GCB deals down in Q3

NINE bungalows in Good Class Bungalow (GCB) areas were transacted at a total of nearly S$177 million in the third quarter, down from 11 deals worth S$282 million in the second.

The Q3 showing was, however, ahead of the seven deals that closed for a total S$167 million in the third quarter of last year.

In the first nine months of this year, the GCB sale tally was 24 deals totalling S$554 million, slightly ahead of the 22 transactions worth S$511 million in the corresponding year-ago period.

Among the deals entered into in Q3 2015 was that for a freehold bungalow in Tanglin Hill that went for S$25 million; the price works out to S$1,539 per square foot (psf) on 16,243 sq ft of land area.

Mapletree Investments chief executive officer Hiew Yoon Khong, the winner of the Outstanding CEO of the Year award at this year’s Singapore Business Awards, is buying the property from a low-profile property development company, a caveats search showed.

The property was previously transacted for S$10 million in 2006.

Singapore Christie’s International Real Estate managing director Samuel Eyo described the recent S$1,539 psf price for the property as “very reasonable” for the location, taking into account that the new owner is likely to rebuild the house.

“Assuming it will cost about S$500 psf on gross floor area of about 10,000 sq ft to build a new home, the break-even cost will amount to close to S$2,000 psf on land area,” said Mr Eyo.

Tanglin Hill is a popular GCB location because of its proximity to Orchard Road, he noted.

Data from URA Realis shows that there has been a general pick up in landed property deals.

DTZ’s analysis of URA Realis data shows that 326 landed homes changed hands in Q3 2015, up from 304 in Q2, and 246 transactions in Q3 2014.

In the first nine months of this year, the value of landed residential properties sold reached S$3.54 billion, up from S$3.07 billion in the same period last year. However, the latest figure is still shy of the S$5 billion transacted in the first nine months of 2013.

Lee Nai Jia, regional head for South-east Asia at DTZ, said:

“Demand for landed homes has increased as buyers find the current prices attractive enough. Most of the buyers are purchasing for owner occupation for their children or for multi-generational family living. Additionally, the limited stock for landed properties makes them an appealing asset to investors for capital appreciation.”

Besides owner occupiers and investors, developers have also been on the prowl for old houses to redevelop.

Last month, Roxy-Pacific inked a deal to buy an old bungalow sitting on 19,474 sq ft freehold site along Sea Avenue near Marine Parade. Roxy’s executive chairman Teo Hong Lim said the group plans to redevelop the site into a five-storey apartment project with about 25 units; the site is zoned for residential use with a 1.4 plot ratio (ratio of maximum gross floor area to land area) under the 2014 Master Plan.

The purchase price works out to S$789 per square foot per plot ratio.

“It is hard to find landed housing sites for redevelopment these days, partly because the government has increased the minimum plot size for apartment development to 1,000 sq metres (10,764 sq ft). Moreover, most of the big bungalows which can be redeveloped into apartments under the Master Plan have already been redeveloped.”

Expectations of owners are are also still ahead of the market, Mr Teo added.

For instance, in the Telok Kurau area, owners would be looking at about S$1,000 psf on land area, or S$700-plus psf ppr, which would translate to a breakeven of more than S$1,000 psf, he said.

Earlier this month, boutique property group Pinnacle Assets picked up an old freehold bungalow at 3, East Coast Avenue for S$46.38 million, or S$1,025 psf on the 45,249 sq ft land area.

The site is zoned for three-storey mixed landed housing and large enough for potential redevelopment into 14 to 18 conventional landed housing units, comprising a mix of terrace and semi-detached houses.

Ian Loh, executive director of investment and capital markets at Knight Frank who brokered the transaction said: “While such big plots for landed housing development are relatively rare, one can still find pockets of smaller plots with an old house on it that can be redeveloped into two to three new homes.”


Windsor Park GCB sold for $21.8m

In a sign of some renewed interest in Good Class Bungalows (GCBs), one in Windsor Park estate has been sold for $21.8 million, the first GCB transaction in the estate since early 2013.

The freehold property at 122 Windsor Park Road, off Upper Thomson Road, has a land size of 20,383 sq ft, which works out to a price of about $1,070 per sq ft (psf).

This is just below the two transactions in January 2013, when 2 Windsor Park Hill was sold for $25.3 million or $1,125 psf; while 55 Windsor Park Road, a new house, went for $27 million, or $1,400 psf.

According to the property’s title deed, the latest buyer is from the Tng family, who runs a Singapore company in local development and construction. He is believed to be buying the place for his own use.

The house was completed in 2006 and has two storeys and a basement for parking. A roof terrace, for functions, is said to offer great estate views, as it overlooks most neighbouring plots.

The modern Balinese-style house has a swimming pool and several pond or smaller pool features over the entire ground level.

“There is interest in GCBs as potential buyers feel there has been some price decline. They are waiting on the sidelines and, if the sellers were to be a bit more flexible or reasonable in their pricing, a few more GCBs may be transacted in the next quarter,” said Mr Michael Lam, director of the GCB division at Global Estate Management, who brokered the latest deal.

GCB prices fell about 5 per cent last year but are holding up better than those of luxury condos, said Mr Ong Kah Seng, R’ST Research director. Deals have been slightly fewer. There were 12 GCBs sold for a total of $394.11 million in the first three quarters, down a tad from 16 GCBs for a total of $416.2 million in the same period last year, he noted.

However, buyers are still keen on homes in GCB areas, with about 20 such homes sold for about $500.5 million in the first three quarters of this year. Buyers interested in the Windsor Park area can also consider 53 Windsor Park Road, a 21,091 sq ft freehold GCB that is up for tender sale by Colliers at an indicative price of $27 million or $1,280 psf.

This modern Balinese-style house has two storeys and a basement for parking. It is said to have a roof terrace which offers great estate views, as it overlooks most neighbouring homes.