The freehold property, on a land area of 33,425 sq ft, has significant redevelopment potential with a plot ratio 2.1.
SINGAPORE - A new benchmark unit land price - higher by a whisker - is believed to have been set for residential land here.
Based on caveats evidence, Hong Kong's Swire Properties is thought to have bought all 12 units in the four-storey Hampton Court for $155 million. This is understood to work out to $2,526 per square foot per plot ratio (psf ppr), which is inclusive of an estimated development charge of $22.3 million.
This unit land price would pip the standing record by just $1 psf ppr set in November 2007, when Westwood Apartments in Orchard Boulevard was bought by YTL for $2,525 psf ppr.
Like Hampton Court, which stands at the corner of Draycott Park and Draycott Drive, Westwood Apartments is freehold. YTL is expected to launch a 77-unit project on that site this year.
Swire Properties Pte Ltd director Charles Bremridge, in an email response to BT's queries on Tuesday, said: "We are very pleased to confirm the purchase for investment of eight units at Hampton Court for an agreed purchase price of $99.5 million."
He declined comment on anything other than the eight units.
However, market watchers believe that because the caveats for all 12 units were lodged on the same day in December by a unit of Swire Properties Pte Ltd, the group is probably buying the other four as well.
The price for the 12 units, going by caveats information, is $155 million.
Swire Properties Pte Ltd is a recently formed, wholly owned subsidiary of Swire Properties Ltd in Hong Kong. This is its first property acquisition, said Mr Bremridge.
Asked about Swire's future plans in Singapore's real estate sector, he replied: "We are committed to looking for suitable opportunities in the Singapore property market, on which we can appropriately use our property development skills. These include commercial as well as residential property."
Although immediate redevelopment of the Hampton Court site may not be on the cards, industry observers are still paying close attention to the transaction's unit land price - at least that based on caveats evidence - which indicates a new high in the Singapore market.
Swire was in the headlines last year for setting a benchmark price in Hong Kong. It sold a 6,683 sq ft apartment last October in Opus Hong Kong, designed by Frank Gehry, for HK$455 million (S$72 million) or HK$68,083 per square foot (psf). The price for that Peak District apartment bust the previous psf record of HK$63,999 set for a duplex at 39 Conduit Road, it was reported.
Hampton Court was launched for sale via tender by CBRE in late 2011. The tender closed on Dec 8, 2011, a day after the additional buyer's stamp duty was introduced, and the exercise was inconclusive.
The property consultancy group is thought to have brokered the recent sale through a private treaty deal, but it declined comment when contacted by BT.
A bungalow owned by Quek Bak Song, a former chairman and co-founder of Overseas Union Bank, used to sit on the site. He died in 1980 at age 78.
In the mid-1980s, his family developed the site into Hampton Court, with various family members continuing to own the units, which they are now selling.
Analysts reckon the existing development has probably tapped a 1.4 plot ratio (ratio of maximum gross floor area to land area).
Under the current Master Plan 2008, the 33,425 sq ft site is given a much higher plot ratio of 2.1 and can be built up to 24 storeys. Hence there is significant redevelopment potential for the site.
Going by some estimates, the site can accommodate a new development comprising 33 apartments with an average size of 2,000 sq ft.
The plum site is next to Tanglin Club and opposite The Claymore.