MORE than 120 eager buyers yesterday crowded into a room at M Hotel hoping for a bargain deal at a first-of-its kind auction of six small plots of land.
The buyers were mostly hoping to buy a plot on which to build their own dream home.
And after some brisk bidding, six of them each left with a 99-year leasehold plot - some with what they saw as bargains.
The plots sold at prices from $1.3 million to $12.1 million, for a total of $30.64 million.
It was the Singapore Land Authority’s (SLA) first auction of residential ‘infill’ sites.
‘Infill’ sites are pockets of state land, located in the midst of an established housing estate, that have been left untouched by nearby developments or were once used for public purposes.
The six sites were mostly hotly contested, reflecting strong interest in the attractively-priced sites.
The bidders included professionals, businessmen, construction firms and niche developers, said SLA in a statement.
Included in an SLA sale for the first time were two good- class bungalow (GCB) parcels, which were sold to individual buyers for up to $12.1 million.
Still, one of the two top-end plots - a 16,689 sq ft site - attracted just one bidder. Fund manager John Foo met with zero competition when he bought the smaller of the two plots at Eng Neo Avenue for $6 million or $359.50 per sq ft (psf).
He reckoned he got a good deal for the site, which is for his own use. ‘Sentosa leasehold plots can be over $1,000 psf while District 10 GCB plots are going for $800 to $1,000 psf.’
The other GCB plot, at 29,201 sq ft in size, attracted more bidders. Bids came in hefty $50,000 increments but bidders did not hesitate long as they fired in a total of 52 bids, driving the price up from $9.5 million to $12.1 million.
The interest is not surprising, given that GCB sites, particularly one as big as 29,201 sq ft, are quite rare, said Ms Mok Sze Sze, Jones Lang LaSalle’s director and head of auction and sales.
The successful buyer, Ms Hu Nan Lee, is a Singaporean who is overseas. Her representative said it is meant for her own use.
Of the six plots, the most popular was one at Somme Road. It attracted a whopping 64 bids before local firm Sarda clinched it at $3.76 million.
Sarda’s price was 52 per cent above the $2.48 million opening bid for the 3,547 sq ft residential site, which comes with commercial use on the first floor.
A 6,971 sq ft site in Jalan Insaf, suitable for a pair of two-storey semi-detached houses or a bungalow, was sold to Lye Holdings for $3.54 million, up from the starting bid of $2.9 million.
Avadh, another firm, paid $1.3 million for a 4,228 sq ft site in Bedok Close, suitable for a two-storey bungalow. The opening bid was $880,000.
Both Sarda and Avadh have a shareholder in common: Mr Shriniwas Rai, the veteran lawyer and former Nominated Member of Parliament.
Another firm, Liverland Investments, bought a 6,293 sq ft Moonbeam Walk site for $3.94 million. Bids for the site, which can be used to build a pair of two-storey semi-detached houses, opened at $3.32 million.
Ms Mok said the strong response shows people are open to buying leasehold plots to build their dream homes.
SLA’s chief executive, Mr Lam Joon Khoi, said: ‘We will consider releasing more infill sites to help meet the current market demand for high quality residential properties.’
Source : Straits Times - 30 Nov 2007