Luxury penthouse could be Singapore’s first S$100 million apartment
SINGAPORE — The asking price for a new three-storey Singapore penthouse, complete with a private pool on the 64th floor, has reached a dizzying S$100 million.
Due to be formally unveiled later this year, the Wallich Residence penthouse is in the tallest building in the Republic. The “bungalow in the sky” penthouse in the GuocoLand-developed Tanjong Pagar Centre, is likely to become Singapore’s most expensive apartment.
It will test the endurance of demand for luxury property in the city-state — the part of the market that has taken the biggest hit from measures aimed at cooling property prices in recent years.
Mr Colin Tan, director of research and consultancy at Suntec Real Estate Consultants noted that only en-bloc sales have come in around S$100 million, even taking into account prices during the property peak of 2012 and 2013.
“Some good-class bungalows could have fetched higher, but for their redevelopment potential. With a price like that, you are paying for the status symbol as well,” he said.
Prices of luxury homes in Singapore have fallen between 15 and 20 per cent from a 2013 peak, according to JLL consultancy.
But JLL is now starting to see the prospects of a turnaround — at least at the top end of the market — and is forecasting a 3 to 5 per cent increase in luxury home prices this year, citing demand from both locals and foreigners who feel the market is bottoming out.
JLL said the volume of transactions in the first four months of the year in Singapore’s core central region was 35 per cent higher than in the same period last year.
“A lot of people think Singapore is value for money because it has been downhill all the way — such a long winter,” said Mr Chandran V R, managing director at a real estate agency specialising in high-end homes.
“Now they feel it is the right time to come in,” he said. By contrast, he noted that Hong Kong apartment prices have been soaring, adding that “sensible investors will come here”, instead.
GuocoLand Singapore group managing director Cheng Hsing Yao said buying by foreigners has picked up since the start of the year at the developer’s high-end Leedon Residence project.
“In absolute numbers, it may not be that huge, but the ticket sizes are actually quite significant for some of them,” Mr Cheng said. Some foreigners were buying homes worth between S$8 million and S$12 million in the project, he said.
The recent tightening of property market controls elsewhere, such as in Hong Kong and Australia, has played a part in attracting foreign demand to Singapore’s luxury property this year, Mr Cheng said.
Still, Singapore’s broader residential market remains subdued, having fallen for 15 straight quarters to log its longest losing streak since official records began in 1975. While prices in Hong Kong tripled and Sydney’s doubled over the past decade, Singapore prices rose just 29 per cent.
“With tightening measures taken in other countries, that could lead investors to shift funds back here. So we just have to watch that very closely,” Mr Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said last month.
New home sales more than doubled in March from a year earlier, reaching their highest level in nearly four years. REUTERS WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ANGELA TENG