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Le Nouvel Ardmore penthouse sold for S$51m

Le Nouvel Ardmore

Le Nouvel Ardmore penthouse sold for S$51m

PRIME LOCATION: The penthouse sale will be the fourth unit to be sold in the 43-unit freehold project, which received its TOP in April 2014.

IN what is believed to be a record absolute price quantum for a penthouse in Singapore, Wing Tai Holdings has sold the penthouse of the completed Le Nouvel Ardmore condo development for S$51 million.

The price reflects S$3,675 per square foot. The unit spans 13,875 sq ft on the top two levels of the 33-storey project; the area is inclusive of about 5,000 sq ft of roof terrace area.

Based on information on the freehold development in an earlier brochure on the project, the penthouse unit has five bedrooms, with a family area and study area on level 32. A private pool, private foyers, roof terrace, a gym and an entertainment area are on level 33.

The project, which received its Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) in April 2014, was designed by Jean Nouvel, winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2008.

This would be the fourth unit to be sold in the 43-unit project. Wing Tai sold the first unit in 2011 at S$4,362 psf to Edgar Cheng Wai Kin, the eldest brother of the group’s chairman, Cheng Wai Keung. The other two units were sold in 2013 – also at above S$4,300 psf.

Property consultants noted that the S$3,675 psf for the penthouse factors in the substantial roof terrace space, which would dilute the psf price.

Century 21 chief executive Ku Swee Yong said: “Assuming that we assign the roof terrace a per square foot value equivalent to one-third that of the indoor area, the price works out to be effectively around $5,000 psf.”

The record psf price for non- landed residential property in Singapore is held by The Marq on Paterson Hill where developer SC Global sold a 3,003 sq ft apartment on the 20th level at S$6,841 psf in 2011, agents noted.

Samuel Eyo, managing director of Singapore Christie’s Homes, guessed that the buyer of the Le Nouvel Ardmore penthouse is likely to be a foreigner or a Singapore permanent resident (PR). “For this sum – S$51 million – a Singaporean would prefer a large Good Class Bungalow in a very prime location,” he said.

Only Singaporeans are allowed to buy landed homes in Good Class Bungalow areas.

Mr Eyo noted that penthouses exceeding 13,000 sq ft are rare in Singapore.

“For the buyer to pay S$51 million and an additional buyer’s stamp duty of 15 per cent if he or she is a foreigner, or at least 5 per cent if a PR, reflects the buyer’s confidence about prospects for Singapore’s luxury condo market,” he argued.

Injecting some realism, Mr Ku noted: “I am trying to feel happy that there are ultra-high net worth individuals who find value in Singapore’s luxury residential products but at the same time we are reminded of the recent transactions at record low S$ psf prices within some prime district and Sentosa Cove condo developments.”

In February this year, a penthouse at St Regis Residences in Tanglin Road changed hands at S$12.2 million, or S$2,028 psf. The seller, Japanese tycoon Katsumi Tada of Daisho Group, had paid S$28 million, or S$4,654 psf, for the 6,017 sq ft unit in 2007.

For Wing Tai, the sale of the penthouse at Le Nouvel Ardmore could set the stage for it to finally do an official launch of the project, suggested market watchers. The developer has until April 2016 to finish selling the project, based on the two-year sales deadline (from the TOP date) under Singapore’s Qualifying Certificate (QC) rules, which apply to this project.

Wing Tai may seek more time from the authorities to finish selling the project but it will have to pay the state an extension charge.

Under the Residential Property Act, a foreign company, defined as one that has even a single non-Singaporean shareholder and/or director, has to get a QC from the Land Dealings (Approval) Unit, or LDAU, before it may buy a private residential site. All listed developers are deemed foreign companies.

On Monday, Wing Tai’s share price surged, reviving old speculation of a potential privatisation of the group by the controlling Cheng family.

If Wing Tai were to be privatised and delisted (with no foreign shareholding or directors), it could make an application to the LDAU to obtain a clearance certificate, followed by a further application to cancel the QC. This is what luxury developer Simon Cheong did for SC Global Developments in 2013.