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Sellers of Singapore’s largest residential site above a lush park are wooing mainland China, Hong Kong developers

Cheryl Arcibal

A choice piece of property in Singapore – the city-state’s largest residential site on a hilltop overlooking a lush park – is back on the market. Hong Kong or mainland developers could be its next owners, analysts say.

The spot is called Braddell View, and it sits on 1.14 million square feet above MacRitchie Reservoir Park. Its starting price is S$2.08 billion (US$1.5 billion), but the hope is for competing bids to drive that up.

The central city site was unsuccessfully put up for sale in March at the same price, which translates into about S$1,159 per square foot per plot.

“In marketing Braddell View in this tender relaunch, we will continue to engage a multitude of developers from different markets, including those in Singapore, China and Hong Kong,” said Tang Wei Leng, managing director of Colliers International, Singapore, which is handling the tender.

“Braddell View is an exciting proposition for developers, offering a sizable canvas on which to create a signature residential development that will redefine urban living and meet the evolving needs of homebuyers,” she said.

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Right now, the site has two shops and 918 units of apartments, maisonettes and penthouses.

The expectation is that a developer, or group of developers, would buy the site as a whole, paying current owners, tear old structures down, and then redevelop it into new luxury apartments.

Up to 2,620 new residential units with an average size of 85 square metres (approximately 915 square feet) could be built on the site, Colliers says.

Tang noted that Hong Kong and Chinese developers, such as CK Asset Holdings’ Property Enterprises Development (Singapore), have launched residential projects in Singapore, including ones close to the Braddell View site. Colliers will reach out to developers, including those from China and Hong Kong, in marketing the site. Bids will be accepted until September 25.

“Braddell View site ticks all the right boxes,” Tang said.

She acknowledged there is risk in taking on such a massive project, but said that one thing developers are considering is forming a consortium to buy and develop the plot.

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While it is too early to know who will end up developing Braddell View, it is likely that many of the eventual buyers of units there will either be from mainland China or Hong Kong, based on data showing buying trends.

Mainland Chinese, the largest group of foreigner buyers across all segments, purchased 1,058 private homes in Singapore from 2017 until July this year, preferring suburban, mid-end and high-end segments.

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On the other hand, buyers from Hong Kong, the sixth-largest foreign buyer group overall in 2018, bought 85 homes over the same period, with a clear preference for the high-end segment, according to data from Urban Renewal Authority.

That is despite some crackdown by the Singaporean government to discourage foreign buying to cool prices. A tax dating back to December 2011 has been gradually raised to where foreign buyers are hit with a 20 per cent added fee to buy residences.

“Chinese and foreign (unspecified) nationals have been increasing their purchases of luxury properties quarter on quarter since the third quarter of 2018,” said Alan Cheong, head of research and consultancy, Savills Singapore. “And this is despite the higher additional buyer’s stamp duty that they need to pay.”

Colliers expects private home prices in Singapore to rise 1 per cent this year, tracking Singapore’s economic growth forecast.

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