ. The two-and-a-half storey bungalow fronting the waterway has a private pool and a berth for a yacht. Homes on Sentosa Cove are sold on 99-year leasehold tenure sites.

30 Paradise Island, Sentosa Cove

The new owner of the Paradise Island bungalow is believed to be a Chinese national who is a Singapore permanent resident. The sellers, who are understood to be Singaporeans, have reaped a handsome profit. According to caveats data, the house was last transacted in September last year at $20.18 million or $1,347 psf. The property was first sold in April 2007 by Ho Bee, the developer of Paradise Island, for $18.1 million or $1,208 psf. The bungalow has a land area of 14,983 sq ft and a built up area of about 17,000 sq ft.

A nearby property on Paradise Island also changed hands in March at $2,390 psf in the resale market but as its land area was smaller at about 8,105 sq ft, the lumpsum price was lower at $19.38 million. Ho Bee’s Pardise Island project received Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) in May last year.

A new record bungalow price could be set for the location if Satinder Garcha’s Elevation Developments gets the $3,000 psf it is looking at for its three-storey bungalow at 81 Ocean Drive, which has been completed. With a land area of 9,436 sq ft, the total price would work out to $28.3 million sq ft. The unit’s built-up area is 11,500 sq ft. According to KH Tan, managing director of Newsman Realty, which is marketing the property, an offer for $2,700 psf from an American has been received, but Elevation is waiting for its target price.

The unit comes with a glass lift, two master suites, three smaller en-suite bedrooms, an infinity pool, a home theatre room and a spacious lawn. Elevation is offering the property furnished and fitted.

Foreign buyers, including mainland Chinese, have been active buying landed homes in Sentosa Cove, say property agents.

In March, four members of a Liu family from Liaoning are said to have acquired a bungalow each at Kasara – The Lake collection at Sentosa Cove from YTL Corporation. Their purchase prices range from about $15.9 million to nearly $26 million per bungalow or $1,731-1,780 psf on land area. The villas are slated to receive TOP in June 2012.

DTZ executive director (consulting) Ong Choon Fah is not expecting bungalow prices on Sentosa Cove to keep climbing at the same pace, given the more cautious global economic climate which could dent foreign interest. ‘However, there is limited supply of just 400 landed homes on Sentosa Cove. And long-term investors may draw the conclusion that putting their money in the Singapore property market is a good investment when you consider the alternatives,’ she added. Some market watchers say that the opening of Resorts World Sentosa has also boosted the appeal of owning a home on Sentosa Cove to some foreigners.

Sentosa Cove is the the only place where foreigners who are not Singapore permanent residents are allowed to buy landed homes, although this is still subject to approval from the Land Dealings (Approval) Unit. Also, foreigners buying a landed home on Sentosa Cove do not have to hold the property for at least three years before they can resell it, unlike the case when they buy a landed property on the mainland.

Whether on the mainland or on Sentosa Cove, foreigners may at any one time own just one landed home in Singapore and that too for owner occupation only.

Marina Collection: Lippo’s Sentosa condo at about $2,750-2,900 psf

Business Times – 8 Dec 2007

LIPPO Group is said to have priced its Marina Collection condo, a 99-year leasehold project on Sentosa Cove, at about $2,750-2,900 psf on average.

Over the past few days, the group, controlled by Indonesia’s Riady family, is said to have sold about half of the 60 or so units it has released so far in the 124-unit, four-storey development next to the One Degree 15 Marina Club. The development comprises three blocks.

Lippo is developing the condo jointly with the Marina Club, OCBC and Austria’s Raiffeisen Zentralbank (RZB).

Buyers will be given a free membership at One Degree 15 Marina Club for each unit of Marina Collection they purchase. The memberships are currently said to be going for above $40,000 each.

Lippo’s price appears to be slightly higher than the $2,600 psf net average achieved for the previous condo launch at Sentosa Cove – Ho Bee’s Turquoise.

The project was released in September and to date, Ho Bee is said to have sold 45 out of the 60 units it has released so far out of 91 units in the six-storey condo.

Marina Collection comprises three-, four-, and five-bedroom apartments as well as penthouses. Three-bedder units cost about $5.4 million while penthouses are priced at $10 million and above.

The 30 or so units Lippo has sold so far include five penthouses.

There are about 30 penthouses altogether.

The Lippo-led consortium is developing Marina Collection on a plot that it bagged at a tender that closed in September last year for $234.7 million or $818 psf per plot ratio (ppr).

