Property investment sales in Singapore surge as investors put money into office buildings

The tender sale of the CPF Building had attracted a top bid of $550 million.
The tender sale of the CPF Building had attracted a top bid of $550 million. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Investment sales in the Singapore property market surged in the fourth quarter of last year, driven by public land sales of non-landed residential sites and acquisitions of office buildings by institutional investors.

In a report out on Friday (Feb 19), consultancy Colliers International said investment sales came in at $5.96 billion for the October to December period last year, up 39.3 per cent from a year ago.

That brought the full-year investment sales figure to $20.32 billion, 3.8 per cent lower than 2014.

During the quarter, the commercial property sector came out top, with $3.37 billion worth of assets transacted. These included the tender sale of the CPF Building which attracted a top bid of $550 million, and the sale of Manulife Centre for $487.50 million, Colliers said.

The residential segment was second, with about $1.69 billion in investment sales in the fourth quarter, boosted by the $999.98 million transacted from the sale of three public residential sites. They are a plot at Alexandra View, another near the Serangoon MRT station, and a site at Clementi Avenue 1.

Investment sales in the private residential segment were $688.83 million in the three months to Dec 31. Colliers noted activities in this segment were largely led by the landed residential homes.

Among them, nine good class bungalows (GCB) were sold, with total sales value amounting to $160.67 million.

The property consultancy said the most significant deal was a two-storey freehold GCB at 61 Dalvey Road, which was sold for $26 million or $1,724 per sq ft over the land area of 15,080 sq ft. It comes with five bedrooms and a swimming pool, and is located on an elevated plot opposite the Israeli Embassy.

Colliers said the seller is Singaporean couple who lives in Hong Kong, and the GCB was bought by Mr Ng Han Whatt, who is a member of the Ng family of listed Pan-United Corporation.

Another notable transaction was a two-storey freehold bungalow at 16 Cable Road, which was sold for $22 million or $1,293 per sq ft over the land area of 17,018 sq ft. It has a built-up area of about 10,000 sq ft and comes with five bedrooms, an entertainment room, a swimming pool and a garden.

The buyer is understood to be the son of Oxley Holdings executive chairman Ching Chiat Kwong, Colliers said in the report.

Meanwhile, investment activity has slowed significantly in the industrial property segment, with $365.52 million worth of deals done in the fourth quarter. That was down 37.9 per cent from the previous quarter, Colliers noted.

It added sentiment for industrial space has waned following the ramp-up in supply in the segment, and the implementation of the Seller's Stamp Duty and the Total Debt Servicing Ratio.

Looking ahead, Colliers expects transactional activity to be modest this year, with overall investment sales projected to be around $18 billion to $20 billion.