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6/13/2010

Paying $36m for bungalow in Sentosa Cove

This is touted as the most expensive purchase of a private property here. It is still not in the region of $500m like the Michael Jackson or Elvis Presley estates. But theirs are not 15,000 or 20,000 sq ft but measured in acres. This Sentosa Cove property is still very expensive as it is on a 99 year lease and not freehold. A Chinese national bought this. And it was reported that 4 members of a Chinese family bought a unit each at prices of $15.9m to $26m. The expression of 'What is $10m?' becomes very real. There are several thousand billionaires in China and many tens of thousands of millionaires with net worth in the hundreds of millions. And if a sizeable number of them think of parking some of their wealth here, they could have bought up everything in Sentosa Cove. And we are not counting the rich Indians, Indonesians, Malaysians and all over the world who just have too much money and need to park them somewhere. How many more luxury properties can we built to sell to the super rich before we run out of space? The question is why are we selling our precious land and space so happily? Who is benefitting from the transactions and where are the money going to? We have great and meticulous planning in public housing. We will house our people in better and better public housing at affordable prices. One thing for sure, public housing will remain public housing and the quality will be as good as the public can afford them. In the private sector, the quality will also be as good as the buyers who can afford them. And with an abundance of super rich where money is not an issue, whatever the developers built there will be takers. Eventually we could be developing foreign enclaves of super rich in some select corners akin to the foreign concessions in China during the colonial days. The difference is that we did it voluntarily while the Chinese were coerced into parting with their prime estates. Is this what we want? Is this the future demography of Singapore? Or would we want to plan for the Singaporeans to occupy the prime estates at an affordable price by tweaking some planning policies? We have restrictions in landed properties, but this ruling is bypass very often with exceptions. And the landed properties in Sentosa is also an exception. When the British were here, the prime lands were mostly in their hands. They were the colonial masters and looking after their own interests. Today we are charting the course of our own future and the places for our future generations. Where are we going in terms of housing and estate planning? Johore or Batam or Bintang for our own citizens?

7 comments:

Wally Buffet said...

Forget about the Indians, the Malaysians and the Indonesians. They are no longer the super rich. The new super rich are the PRCs. And there are plenty of them in Singapore. I was in a teppan yaki restaurant recently and at the teppan table you can already tell the great divide between their own nationals. The cooks and the waitresses were the typical PRC foreign "talents". The eight customers were all aged 20+ probably scions of rich Chinese parents. They dress differently, all clad in branded Italian attire and spoke differently from the other Chinese workers. I thought that here around this table was the great economic divide of modern China.

So to all those grumbling about the deluge of PRC workers here, do not forget that their countrymen also bring in much needed foreign exchange to buttress our aging economy.

Tweaking policies to allow foreigners to buy certain developments even though on a 99 years lease is a harbinger of demographic changes in years to come.

In a very globalized world, it's no more "our citizens" that cuts the ice. It's "can you afford it?"

A last word. Paying S$36 million for a 99 year leasehold bungalow of such a size anywhere in the world is an act of speculation. If one wants to enjoy the ambience and do boating or whatever, there are lots of more congenial places on Earth available for one tenth of the price or less and freehold to boot.

Anonymous said...

Me loves the charitable acts of the filthy rich buying up SIN. IF SIN is sold to aliens, no need to vote for rulers anymore. The poor just work for the rich and living goes on.

The rich locals may choose to remain or like foreigners who need safeties for themselves and their assets, move to foreign lands.

May not be too bad an arrangement.

patriot

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Really we don't have much to sell. But frogs living in a well will say the well is very big and plenty to sell.

In the future our children will ask, 'Why did we sell everything away to foreigners?'

Anonymous said...

Nobody ask 'Why did we sell Christmas Island?'

In the future, same thing will happen, because time will erase bad memories.

Let go.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Be happy that foreigners are owning private property: it is alot more secure. The govt now has an added incentive to be more accountable and transparent as they cannot afford the bad publicity.

To me, Sentosa Cove is over priced and no matter how much you try and polish a turd, it is still a turd. There are much better locations to experience a top-class "marina lifestyle" than Pulau Belakang Mati.

Anyway, it is their money: if they think they're getting bang for their buck, good for them. At those prices you could get better property in Greece and the rest of the Meditaranean, especially now where everyone is bleeding from debt. ;)

Matilah_Singapura said...

Greece at ~ one quarter the price of Sentosa (bonus: history, real European instead of fake Asian, class, sophistication and probably better food):

http://www.seasideglobal.com/en/europe/greece/ionian/kefalonia/GR-ION-KEF-H0001/

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

I smell a fish.