Activity in the bungalow market on Sentosa Cove seems to have gathered pace lately. This year so far, there have been at least seven deals, which are now in various stages of completion.
Agents credit the buzz to owners setting prices that are more in sync with market expectations for these high-end homes on 99-year leases.
A bungalow along Cove Drive, fronting a lake in the revamped Tanjong golf course, has been sold for S$16.25 million or S$2,016 per square foot (psf) on land area of 8,060 sq ft.
Steve Tay of CBRE Realty Associates brokered the recently-concluded deal.
The sellers are Singapore-based jewellery designer Sara Taseer and her husband Salman Shoaib, and the buyer, a former mainland Chinese-turned Singapore citizen.
Designed by K2LD Architects, the 21/2-storey house has high-quality natural stone in its bathrooms, living and dining areas, and Burmese teakwood for its pool deck and the interiors of its second level and attic.
The five-bedroom villa also features state-of-the-art home-automation systems.
Mr Tay is also understood to be handling the sale of a waterway-facing bungalow along Cove Grove.
The deal, which is in its initial stages, is said to be for more than S$1,800 psf on land area of some 9,000 sq ft, which works out to over S$16 million.
Designed by Guz Wilkinson of Guz Architects, the house has two levels and has an attic and a basement. The basement houses an entertainment room with a view of the pool, flanked by two large aquariums.
The house incorporates terraces, so each level has its own garden; a garden even runs over the attic roof.
Last month, The Business Times reported that Japanese discount retail group Don Quijote's founder Takao Yasuda bought a house along Lakeshore View, fronting the Serapong golf course.
Its cost: S$21.25 million or S$1,886 psf. The deal was brokered by CBRE.
Last week, options were exercised for two bungalows in the waterfront residential district in deals brokered by Bruce Lye, managing partner of SRI.
One property in Cove Drive, facing Tanjong Golf Course, sold for S$10 million or S$1,348 psf on land area of 7,416 sq ft. About 11/2 years ago, the seller had asked for S$18 million for this house.
The other property along Ocean Drive, next to the sea and with views of Brani Terminal and the Central Business District (CBD), transacted at S$12.5 million or S$1,693 psf based on the land area of 7,383 sq ft - down from the S$16.5 million asking price a year and a half back, said Mr Lye.
Both bungalows have five bedrooms each.
The Cove Drive property was sold by a Hongkonger to a couple - Chinese citizens turned Singaporeans - based here. The Ocean Drive one is being sold by one Singaporean to another.
The respective sellers had developed their property on land bought from Sentosa Cove Pte Ltd, added Mr Lye.
Describing the psf prices for the two properties as "fair market pricing", he noted that prices may differ even between bungalows on the same street in Sentosa, due to differences in the condition, build quality and design of the house. Their facing or orientation also affects the prices they can fetch.
"For instance, you could have two houses on Ocean Drive, both fronting the sea but with very different views - one facing the Brani Terminal and the CBD skyline and the other, the open sea."
BT reported recently that a sale has been entered into for the Cove Grove house that is owned by the chairman of Ezra.
The price is believed to be between S$14.5 million and S$15 million for the villa, which sits on 11,515 sq ft of land.
A neighbouring property is also said to have changed hands lately for S$16.8 million or S$1,806 psf.
Based on CBRE Research's analysis, there were just four bungalow transactions in Sentosa Cove last year, based on caveats data.
However, there was also a bulk deal for the sale of the remaining 10 bungalows on Pearl Island, one of the five man-made islands in Sentosa Cove.
This deal was structured through the sale of the entire equity of Ximeng Land (S) Pte Ltd, which developed the 19-villa project.
The equity was sold by a Liu family from Beijing to SRIF Pte Ltd, fully owned by Leslie Lim and Vincent Ong, the co-founders of Evia Real Estate.
The deal is said to have valued the 10 villas at about S$125 million.
Mr Tay of CBRE Realty said there has always been interest in Sentosa Cove's bungalows because of their exclusivity and limited supply.
"Foreigners who aspire to buy a bungalow in Singapore may do so only in Sentosa Cove."
The volume of transactions had thinned from the high of 54 deals in 2010 to three in 2014.
The property cooling measures, particularly the 15 per cent additional buyer's stamp duty on foreign buyers, combined with the 3 per cent stamp duty on all buyers, resulted in a wide gap between buyers and sellers' expectations.
Those hunting for bungalows in Sentosa Cove comprise newly-minted citizens hailing from India and China, and other Asians who are moving their families to Singapore.
Mr Tay said: "There are many local buyers who see an opportunity in the Cove due to the current lower pricing.
These are typically seasoned property investors who like the environment in Sentosa and plan to buy for their own occupation, while also holding the property as an investment."
This article was first published on Apr 12, 2017.
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