Record $1b bid for Queenstown land parcel

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN) - Top bid from China-based developers for residential site above analysts' expectations

History has been made with a land parcel for homes in Queenstown fetching a bid above $1 billion - smashing the old record by more than $300 million.

It is the first time that a purely residential site in the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme has crossed the billion-dollar mark.

China-based developers Logan Property and Nanshan Group put in the top bid of $1.003 billion for the 21,109 sq m site in Stirling Road.

The bid was 8.3 per cent higher than the second-highest bid of $925.7 million from MCL Land.

The previous record for a residential site was $682.8 million, paid in 1997 for the site that has since been developed into the Costa Del Sol condominium.

The sizeable Queenstown plot is the amalgamation of two adjoining sites, and had been on the GLS reserve list since March 2010. It was triggered for sale last month after a developer committed to bidding at least $685.25 million for the site.

Based on a maximum permissible gross floor area of 954,328 sq ft, the top bid in a field of 13 translates to a price of $1,050 per sq ft (psf) per plot ratio. This is above analysts' expectations of bids between $830 and $1,000 psf.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority will announce the awarding of the site at a later date.

Dr Lee Nai Jia, head of South-east Asia research at Edmund Tie and Company, said that given the excellent location of the site, the high bids were reasonable.

"It is close to Buona Vista, which consists of high-growth industries such as pharmaceuticals and R&D. The rental catchment is substantial as it appeals to people working in the Central Business District and Jurong East," he noted.

Although there are other developments in the area, he said, it is likely they would have sold their units by the time this project is launched.

Mr Nicholas Mak, head of research at SLP International Property Consultants, said the top bid will set a new record in the Queenstown area. "The top bid today is very bullish as it is 20.6 per cent higher than the land price of the land parcel on which the Queens Peak site was acquired by MCC Land in June 2015," he said. He expects the project to be launched mid-next year at prices above $1,780 psf.

Ms Christine Li, director of research at Cushman & Wakefield, said Chinese developers are increasingly setting their sights on Singapore. "While Nanshan has been active in the Singapore real estate market in recent years, participating in eight out of 11 tenders launched in the last 12 months, it is Logan's first foray into the Singapore market."

She added: "The recent collapse of the Bandar Malaysia deal could erode some foreign investors' confidence in Malaysia, which will indirectly benefit Singapore ."

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