They include properties in Windsor Park Road, Gentle Road and two bungalows in Oei Tiong Ham Park

THERE have been several bungalow transactions in Good Class Bungalow (GCB) Areas recently – though viewings by the respective buyers had been done before the onset of the “circuit breaker” partial lockdown on April 7.

These include a bungalow in Windsor Park Road that is being sold for S$21.25 million. The price works out to S$1,063 per square foot on the land area of nearly 20,000 sq ft. On site is a two-storey bungalow that is at least 20 years old but the structure of the house is still good, said Realstar Premier founder William Wong, whose company brokered the transaction.

Perched on elevated grounds, the villa has five bedrooms. There is no swimming pool but there is space to accommodate a pool, said Mr Wong.

“Though Windsor Park is in District 20, which is not a prime district, the locale is popular among some buyers who are drawn to its hilltop location, nestled in the greenery of Windsor Nature Park,” said Mr Wong.

The location is also close to Lower Peirce and MacRitchie reservoirs.

Realstar also acted for the buyer in another transaction, involving a bungalow in Oei Tiong Ham Park in District 10 on land of slightly more than 13,000 sq ft, including a long driveway.

The two-storey house on site is more than 30 years old and is ripe for redevelopment. For both the above properties, the options were granted to the respective buyers earlier this month and have yet to be exercised.

Caveat information on the two deals have yet to surface in the URA Realis database.

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.

A planning norm of 1,400 square metres – or about 15,070 sq ft – has been adopted as the minimum plot size for any newly-created bungalows within GCB Areas.

However, when these areas were gazetted in 1980, they included some smaller existing sites; these are still bound by the other planning rules for GCB Areas if they were to be redeveloped. For instance, such plots cannot be further subdivided and are allowed to be built up to only two storeys high, although an attic and basements are allowed.

Based on URA Realis data, there were a few transactions last month in GCB Areas with land areas smaller than 15,070 sq ft and for which caveats have been lodged.

These include a bungalow in Oei Tiong Ham Park which transacted for S$16.2 million, or S$1,610 psf on 10,064 sq ft land area. The option is understood to have been granted last year. Standing on the elevated grounds is a two-storey villa that has been renovated.

Along Gentle Road in the Bukit Tunggal GCB Area, a bungalow has been sold for S$9 million or S$1,379 psf on land area of 6,528 sq ft. Realstar brokered this transaction; it also acted for the buyer for the S$16.2 million Oei Tiong Ham Park deal. All the above four properties had been viewed by their respective buyers before the circuit breaker started.

“Generally, a bungalow purchase in a GCB Area is a big-ticket item and not easy to be done solely relying on virtual tours, unlike condo units or apartments in the lower price range,” said Mr Wong.

List Sotheby’s International Realty (List SIR) research director Han Huan Mei said that the sales momentum in the GCB market in the first five months of this year is similar to that in the same period of last year.

According to her analysis of URA Realis data downloaded on June 17 – which excludes the S$21.25 million Windsor Park Road deal and the transaction in Oei Tiong Ham Park for the bungalow with a land area of slightly over 13,000 sq ft – there have been 12 transactions in GCB Areas totalling S$247.3 million in the first five months of this year.

This compares with 12 deals totalling S$214.5 million in the same period last year.

Last month’s transactions includes a bungalow in Woollerton Park that changed hands for S$19.5 million or S$1,362 psf on land area of 14,316 sq ft. The buyer is understood to be an ophthalmologist.

From Friday, property agents will be able to conduct physical viewings again, subject to measures and precautions that need to be followed.

Newsman Realty managing director KH Tan said he has seen “a lot of requests for viewings” in the coming days and is sanguine that the GCB market will be more active from July onwards.

“Earlier on in April and May, bargain hunters were seeking fire-sale prices. But with the low interest rate environment and recent stock market recovery which have led to an improvement in sentiment, potential buyers have become more realistic; if they can get 5-10 per cent discount compared with asking prices in January, they are prepared to commit,” said Mr Tan.

In similar vein, List SIR executive director Lewis Cha said: “With the current Covid-19 situation, there might be some bungalow owners who are willing to lower their price expectations and invest the potential cash proceeds in other investment opportunities that may surface at this point of time.

“This would allow a better match of buyer-seller expectations so that deals could be struck. All in, we expect 30-35 bungalows (in GCB Areas) to be sold in 2020, lower than the 40 bungalows sold in 2019.”

Realstar’s Mr Wong expects 2020 transaction volumes to be more or less the same as last year, but he predicts a price drop of 2 to 5 per cent.


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