Nanofilm founder's wife buys Nassim Road good class bungalow for $128.8m

Ms Jin Xiao Qun bought the 32,159 sq ft property area for roughly $4,005 per sq ft.
Ms Jin Xiao Qun bought the 32,159 sq ft property area for roughly $4,005 per sq ft.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A good class bungalow in Nassim Road has been sold for $128.8 million to the wife of the founder of Nanofilm Technologies International - a local nanotechnology solutions company.

Property website EdgeProp reported on Tuesday (March 30) that Ms Jin Xiao Qun bought the 32,159 sq ft property - about the size of 33 four-room HDB flats - for about $4,005 per sq ft.

It was bought from businesswoman Oei Siu Hoa - also known as Sukmawati Widjaja - who owns another good class bungalow in the area.

"This transaction has set the tone for the premium good class bungalow market, where we see high-net-worth individuals willing to fork out top dollar for prime real estate in Singapore," said Mr Bruce Lye, co-founder and managing partner at real estate agency SRI.

He added that there may be even higher-value transactions of such houses in time to come.

Ms Jin's purchase is down the road from the good class bungalow sold by Wing Tai Holdings chairman Cheng Wai Keung in 2019 for a record $230 million. The entire freehold land area of that purchase is 84,543 sq ft.

According to an ERA Singapore report last August, there were only about 2,800 good class bungalows here, making up just 3.8 per cent of all completed landed houses.

Good class bungalows must have a minimum land area of 15,000 sq ft, and cannot be taller than two storeys. Sufficient green buffer must also be maintained between each good class bungalow and its neighbours in order to preserve the exclusivity of the neighbourhood.

Global property consultancy Knight Frank said in an October report that demand for good class bungalows here was "particularly resilient", with a string of deals totalling some $128.3 million in the third quarter despite the pandemic.

Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research and consultancy at ERA, said good class bungalows are the most expensive type of residential real estate in Singapore. They are found in only 39 designated locations, usually within the prime residential districts. These areas usually have only landed properties.

"They are the creme de la creme of Singapore housing," said Mr Mak, adding that these days, each good class bungalow is usually sold for more than $20 million.

Those sold for more than $50 million each are rare, making up less than 3 per cent of total good class bungalow transactions.

He added that it is difficult to say if the price the Nassim Road property fetched is "fair value".

"It's like the sale of an Old Master painting - a Rembrandt or a Vermeer. A good class bungalow for sale in the Nassim area comes out once in a blue moon, as Nassim is one of the most prestigious addresses. The type of people who own a $100 million good class bungalow are the kind who might own private jets... They live in a different world."

Ms Jin and her husband, Dr Shi Xu, moved from China to Singapore in the early 1990s. Dr Shi founded Nanofilm in 1999 with US$300,000.


Dr Shi Xu founded Nanofilm in 1999. PHOTO: NANOFILM TECHNOLOGIES

At the time, he was an associate professor at Nanyang Technological University and Nanofilm was a tech start-up spun off from the university.

Since then, the couple have become billionaires with the company's listing last October.