SINGAPORE - A shophouse in Bali Lane in the Arab Street area, currently occupied by entertainment venue Blu Jaz Cafe, has changed hands for $23 million.
Mr Koh Tuck Lye, co-founder of Chinese venture capital firm Shunwei Capital, lodged a caveat earlier this month for the 999-year leasehold shophouse at 11 Bali Lane, according to a property title information search.
The property was then transferred to a firm called GJ Bali. Based on Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority records, Mr Koh is listed as one of two directors.
The purchase price for the 1,664 sq ft corner property in the Kampong Glam Conservation Area works out to $13,821 per sq ft (psf).
ERA Realty's head of research and consultancy Nicholas Mak said it is the highest psf price for shophouses in the Kampong Glam area, which includes Arab Street and Bussorah Street, based on data from URA Realis.
The three-storey shophouse, with a total built-up area of around 4,680 sq ft, is owned by a South Korean party that paid $18.8 million for it in 2019, the Business Times reported.
BT reported that Mr Koh is in the early stage of buying the property. A caveat lodged with the Singapore Land Authority secures a property for the buyer.
Mr Koh, also known as Xu Dalai, was formerly on the board of Chinese tech company Xiaomi Corporation. He stepped down from the post in 2019 to focus on Shunwei Capital.
The transaction comes after a row of 11 shophouses in Lavender Street were sold for $71.28 million to Hafary Holdings in July.
Ms Mary Sai, Knight Frank's executive director of capital markets, said there has been increased market activity since the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
"Given that conserved shophouses in Singapore are limited in stock, the demand for this asset class is unlikely to fade any time soon," she said.
"As pre-pandemic normalcy returns with increased air travel, the shophouse market could potentially see another wave of demand stemming from investors who were previously restricted by travel measures and are interested in owning a shophouse in enclaves with ongoing gentrification," added Ms Sai.
Mr Mak said there is healthy demand for shophouses from investors looking for retail space to own and rent out, because of the recovery in consumer spending.
He expects rental demand for shophouses to continue to grow amid the recovery in tourism.
"Additionally, property cooling measures have turned some investors to the commercial market because of higher additional buyers' stamp duty in the residential market," he said.
Ms Sai added that the shophouse market could record just under $2 billion in sales for the whole of 2022, given the sustained momentum in the first half of the year.
The highest transaction in the first half of the year was $74.8 million for Hotel Clover, a row of 17 shophouses in Jalan Sultan, in March.
The sales price translates to $4,921 psf for the 15,201 sq ft property.
Meanwhile, a conservation shophouse at 21 New Bridge Road in Clarke Quay has been put up for sale by private treaty, said its marketing agent Sakal Real Estate Partners on Monday.
The 99-year leasehold property, which has four storeys and a roof terrace, sits on a 1,443 sq ft site and was recently valued at about $22 million.
On Aug 10, property agency Huttons Asia announced that a pair of adjoining freehold commercial shophouses in Jalan Besar have been put up for sale via an expression of interest with a guide price of $17.5 million.
Six adjoining freehold shophouses in Serangoon were also put up for sale with a $63 million guide price on Aug 2, PropNex Realty said.