Paradise lost

With more distressed sales at Sentosa Cove and developers considering the bulk sale of high-end condos in prime districts, buyers are on the hunt for deals. Where can they be found?
Hollywood celebrities Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as well as wealthy Chinese and Russians may be vying to buy their own private island in the wake of the great Greek land selloff to pay off debt. The Greek crisis may also have had a ripple effect on shores closer to home, namely the 117ha man-made Sentosa Cove, where 99-year leasehold luxury property prices have been sinking.
“In early July, some owners of condominium units at Sentosa Cove were feeling jittery about the Greek crisis,” says Grace Ng, deputy managing director of Colliers International. “Some sellers were even willing to consider a price that was 5% to 10% below the market price, which was $1,500 to $1,600 psf. But most of the buyers had disappeared by then.”
There was one deal at Turquoise, however. The 91-unit luxury condo fronting the waterway along Cove Drive seems to be at the epicentre of distressed sales at Sentosa Cove. A 2,185 sq ft, three-bedroom unit on the fifth floor of one of the six-storey blocks was sold for $2.9 million ($1,327 psf), according to a caveat lodged on July 8. The seller had purchased the unit for $6.04 million ($2,763 psf) in October 2007, when the project was first launched at the height of the last property boom.The seller, believed to be a Singaporean, incurred a loss of $3.1 million, a 52% drop from the original purchase price.
The price of $1,327 psf has set a new record low at Turquoise, and has even broken through the psychological floor price of $1,400 to $1,450 psf set by two units at the condo a year ago. These two transactions had triggered the downward spiral in prices, says Shaun Poh, executive director of capital markets at Cushman & Wakefield. “The transacted price is pretty close to the forced sale value and has therefore set a new floor price for the project. Subsequent buyers looking for a unit in the same condo or area will use that latest transaction price as a benchmark. It’s a vicious circle.”
The two units were 2,777 sq ft, four-bedroom units on the second and third floors of a neighbouring...