$100m penthouse a test of luxury market recovery here

The infinity pool at GuocoLand's Wallich Residence, which will offer a "bungalow in the sky" penthouse that is likely to become Singapore's most expensive apartment.
The infinity pool at GuocoLand's Wallich Residence, which will offer a "bungalow in the sky" penthouse that is likely to become Singapore's most expensive apartment.PHOTO: GUOCOLAND SINGAPORE

The asking price for a new three-storey penthouse in Singapore, complete with a private pool on the 64th floor, has reached a dizzying $100 million.

Due to be formally unveiled later this year, Wallich Residence's penthouse is in the tallest building in Singapore, the island of well- heeled stability that attracts the super-rich from its South-east Asian neighbours, as well as multi-millionaires from China.

The "bungalow in the sky" penthouse in the GuocoLand-developed Tanjong Pagar Centre is likely to become Singapore's most expensive apartment.

It will test the endurance of demand for luxury property in the nation - the part of the market that has taken the biggest hit from measures aimed at cooling property prices in recent years.

Prices for luxury homes in Singapore have fallen 15 per cent to 20 per cent from a 2013 peak, according to JLL consultancy, part of the Jones Lang LaSalle global property services group.

But JLL is now starting to see the prospects of a turnaround - at least at the top end of the market - and is forecasting a 3 per cent to 5 per cent increase in luxury prices this year, citing demand from both locals and foreigners who feel the market is bottoming out.

"A lot of people think Singapore is value for money because it has been downhill all the way - such a long winter," said Mr V.R. Chandran, managing director of a real estate agency specialising in high- end homes. "Now, they feel it is the right time to come in."

By contrast, he noted that Hong Kong apartment prices have been soaring, adding that sen- sible investors will come to Singapore instead.

GuocoLand Singapore group managing director Cheng Hsing Yao said buying by foreigners has picked up since the start of the year at the developer's high-end Leedon Residence project, near the 150- year-old Singapore Botanic Gardens.

GuocoLand is part of Malaysian conglomerate Hong Leong Group headed by billionaire Quek Leng Chan.

The recent tightening of property market controls elsewhere, such as in Hong Kong and Australia, has played a part in attracting foreign demand to Singapore's luxury property this year, Mr Cheng said.

Singapore introduced property price cooling measures to curb speculation, as did many other "hot property" cities in the region.

While some measures were relaxed slightly this year, the authorities warned last month that there would be no more rolling back for now.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2017, with the headline '$100m penthouse a test of luxury market recovery here'. Print Edition | Subscribe