The Good Class Bungalow that was rented out for $200,000 a month (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - The Singapore housing market is proving to be a haven for the seriously wealthy, with prices and rents charting new levels. Most recently, a Good Class Bungalow (GCB) at Queen Astrid Park has been let to a Chinese national at a monthly rent of $200,000 or $2.4 million a year.
Accessible via Sixth Avenue and Coronation Road West, the GCB at Queen Astrid Park sits on an elevated, freehold site of 25,439 sq ft, which is largely shielded from street view. The GCB is newly completed.
“It’s the Chinese who are renting GCBs at such levels,” says Jacqueline Wong, executive director, Savills Private Office. “Some are waiting for their Singapore permanent residence or citizenship before buying their own home.”
Word on the street is that the owner of a newly completed GCB designed by Guz Wilkinson, principal and founder of Guz Architects, received an unsolicited rental offer of $380,000 a month for the property. The owner, however, declined the offer as he intended to move into the newly completed house, which has been dubbed “Water Courtyard House”. The unsolicited offer was made by a Chinese resident.
“It’s the very large and luxurious houses that fetch such premiums,” notes Savills’ Wong. “Due to the lack of new stock, these GCBs may not necessarily be brand-new, but must have a contemporary design, with clean lines and designed by a renowned architect.”
In land-scarce Singapore, living in a large GCB is the ultimate status symbol. “It’s something that the Chinese, particularly the wealthy from Fujian province, want to secure,” says a real estate broker who specialises in the luxury housing market, and requested anonymity.
Not only are these Chinese willing to pay such premium rents, they are equally willing to splash out millions to fit out these trophy homes, adds the broker. Beyond a residence, the GCBs are regarded as “private clubhouses” to entertain their friends.
A must-have is a private KTV room with state-of-the-art sound system, and the budget there is $1 million. Another requirement is a putting green. “We are not talking about any putting green, but a tournament-grade putting green that Tiger Woods himself would use,” says the broker. “That costs at least $300,000, including all the equipment. And the championship-golf-course grass requires a gardener to tend to it at least twice a week.”
The highest housing rent recorded on URA Realis this year is $150,000 a month for a GCB at Dalvey Estate, sitting on a land area of about 22,500 to 22,600 sq ft. It was transacted in April this year (see table). Another is a GCB at Jalan Asuhan, off University Road, which was tenanted for $128,000 in March. The GCB sits on a site of 26,100 to 26,200 sq ft, and owing to its size, agents reckon it’s one of the two GCBs sitting at the hilltop of Jalan Asuhan that were designed by Aamer Architects and completed in 2017.
It's not just GCBs, but also luxury condos, that are seeing rents soar to stratospheric levels. At Draycott Park is Eden, a single 22-storey residential tower designed by Thomas Heatherwick and developed by Hong Kong developer Swire Properties. All 20 units in Eden, which are freehold, were purchased en bloc by the Tsai family of snack food company Want Want China for $293 million in April last year. The building was completed in 2019. (See potential condos with en bloc calculator)
The units at Eden are said to have identical layout, with four en suite bedrooms and built-up area of 3,035 sq ft each. According to URA rental data, five connected units at Eden with a combined floor area of 15,100 to 15,200 sq ft were leased for a total of $80,000 a month this February. It topped the charts for condo rents in 2022 (see table).
The second highest monthly rent of $60,000 was achieved at The Marq on Paterson Hill. It was for a 6,200 to 6,300 sq ft, four-bedroom unit with lap pool at the Signature Tower. The 66-unit, freehold The Marq on Paterson Hill was developed by SC Global Developments and completed in 2011.
There are two towers within the development -- the Signature Tower, where typical units are 6,200 to 6,300 sq ft, and come with a lap pool at the balcony; and the Premier Tower, where typical units are 3,200 to 3,300 sq ft four-bedders. The asking monthly rent for a 6,300 sq ft unit at the Signature Tower of The Marq on Paterson Hill is $100,000 today.
At the 510-unit, V on Shenton in Marina Bay, there are six penthouses, the biggest of which is the 7,255 sq ft, five-bedroom penthouse on the 52nd level. The penthouse achieved a monthly rent of $48,000.
Developed jointly by Singapore Land Group, the 99-year leasehold development is located on Shenton Way. The development was completed in 2017.
Meanwhile in Sentosa Cove, a four-bedroom, 4,800 sq ft unit on the first level of the luxury condo Seven Palms was rented out for $45,000 per month, the highest rent achieved in Sentosa Cove to date. The deal was believed to be brokered by senior associate vice president Steve Tay’s team at List Sotheby’s International Realty. The 41-unit, 99-year leasehold condo, developed by SC Global Developments, was completed in 2010. Every unit has a sea view, and the development has its own private beach club.
The corporate human resource teams of MNCs have had to adjust their rental budgets to the new reality amid soaring rents. “Many MNCs have relocated their regional headquarters from Hong Kong to Singapore, as there are no travel restrictions here,” says Savills’ Wong. That has further fuelled demand at the top end of the housing market. It looks like the rental market will continue to sizzle.