It's getting hotter at Sentosa Cove
By Kalpana Rashiwala
Homes in Sentosa Cove drew strong interest from high-net- worth investors in the first 10 months of this year - more properties costing $10 million and above were transacted during this period than in the preceding four years.
Property consultancy Savills Singapore said that its analysis of URA Realis data as at Dec 1, also shows that September and October this year were particularly active months.
In fact, the three biggest ever residential transactions in Sentosa Cove - at $20.18 million, $22 million and $30 million respectively - took place during this period. The largest involved a completed bungalow at Ocean Drive which changed hands in the secondary market in October. The $30 million sale price works out to $1,753 per square foot, based on a land area of 17,115 square feet.
BT understands that the bungalow was purchased by two Chinese citizens who are also Singapore permanent residents. The seller is a locally incorporated company.
The second and third largest deals involved subsales of two villas at Paradise Island for $22 million and $20.18 million in September.
Overall, Savills' analysis shows that the number of caveats lodged for homes in Sentosa Cove costing $10 million and above shot up to 24 in the first 10 months of 2009 - from just 17 between Q4 2004 and Q4 2008.
Over half or 14 of the 24 deals were sealed in September and October. The firm said that a more positive global economic outlook at the time, before the recent news of Dubai World's debt problems, gave confidence to investors to make big-ticket purchases such as super-luxury homes.
Other above-$10 million homes sold in the two months include four condo units at SC Global's Seven Palms Sentosa Cove; a villa at Sandy Island that fetched $16.57 million or $1,950 psf of land area in the resale market; and a bungalow at Treasure Island which sold for $14.25 million or $1,662 psf, also in the resale market.
Savills said that the steady recovery of the Singapore economy in the past few months and the Republic's renewed prominence on the global financial map have helped fuel optimism among investors to park monies here.
Singapore is also a 'relatively cheaper' destination to buy luxury properties compared with, say, Hong Kong. Luxury property prices here are still below their peak levels.
Savills director of investment sales & prestige homes Steven Ming offered another reason for the surge in transactions in October: according to anecdotal evidence, some high-networth mainland Chinese were in Singapore shopping for properties during their National Day Golden Week holiday.
Across all price bands, the total number of caveats lodged for private homes in Sentosa Cove shot up from 72 in the whole of last year to 133 in the first 10 months of 2009. Even so, the latest figure is just 26 per cent of the peak 516 transactions in 2006.
Savills said that the bulk of the 2009 transactions were in the subsale and resale markets. Primary market deals involving developer sales accounted for just 9 per cent of caveats, reflecting the limited release of new projects this year.
A breakdown of 2009 transactions shows that the number of caveats (both primary and secondary markets) lodged rose from nine in Q1, to 49 in Q2, and 51 in Q3. In October, there were 24 deals - the highest monthly figure for 2009 - bucking the trend of slowing property sales seen generally in Singapore.
Savills credits the approaching opening of the integrated resorts (IRs) with helping to generate a renewal of interest in the super-luxury residential market.
Prices also appreciated with the increase in transactions - the average unit price for landed homes rose from the recent low of $1,150 psf of land area in Q1 this year, to $1,533 psf in Q3 - up 33 per cent. It was up 12.2 per cent from September to $1,647 psf in October. But this figure was still about 38 per cent below the peak figure of $2,643 psf in Q1 2008.
Condominium prices in Sentosa Cove have also firmed. The average price climbed from a low of $1,200 psf in Q4 2008, to $1,804 psf in Q3 this year and $2,117 psf in September before easing to $2,030 psf in October.
The latest figure is 16.5 per cent shy of the $2,431 psf high seen in Q1 last year. Savills said that the October figure was shored up by four caveats lodged for units at Seven Palms Sentosa Cove with prices ranging from $3,091 to $3,353 psf.
Excluding these transactions, the average price for the month would have slipped to $1,658 psf.
DTZ executive director (consulting) Ong Choon Fah reckons that Sentosa Cove prices will continue to appreciate next year, although a lot will depend on the wider property market. 'Prices in Sentosa Cove could be more volatile than in the prime districts on the mainland because Sentosa Cove buyers are relatively more investment driven than motivated by owner occupation, compared to the prime districts. When markets go up or down markedly, investors may be more inclined to sell than owner-occupiers, whether it is to cut loss or realise a gain,' she added.
How come those from PRC so rich while world class singaporeans
cannot afford a place of their own at Sentosa?