$300m too pricey for bungalow with pool, tennis court?

Experts say it could be on market for a while despite rarity of 85,000 sq ft plot

THE eye-popping asking price of up to $300 million for a bungalow in the posh Nassim Road enclave has set tongues wagging.

But experts doubt a buyer can easily be found willing to part with such a vast sum for the large 85,000 sq ft plot and lavish home that comes with a tennis court and swimming pool.

A sloping driveway leads to the two-storey house built on elevated ground. The bungalow sits in the centre of the plot with a large grassy field occupying about a third of the site.

The asking figure, if secured, would smash previous records.

And as well as the sky-high total figure, the asking price is also about 50 per cent above the record per sq ft (psf) price in the area, say industry watchers.

They suspect it could be on the market for some time despite the rarity of such a large plum site.

The owner, developer Wing Tai Holdings' chairman Cheng Wai Keung has held the home since the mid-1980s. He is asking for $250 million to $300 million - or $2,947 psf to $3,536 psf of land area.

This psf price dwarfs the most expensive good-class bungalow sold to date - a 15,640 sq ft Leedon Park property for $2,110 psf.

It would also easily eclipse the priciest home ever sold on the Nassim Road stretch - a $47.8 million sale of a 23,922 sq ft site that worked out to $2,000 psf. And it would easily become Singapore's most expensive home ever sold.

The tenant, who moved out yesterday, a lawyer, is believed to be the Honorary Consul to Singapore for Barbados.

A marketing agent specialising in good-class bungalows said the sellers are "unlikely to get the price they are asking for".

"The market is not great now (with the cooling measures). Why would a buyer want to pay so much more?" he added.

And even if an investor wanted to carve up the plot into five smaller parcels, he might have to wait four years before selling the units or pay a hefty seller's stamp duty of up to 16 per cent.

But Mr Karamjit Singh, head of investments and residential at Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), the sole marketing agent for the site, said the owners had received unsolicited offers for the plot. He did not disclose the offers.

"There are buyers who have told us they have been waiting for the right plot with the Nassim Road address to come on the market. Such is the unique appeal of Nassim Road," he said.

However, it is unclear why Mr Cheng is selling the house now or why he is not developing the plot.

There have been six good-class bungalow deals inked in areas such as Yarwood Avenue, Windsor Park Hill and Camden Park so far this year, CBRE said. These six transactions total $136 million.

CBRE's director of luxury homes, Mr Douglas Wong, said first-quarter volumes were thin with buyers not much interested in negotiating.

But interest has picked up since last month with quite a few inquiries, he added.

Some investors have made handsome profits by flipping good-class bungalows, the highest-end homes here that are typically at least 15,000 sq ft in size. A 24,187 sq ft bungalow along Nassim Road sold in April 2010 for $43.53 million netted the seller a profit of $19.35 million after he paid $24.18 million in 2007.

esthert@sph.com.sg