Good Class Bungalow in King Albert Park on the market for $30 mil
The Good Class Bungalow at King Albert Park (centre) occupies a 16,251 sq ft site (Pictures: JNA Real Estate)
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - A Good Class Bungalow (GCB) at King Albert Park will be launched for sale by an expression of interest exercise on March 31. The guide price for the property is $30 million ($1,846 psf). The two-storey house sits on a freehold site of 16,251 sq ft. It has nine bedrooms, a swimming pool and basement parking for six cars. The house has a total floor area of 12,500 sq ft.
The site was originally part of a wider plot that belonged to a family member of Benjamin Sheares, Singapore’s second President who served three terms between January 1971 and May 1981. The Sheares family sold the plot to a buyer who subsequently subdivided it into three smaller plots.
The current owners, who purchased the property in 1996, have decided to put it on the market after living in it for 27 years. “The owners are a little older now and so they’re looking to offload the property,” says Jervis Isaiah Ng, founder of JNA Real Estate and executive director of JNA Capital Markets, the exclusive marketing agency for the property. According to Ng, JNA Capital Markets is a division of his firm JNA Real Estate, and handles property for ultra-high-net-worth clients. JNA Real Estate, in turn, is a team under PropNex Realty.
The land rate of $1,846 psf is deemed attractive by Ng. “It is one of the few GCBs on the market with an asking price below $2,000 psf,” he shares.
The living area
Gateway into GCB market
The current owners have kept the house largely unchanged from its original design. Ng notes that despite its age, the property’s condition is “still very good”, as the owners have meticulously maintained the home over the years.
The house was positioned so that the main living areas are north-south facing, avoiding harsh direct sunlight. A U-shaped layout was chosen, with communal areas such as the living room and family area located at the centre of the home, while bedrooms are tucked at either end. All the rooms in the house look towards the central courtyard, which has a pool. “It’s a great space for those who like to entertain at home,” says Ng.
Given the asking price, Ng believes the property is suitable for new entrants into the GCB market. These include those who want to upgrade from a smaller detached house to “full-fledged GCB” and younger entry-level GCB buyers whose budgets do not yet permit them to make that leap into the terrain of GCBs in the $40 million to $50 million price bracket, he adds.
Alvin Tan, team lead at JNA Capital Markets, adds that the house will appeal to buyers seeking the exclusivity of a GCB area, while still having easy access to amenities in the vicinity. King Albert Park MRT Station is a 10-minute walk away, while Bukit Timah Plaza and Beauty World Plaza are within a five-minute drive. Adding to the area’s appeal for families is its proximity to schools — Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School and Methodist Girls’ School (Primary and Secondary) are located within a 1km radius.
Ng believes the property is suitable for new entrants into the GCB market, including landed housing upgraders and younger buyers
Good candidate for rebuilding
Tan notes that the property has garnered keen interest thus far. “We’ve had some potential buyers come down for their third or fourth viewing,” he says. These additional visits are often done with their architects in tow, he adds. This is because the site’s attributes make it a strong candidate for redevelopment. It is a regular-shaped plot — with a 27m frontage and a depth of close to 60m — tucked within trees and other greenery. While the plot slopes marginally downwards, the entire site is slightly elevated compared to neighbouring plots.
Ng says that subject to approvals from the relevant authorities, the future buyer could potentially level and elevate the site, subsequently building a new home with an extended basement, mezzanine and attic. This would effectively raise the main floors of the house to a higher level, offering a good vantage point overlooking the neighbourhood. “Given that the plots surrounding this house are lower, by elevating the site, the buyer will have panoramic views of the King Albert Park area,” Ng explains.
Based on preliminary estimates done in consultation with a design and build contractor, Ng reckons that the plot can accommodate a new home with a built-up area of up to 22,000 sq ft. He estimates the cost of building the home, including levelling and elevating the land, could start from around $8 million and go up to about $15 milllion, depending on materials used and other specifications. Nonetheless, he still sees this as an appealing proposition for buyers. “The rebuilding cost (including the land cost) would be around $38 million to $45 million, which makes it a very attractive price point for a brand-new GCB in today’s market,” he comments.
The family area on the second floor
GCB prices expected to stay firm
The last time a GCB in King Albert Park changed hands was nearly two years ago. In September 2021, a bungalow with a land area of 15,165 sq ft fetched $16.8 million ($1,108 psf). A month before that, another bungalow on a 15,713 sq ft site was sold for $19.55 million ($1,244 psf). Ng points out that the properties were older houses — caveats show that the homes were built in the 1980s. He adds that since then, average transacted prices for GCBs have continued to rise.
To be sure, GCB prices have continued to grow, even amid a slowdown in activity in the last year, prompted by interest rate hikes and growing macroeconomic concerns. A recent research report by CBRE states that in 2H2022, average GCB prices rose 14.3% compared to 1H2022 to reach $2,106 psf. This brings the average price for the full year to $1,952 psf, up 10.1% y-o-y.
Forty-seven GCBs were transacted in 2022, totalling $1.365 billion. This represents a 54.3% y-o-y decline from the $2.99 billion transacted across 98 GCBs the year before. “Following a record 2021, GCB sales volumes normalised, largely constrained by limited supply available for sale and a widening buyer-seller price gap,” CBRE’s report states.
GCB market activity is expected to stay muted in 2023 until there is more clarity on interest rates and the global economy. Nonetheless, CBRE anticipates Singapore’s positioning as a wealth hub, combined with the continued attractiveness of GCBs for wealth preservation and as status symbols, will continue to support demand and prices. Ng concurs. “There are only about 2,800 GCBs, so supply is limited while demand is consistent,” he says.
Ultimately, he is confident that the GCB at King Albert Park will be snapped up soon, given its price and attributes. “I think it will be one of the first GCB plots to sell this year,” he concludes.
The expression of interest exercise for the King Albert Park GCB will close on April 21.
Check out the latest listings near King Albert Park, King Albert Park MRT Station, Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School, Methodist Girls’ School
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