Luxasia Group scion buying Lee Hsien Yang’s bungalow for $13.25 million

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Mr Lee Hsien Yang and his wife Lee Suet Fern are in the process of selling a two-storey bungalow in the Caldecott Hill Estate good class bungalow (GCB) area to the scion of beauty products distributor Luxasia Group for $13.25 million, The Straits Times has learnt.

The deal works out to $1,336 per sq ft (psf) for the freehold bungalow in Caldecott Close, near the old premises of Mediacorp.

According to documents seen by ST, a caveat for the property was lodged on April 8 by Mr Alwyn Chong, managing director of cosmetics and fragrance distributor Luxasia.

Caveats are lodged to protect the buyer’s interest in the property after he has paid a deposit and has either exercised an option to purchase or entered into a sale and purchase agreement for the property.

ST reported in October last year that the Lees had granted a Singaporean businessman an option to purchase the bungalow, which sits on a 9,920 sq ft site.

Mr Lee, a former chief executive of Singtel and former chairman of Fraser & Neave, and Mrs Lee, a senior lawyer, are joint owners of the property.

Described as a “resort-style modern bungalow”, the property has six bedrooms, two living rooms and a dining room, a basement wine cellar and lounge, a helper’s room, an infinity pool and a koi pond. Four cars can be parked inside the property, which is being sold with vacant possession.

E-mail queries to Mr Chong went unanswered. Mr Chong is also a former shareholder of branding and design agency Foreign Policy Design and the National Gallery of Singapore’s museum store, Gallery & Co.

Mr Lee, the younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and Mrs Lee own another freehold bungalow in Caldecott Close, which sits on a land area of 9,888 sq ft.

List Sotheby’s International Realty’s analysis of data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s Realis platform showed that there were 19 deals in GCB areas worth $511 million so far this year.

There were 90 GCB deals totalling a record $2.57 billion in 2021, up from 46 transactions worth $1.09 billion in 2020.

Mr Chong’s purchase of the Caldecott Close bungalow is among several high-profile GCB deals in the Caldecott Hill Estate GCB area in recent months.

On April 18, a caveat was lodged for a GCB in Olive Road for $50.2 million by the family of the late property magnate and hotelier Wee Thiam Siew.

The late Mr Wee was owner of Lion City Hotel and adjoining former Hollywood Theatre, which were sold to UOL Group in 2011 for $313 million.

He also built the New 7th Storey Hotel in Rochor Road in the 1950s, which has since been demolished to make way for Bugis MRT station.

Brokered by SRI, the deal works out to about $1,800 per sq ft (psf) on the freehold land area of 27,909 sq ft – breaking the previous record set by a $36 million Olive Road GCB sale last year to Mr Ian Ang, co-founder and chief executive of ergonomic chair retailer Secretlab.

In October last year, the family of Lim Bee Huat of Kopitiam King fame bought a bungalow on a 10,529 sq ft plot in Lornie Road for $26.8 million, or $2,545 psf, The Business Times reported.

Mr Samuel Eyo, managing director of Lighthouse Property Consultants, said the Lees’ Caldecott Close GCB is being sold at a reasonable price, given that it is an older house and on a smaller plot.

The house is also located in a valley, which is partly why the price is lower, compared with other recent GCB transactions in the Caldecott Hill Estate GCB area.

“The Lim family’s GCB in Lornie Road sits on elevated ground and has views of the MacRitchie Reservoir. The Wee family’s Olive Road GCB also sits on elevated ground and the plot is much bigger,” Mr Eyo added.

Based on the average price per square foot, the $1,883 psf for the 19 bungalows sold so far this year is 27 per cent higher than the $1,477 psf for 46 GCB deals in 2020, Mr Lewis Cha, executive director of List Sotheby’s International Realty, pointed out.

“Compared to the average price of $1,376 psf in 2012, this represents a 37 per cent increase over the past 10 years,” he added.

He cited strong demand from ultra-high-net-worth individuals for the robust GCB price gains since the fourth quarter of 2020.

“This was helped by the staggering wealth growth of industries like biomedical, fintech and Big Tech, along with rebounding stock markets and cryptocurrency gains in the past 20 months or so, resulting in more money being poured into luxury real estate,” Mr Cha said.

Source: The Straits Times

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