Category Archives: Luxury Property

Sale of Sentosa villa scrapped after China buyer arrested

The sale of a $23.8 million bungalow along Lakeshore View in Sentosa Cove was scrapped after the would-be-buyer was arrested for her involvement in a Ponzi scheme, reported The Business Times.

In October 2015, the owners of the luxury property granted an option to purchase to Zhang Min, President of China’s Yucheng Group, the parent company of Ezubao.

She exercised the option that same month and subsequently lodged a caveat in November to register her intention to purchase the bungalow.

However, the sellers weren’t able to contact her during the purchase deadline, and Zhang cancelled the caveat in February, shortly after it was reported that she was one of the executives of Yucheng Group and Ezubao who were arrested in China for swindling investors.

Ezubao was one of China’s largest online peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders that was recently closed by authorities after it amassed 50 billion yuan (S$10.8 billion) from around 900,000 investors. The company reportedly enticed victims to invest by promising them high interest rates of between nine percent and 14.6 percent, but most of the businesses and projects they were investing in turned out to be non-existent.

Experts estimate that Zhang would have forked out a five percent deposit of the property’s purchase price (about $1.19 million), which would have gone to the sellers after she failed to complete the deal.

If the transaction had gone through, the Sentosa villa would have fetched $23.8 million ($2,775 psf), based on its land area of 8,576 sq ft.

The property fronts the Serapong Golf Course and overlooks the sea. It sits on a site with a remaining lease term of 89 years (as of October 2015).

Since the deal didn’t materialise, the bungalow’s owners are once again looking for buyers. It is owned by three siblings from Hong Kong, one of whom is a Singapore citizen, while the other two are UK citizens.

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GCB sales rose to $209m in Q1

The good class bungalow (GCB) market reported an improvement in sales during the first quarter, with sellers lowering their asking prices to attract buyers, reported The Business Times.

“Owners who bought GCBs several years ago have found it profitable to sell at today’s prices rather than later, in view of the uncertainties in the economic outlook,” said Douglas Wong, Head of Luxury Homes at CBRE Realty Associates.

Based on CBRE data, there were nine transactions collectively valued at $209 million in Q1 2016. In the previous quarter, the number of deals was the same, but it only reached $161 million, while there were only four sales in Q1 2015 with a combined value of $95 million.

However, prices of these exclusive landed homes are estimated to have declined by nearly 15 percent from their peak in 2013, said Realstar Premier Group Managing Director William Wong, adding that prices could also see another marginal drop of two to five percent as a few GCBs were recently sold at below market valuations.

CBRE’s Wong also expects prices to fall slightly for the rest of 2016, given a build-up in pent-up demand and the strong holding power of most owners.

“When owners lower their price expectations, buyers who have identified a property they fancy will start biting, in the fear that someone else may beat them to it and they’ll miss the (chance) to buy their dream home. When buyers jump into the market in this fashion, owners will start to hold prices,” he explained.

Looking ahead, CBRE expects a total of 30 to 35 GCB transactions for the whole of 2016 versus last year’s 33 deals, with an overall value of $715 million.

On the other hand, Realstar predicts a 20 to 30 percent growth in volume, while total sales value may rise by just 20 percent due to the lower prices of some GCBs sold earlier this year.

Newsman Realty Managing Director KH Tan, who has noticed an increase in GCB viewings recently, forecasts that prices could increase by five percent for the entire year.

“We’re receiving more serious offers, unlike in Q4 last year, when many potential buyers were still throwing low-ball numbers at owners.”