Home On Treasure Island

August 2018 saw the largest deal since 2013 successfully closed for a Sentosa Cove bungalow. Ms Rowena Chan, one of the team of professional relationship managers from List Sotheby’s International Realty, Singapore, represented the buyer.

Sentosa Cove is primarily built on reclaimed land, comprising five man-made islands, and was designed to offer high-end residences that promotes the resort and waterfront lifestyle, appealing to savvy and well-travelled investors and home owners.

In particular, Sentosa Cove is attractive to foreign investors, as it is one of the few opportunities where they are able to own a landed home, unlike on the main island where land is classified as restricted property, such that only Singaporeans are permitted to do so. This unique proposition, coupled with the growth of Singapore as a safe haven for foreigners to invest in residential properties, attracts foreign investors and homebuyers alike. Since the first land parcel sale in 2003, Sentosa Cove has developed into an exclusive, gated residential enclave with some 1,800 condominiums, 300 bungalows and 50 terrace houses.

Between January and May, there were six bungalow transactions in Sentosa Cove, ranging from S$11.20 million to S$17.50 million, with land areas between 6,800 sq ft and 9,200 sq ft. There had been no bungalow transactions since May 2018 till this sale. While transaction volume has been thin, Sentosa Cove has remained fairly consistent with foreigners and Singapore Permanent Residents (PRs) making up 30% to 40% of buyers. Of the seven bungalows sold in the first eight months of 2018, three were bought by foreigners and PRs, representing 43% of the total sales volume. 

This single-storey bungalow, located at Cove Grove in the South Cove of Sentosa Cove, was able to fetch S$33.3 million owing to several of its special and unique attributes.

Firstly, it has a sizable land area of 18,555 sq ft which is a rare find among the bungalows in Sentosa Cove. Most of the bungalow plots are between 6,500 sq ft and 10,000 sq ft in size. Secondly, it is located along Cove Grove in the South Cove which has a superb view of the southern seas. Another plus point of this property is that it also has a view of the waterway where Pearl Island is located. Thirdly, the existing building onsite can be rebuilt into a two-and-a half-storey bungalow, giving its owners an even more magnificent view of the sea.

At S$33.3 million, the price per square foot (psf) for the Cove Grove single-storey bungalow is S$1,795. The buyer, who is a PR and a first-time home buyer, will pay Additional Buyers’ Stamp Duty (ABSD) of 5 per cent, but will not need to pay the higher ABSD that was announced in July. The increase in ABSD only applies to Singaporeans and PRs who buy a second or any subsequent properties, as well as foreigners.

The last time that a Sentosa Cove bungalow fetched S$33.00 million was in September 2013 for No. 97 Cove Drive, which has a similar land size of 18,794 sq ft but faces the inner waterway and does not have a sea view.

Though there is some slowing down of the luxury property market, this latest sale shows that the buying decisions of high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) are guided less by if and what they can afford, but more by whether the product fits their needs, objectives and fancy. For an amount of S$33.3 million, a buyer could choose to purchase a freehold Good Class Bungalow (GCB) on the main island. However, depending on locations, the amount would fetch either a GCB on a smaller land plot, or, an older GCB which will need to be renovated or rebuilt. However, there will not be any sea view because all the GCB areas are located inland. Buyers who desire a waterfront lifestyle would be more motivated to choose a bungalow at Sentosa Cove rather than a GCB.

Ms Rowena Chan said: “While there could be some people who are indeed taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to buying property, there is still a segment of serious buyers who are looking for homes for own stay and as long-term investments. These may include Singaporeans and PRs buying their first property as well as high net worth individuals, including foreigners, who make their decisions on purchasing international properties based on many factors other than price, such as geo-political stability, standard of living etc.”

For those looking for a respite away from the crowd, the notion of a sea fronting property with private yachts berthed alongside and going for long walks in an idyllic resort setting, or simply chilling while enjoying the picturesque view, are just some of the reasons to call Sentosa Cove home.