Lippo’s pricing for its Marina Collection will no doubt be used by property developers to peg their bids at next week’s tender for the Pinnacle Collection – the last condo plot at Sentosa Cove.

The plot, which has a choice location at the entrance to the precinct’s marina basin, has a reserve price of $963.8 million or $1,600 psf ppr.

China’s Ximeng Land wins coveted Sentosa Cove plot

06 December 07 The Business Times
by Lynette Khoo

PEARL Island, the final bungalow plot at Sentosa Cove, was yesterday sold to the Singapore unit of China property conglomerate Ximeng Asset Holdings, which won the bidding with an offer of $215.65 million, which works out to $1,687.50 per square footper plot ratio (psf ppr).

The price offered by Ximeng Land (S) Pte Ltd is higher than the previous record for Sentosa Cove, the $1,099 psf ppr paid in September for The Green Collection, Sentosa Cove’s only strata landed housingdevelopment.

‘The new record price achieved in this sale signals the strong demand for Sentosa Cove’s exclusive luxury real estate,’ Sentosa Cove general manager Kemmy Tan said.

The expression of interest, which closed on Oct 25, was a hotcontest that drew seven bids from local and international developers.

It attracted interest from developers ranging from local conglomerates and foreign-listed companies to boutique developers known for high-end quality residences, Ms Tansaid.

The Ximeng Group has a strong track record of developing quality luxury homes in China. Its unit, Beijing Ximeng Real Estate Co, is a renowned developer of luxury building projects in Beijing, Yantai and Jinan.

‘We believe that oursuccess in Singapore will be our springboard to further success in the region and beyond,’ said Ximeng Land general manager Wu Xu Zhao.

Ximeng has received inquiries from several interested parties that are keen to own part of the development, headded.

The 99-year leasehold plot, which is located close to Tanjong Beach and the Tanjong Golf Course, occupies 14,840.4 square metres of land with a maximum permissible gross floor area of 11,872.3 sq m and a maximum permissible plot ratio of0.8.

It can hold 19 luxury waterfront villas, each with a private berth.

Ximeng Land is considering a two-into-one configuration that will double the space for each bungalow to offer owners more privacy and exclusivity, Mr Wu said. Thiswill mean that Pearl Island may only have nine large units instead of 19.

‘Our top priority now is the appointment of an internationally renowned architect, landscape artist and interior designer,’ Mr Wu added.

Ximeng Land said that theproperties on Pearl Island are expected to fetch record prices when they are launched.

‘Sentosa has great potential with the integrated resort, as well as the unique offering of an oceanfront residential marina community, and Pearl Island is thelast land parcel of Sentosa Cove’s islands made available for landed development,’ a spokesman for Ximeng Land said.

This project marks Ximeng group’s first investment outside China; it looks like it is not going to be its last.

‘The company is confident that there is still room for growth in the Singapore property market and is exploring opportunities,’ the spokesman said.

Sandy Island

Luxury property, hospitality and retail group YTL unveiled its plans to develop villas at Sentosa Cove, Singapore. Designed by architect Claudio Silvestrin and landscape designer Jamie Durie, the 18 Sandy Island four-storey villas are targeted at ultra-high net worth individuals, according to YTL’s official statement.

Sandy Island

Each one of the villas will have its own purpose-built character and the villas are the only residences at Sentosa Cove with car-lift access to a two-car basement garage.

Each villa also comes with a private berth for boats measuring up to 12 meters. The villas vary from 7,500 to 9,200 sq ft of built-up area, on land which ranges from 7,000 to 10,000 sq ft. The villas start at S$13.9 million (US$9.22 million).

Sandy island is a limited collection of only 18 exclusive ultra luxurious waterfront villas nestled and sheltered beneath a lush canopy of rainforest trees within a tropical island setting, A haven to call home. These masterpieces are created with the most discerning individuals in mind. All specially designed Signature Villas ( no two villas are identical ) come with double volume Living area, huge master bedroom, own private pool, boat berth by the waterway, waterfront designer’s garden, designer’s fittings / equipment, lifts to all levels and basement carparks.

Every villa is unique and one of a kind, a signature work of art by an acknowledged master of contemporary architecture who believe that ‘home’ is a meditative space where one can restore a sense of balance and calm, away from the cares of the world. The perfect setting for pampering your soul.