Bungalow at Leedon/Belmont road junction fetches S$57.5m

Price works out to S$1,309 psf; the 43,926 sq ft freehold site may be subdivided into 2 plots

Tue, Jan 30, 2018

Kalpana Rashiwala

The property is being sold by a company the biggest shareholder of which is Chong Swee Hah, dubbed the "Queen of Leedon Park".

AN old bungalow on a sprawling site at the junction of Leedon and Belmont roads has been transacted at S$57.5 million.

The price works out to S$1,309 per square foot on the freehold land area of 43,926 sq ft. On site is a two-storey property comprising two buildings and a large swimming pool. The two buildings are understood to have a total of seven bedrooms.

Located in the Leedon Park Good Class Bungalow (GCB) Area, the property is being sold by a company the biggest shareholder of which is Chong Swee Hah.

Dubbed the "Queen of Leedon Park", Madam Chong has been investing in GCBs in the Leedon Road and Leedon Park locale since the late 1970s.

The other shareholders in the company that sold the bungalow are Madam Chong's husband, Yeo Seng Lam, and another family member.

The company is understood to have purchased the bungalow in 1996 for S$17.7 million or about S$403 psf on land area.

The bungalow is currently leased at about S$15,500 per month.

The buyer, understood to be a foreigner turned Singapore citizen, exercised the option earlier this month but the transaction has a long completion period.

The site is large enough to be subdivided into two plots based on the minimum plot size of 1,400 square metres (or 15,069.46 sq ft) stipulated for any newly-created bungalows within Singapore's 39 GCB Areas.

Some market observers described the S$1,309 psf price as being in line with the market - as it is almost the same as the S$1,310 psf that Raffles Medical Group executive chairman Loo Choon Yong paid last year for a 31,211 sq ft freehold site in Leedon Park .

Realstar Premier Group founder William Wong agreed that the pricing for the latest deal is fair, assuming the buyer intends to redevelop the property for own occupation.

"However, if the buyer is looking at redevelopment for sale, the pricing may be considered optimistic."

Mr Wong highlights that the land area for the property is slightly below the minimum plot size requirement for subdivision into three GCB plots.

"So most developers would not want to take the risk of assuming the authorities will allow the site to be subdivded into three plots."

Assuming the site yields two plots of nearly 22,000 sq ft each, the breakeven cost per bungalow would work out to about S$35-36 million. "The developer would want to sell at over S$40 million given the relatively huge investment quantum involved.

"However, it is not easy for a developer to sell a bungalow at over S$40 million. Buyers with such big budgets would have their own preferences with regard to the architect, design, fittings, style, etc; they'd much prefer to develop their dream home themselves," said Mr Wong.

Another point to note is that if the site were to be be subdivided into two bungalow plots, the one facing Leedon Road will have better elevation while the other, fronting Belmont Road, slopes down slightly.

An architect specialising in GCBs quipped: "A potential buyer with a budget of over S$40 million is more likely to head to Nassim."

Bungalows in GCB Areas are the most prestigious form of landed housing in Singapore, with strict planning conditions to preserve their exclusivity and low-rise character.

Only Singapore citizens are allowed to buy landed residential properties within these areas under a policy change that took effect in the second half of 2012.