The severe supply shortage of land for executive condominiums (ECs) likely prompted the 17 aggressive bids for a Punggol site.
All 17 offers surpassed the previous record price for EC land set in July 2013 for the Lake Life site in Tao Ching Road near Jurong Lake.
The top bid of $509.37 million for the Sumang Walk plot works out to a record $583 per sq ft per plot ratio (psf ppr). It came from a joint venture between a City Developments (CDL) unit and TID Residential.
TID Residential is ultimately owned by Hong Leong Holdings and Mitsui Fudosan Co.
The bid was 4.8 per cent above one of $486 million or $556.26 psf ppr from Qingjiang Realty (Residential). That was followed by bids from a tie-up between Yanlord Singapore Residential and Soilbuild Group Holdings, and a Hoi Hup Realty and Sunway Developments team.
The lowest bid, from a Ho Bee Land unit, was $373.81 million, which works out to $427.85 psf ppr.
A maximum of 820 units has been stipulated for the EC project on the site. The 2.7ha land parcel is adjacent to My Waterway @ Punggol.
Analysts said the strong turnout and bids reflect the lack of new EC sites. The Sumang Walk plot was the only EC land offered in the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme for the whole of last year.
JLL national director Ong Teck Hui said the top bid was "stunning", "way above market expectations". It was also 64 per cent higher than the top bid of $355 psf ppr for the Anchorvale Lane site in August 2016, which was the last EC tender.
"The absence of an EC land tender for one and a half years... and a rising private residential market are contributors to the bullish outlook for the EC market among bidders."
Last year, developers sold 4,011 EC units. Mr Ong estimates CDL and TID's break-even cost at close to $1,000 psf - above recent new EC transactions in the area.
CDL is upbeat about prospects for the proposed project on the Sumang Walk site. Group chief executive Sherman Kwek said: "We are confident of its success given its excellent location and desirable attributes. Punggol... has an exciting future and we believe this will make the site very compelling to home buyers. It is also very close to LRT and MRT stations as well as a bus interchange, which is hard to come by for an EC project. Being right next to My Waterway@Punggol, the site also offers the opportunity to create a landmark waterfront residence with pleasant views."
The CDL and TID joint venture would explore a project comprising 13 blocks of 10 to 17 storeys.
"To maximise the scenic views, windows will be oriented towards Punggol Reservoir and My Waterway@Punggol. The sizeable land area will also allow for generous landscaping," CDL said.
The first-half GLS programme has three EC sites on offer: a plot in Canberra Link in the Sembawang area on the confirmed list, and two on the reserve list - in Tampines Avenue 10 and Anchorvale Crescent in Sengkang.