SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Property developer Sevens Group has been snapping up land sites aggressively — acquiring 11 plots valued at about $70 million over a span of just 56 days last year, says Eric Cheng, founder and CEO of the company. “It’s given us a very good run. So we have a fair bit of land bank for the next two years.”
The dining area at 480 Guillemard Road has a fully-equipped en suite kitchen (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
One of its properties currently on the market is a detached house at 480 Guillemard Road. What is unusual about the detached house is that it sits on a freehold land area of just 2,756 sq ft — most conventional detached houses occupy a land area of at least 400 sq m (4,306 sq ft) each.
The developer was ingenious in building a three storey home with a floor area of 5,595 sq ft, and even has a 13m lap pool built in. The house has five en suite bedrooms, with bathroom fittings and sanitaryware from German brand, Bravat, owned by German sanitaryware provider Roman Dietsche.
The house comes with a 13m lap pool (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
The living room has a concealed powder room, and sliding windows that can be opened completely to enjoy a view of Paya Lebar Quarter and the Paya Lebar Central area. The dining area has a fully-equipped en suite kitchen, with the stove-top placed next to a window to ensure ventilation, Cheng points out.
Some $300,000 was spent on furnishing the house to allow future homeowners to visualise the space. The house comes with a lift inside and an open staircase to allow communication among family members even if they are on different levels, Cheng explains.
The detached house at Guillemard Road is priced at $6.1 million ($2,213 psf), which Cheng believes is an attractive price for young families who aspire to own such a landed property.
The house at 480 Guillemard Road has a lift inside and an open staircase (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
The house on Guillemard Road is located within a seven-minute walk of Paya Lebar Quarter and the Paya Lebar MRT Interchange Station, as well as malls such as PLQ Mall, Kinex Mall, SingPost Centre and Paya Lebar Square. “It’s like a mini satellite town, with all the restaurants and amenities within a short walking distance,” says Cheng.
Sixth Collection – 100% sold prior to launch
Artist’s impression of the detached house at Sixth Collection, which was sold for $9.65 million ($1,815 psf) (Credit: Sevens Group)
Over the weekend of Feb 6 and 7, prior to the launch, all three houses at Sevens Group’s Sixth Collection were snapped up. The three houses — a pair of semi-detached houses and a detached house — have yet to be constructed.
Sevens Group purchased the 12,056 sq ft, freehold site at Sixth Avenue for $9.5 million ($788 psf) last July. The existing old detached house sitting on the 12,056 sq ft, freehold site at 555 Sixth Avenue has yet to be torn down. The only thing that is built on the site is the sales gallery.
However, the site has been subdivided into three smaller plots. One of them is a freehold site of 5,317 sq ft to be occupied by a five-bedroom detached house with a built-up area of 7,175 sq ft. The property was sold for $9.65 million ($1,815 psf).
Artist’s impression of the semi-detached houses at Sixth Collection, which were sold for $6.29 million ($2,920 psf) and $6.19 million ($2,874 psf) (Credit: Sevens Group)
The other two plots are to be occupied by a pair of semi-detached houses, which sit on a land area of 2,154 sq ft each. One of the four-bedroom houses with a built-up area of 4,975 sq ft was sold for $6.29 million ($2,920 psf), while the other four-bedroom semidetached house with a built-up area of about 4,836 sq ft went for $6.19 million ($2,874 psf), according to Wayne Chua, sales and marketing manager of Sevens Group. The buyers were willing to buy off-plan “because of our track record”, he says.
The three houses at Sixth Collection are scheduled for completion by 4Q2022, according to Chua.
Cheng has 45 staff who span different business areas and he has built “a strong ecosystem”, he says. “We have our own building arm, interior design team and a development team.” For instance, it took just 14 months to complete the detached house at Guillemard Road.
Property agent-turned-serial entrepreneur
The master bathroom comes with his-and-hers bathroom sinks (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
Cheng began his career as a property agent more than two decades ago and even launched his own property agency in 2009, which was one of the biggest players with 1,800 agents at one point before he sold it. He has since morphed into a property developer with Sevens Group, a name inspired by his favourite number “seven” — evident from his car number plates and his mobile number.
A serial entrepreneur, besides Sevens Group, Cheng is also the co-founder and CEO of venture capital firm, CapitalX. He is an investor in ECXX Global, a Singapore-based digital securities exchange, which has integrated with MyInfo, a service developed by the Government Technology Agency that enables SingPass users to manage their personal data while transacting online with participating public and private organisations. On Feb 1, ECXX Global announced a collaboration with regional brokerage UOB Kay Hian to bring in deep tech start-ups and offer them the opportunity to raise capital by listing via securitised token offering.
One of the five bedrooms at 480 Guillemard Road (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
Cheng’s business acumen has meant that he is able to seize opportunities and make swift decisions, especially when it comes to property. He attributes this largely to his ability to “communicate” with property. “When I communicate with the property, I will ask myself, ‘Who will buy this property? How will I sell the end-product, and what price should I sell it at?’” Cheng elaborates.
As Cheng wants to set a benchmark in terms of prices and product offerings for his projects, he is very hands-on in terms of design, deciding on the number of rooms, the space planning, and the finishing as well as the choice of materials used. He has developed 100 homes in the course of his career and not just in Singapore, but also in Perth, Australia.
Navigating Covid-19 challenges
All the bedrooms in the house at 480 Guillemard Road are en suite (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
Like all developers, Sevens Group has also dealt with some speed bumps along the way due to the onslaught of the pandemic. Construction costs have also gone up, “but we are controlling them”, says Cheng. “Today, if you want to build a house, you can’t get many contractors to do the job. Why? Because they are overloaded with jobs.”
Fortunately, Sevens Group is able to secure contractors to do their jobs because “we have a pipeline of houses to be built, which helps our construction partners”, Cheng says.
Sevens Group has already built over 47 projects to date, including in Australia, where it has established a presence in Perth. The group now has developments with close to $350 million in gross development value.
However, he has no plans to list the company for now. “We feel that as a private company, we will have more control over our business,” says Cheng. This is because the group wants to focus on building quality homes and maintaining a healthy pipeline of projects, he adds.
Ultimately, Cheng sees property development as “not just a business, but an art”. He adds: “You can’t take short-cuts.”