CWT chief buying Good Class Bungalow for S$36m

Loi Pok Yen is paying Sam Goi's wife S$1,416 psf for the 25,429 sq ft freehold plot in District 10

Tue, Jun 26, 2018

CWT's group chief executive Loi Pok Yen is understood to have entered into a deal to buy a two-storey freehold bungalow along Coronation Road West for S$36 million.

The price works out to S$1,416 per square foot, based on the land area of 25,429 sq ft. Located within the Oei Tiong Ham Park Good Class Bungalow (GCB) Area in District 10, the property is being sold by the wife of Tee Yih Jia's executive chairman Sam Goi. She had paid S$28 million in 2013 for it.

On the site is a two-storey villa with five bedrooms and a swimming pool. It is in liveable condition, but agents believe that the property, which is about 30 years old, is ripe for redevelopment.

Mr Loi is understood to be living in a smaller bungalow nearby.

Realstar Premier Group founder William Wong, who is not brokering the sale of the Coronation Road West property, estimates that it could cost S$8 million to S$9 million to build a new bungalow on this site.

"On average, land cost in this location ranges from S$1,300 to S$1,400 psf, so this has surpassed market expectation. "That said, GCB land prices have been rising recently," he added.

Realstar is marketing the bungalow next door, which sits on about 24,530 sq ft of land, for around S$40 million or S$1,631psf. This property also has potential for redevelopment.

Based on List Sotheby's International Realty's analysis of URA Realis data, there have been 17 deals in GCB Areas totalling S$419 million since the start of the year. For the whole of last year, the figure was 42 transacttions amounting to S$889 million.

Mr Wong of Realstar said: " GCBs in prime locations like Nassim, Cluny, Dalvey and Tanglin are still very much sought after, and buyers are prepared to pay relatively high prices for them."

Word on the street is that a two-storey house in Nassim Road is in the early stages of being sold; its price of S$44 million reflects about S$2,600-plus psf, based on the land area of nearly 16,770 sq ft.

Earlier this month, The Business Times reported that seasoned bungalow investor George Lim sold a new freehold bungalow in Jervois Hill for S$41.2 million or S$2,729.52 psf on land area of 15,094 sq ft.

That was a record price in terms of psf on land for a transaction in a GCB Area. The buyer was the daughter of Alan Chong, the cash-flush founder of Wah Loon Engineering. Mr Chong recently sold most of his stake in the company to Vinci Energies Asia Pacific, a subsidiary of Euronext Paris-listed infrastructure-and-construction giant Vinci SA. The deal is said to have valued the company at about S$300 million, going by a back-of-the-envelope calculation by brokers.

Mr Loi of CWT is also highly liquid, following the voluntary conditional general offer and privatisation of the company by Chinese conglomerate HNA Group last year.

According to the offer document last September, he had undertaken to sell his 5.16 per cent stake in the company, amounting to 31 million shares, to HNA. Based on the offer consideration of S$2.33 per share, he would have received S$72.2 million.

In all, CWT shareholders representing 65.13 per cent of the company undertook to support the voluntary offer. These included shares by C&P Holdings and members of the founding Loi, Lim and Liao families behind CWT. C&P Holdings is the investment vehicle of these three families.

Mr Loi and deputy group chief executive-cum-chief financial officer Lynda Goh agreed to retain their offices for three more years at agreed remuneration packages with HNA.

In April, Mr Loi was part of a consortium that was awarded the Asia Gardens collective sale site in the Spottiswoode area for S$343 million.

Bungalows in the 39 gazetted GCB Areas are the most prestigious form of landed housing in Singapore, with strict planning conditions stipulated by the Urban Redevelopment Authority to preserve their exclusivity and low-rise character.

Only Singapore citizens are allowed to buy these properties, following a policy change that took effect in the second half of 2012.