The Singaporean housing market is notoriously competitive – meaning that even the most basic flats can go for price tags many times the cost of the same property in a smaller city.
These aren’t always concerns for the ultra rich when looking for the perfect home base in Singapore. These houses are usually just a stopover for a bit of luxury shopping in between global jet setting.
Singaporeans aren’t strangers to the concept of millionaires. In fact, data from 2015 showed that the small island nation is home to 2,360 of the world’s ultra wealthy (defined as having assets greater than $30 million USD) and more than 150,000 millionaires.
According to Forbes, Singapore is now the world’s fastest growing wealth hub, with $1.3 trillion assets under management, and it is slated to overtake Switzerland as the world’s largest offshore wealth center by 2020.
There are several communities and styles of housing that appeal to the ultra rich in Singapore, depending on style preferences, and interest in a long-term residency or a quick turnaround pied á terre.
Good Class Bungalows (GCB)
They are heritage houses that have been beautifully maintained to meet contemporary living standards. Space in Singapore is at premium, and these bungalows have a fair amount, with a typical land size of 1,400 sq m (15,069 sq ft) and up.
They are limited at two stories, and so this guarantees that the neighborhood will have plenty of green space and very little disruption to your view – a reality of most Singapore housing districts teeming with apartment towers.
Good class bungalows (GCBs) are rare – only about 2,700 of them exist in 39 estates. They often sell for about $30 million each.
However, they made news in 2013 when Arwaa Mansion, a GCB that was formerly the home of a member of the Brunei royal family, went on the market.
At 110,000 sq feet, it included a private tennis court and private swimming pool – both very luxurious amenities in square footage-starved Singapore. The house was taken off the market surprisingly quickly, with the new buyer scooping it up for $300 million.
Sentosa Cove is a luxury housing community on Sentosa, affectionately known as Singapore’s resort island.
The homes in Sentosa Cove are more sprawling than the any other community of landed houses in Singapore, with neighborhoods designed for maximum access to waterfront property, while also maximizing privacy. The homes are rich with amenities – multiple swimming pools and private yacht berths are not uncommon.
While also home to some truly beautiful and exclusive apartment buildings, Sentosa Cove is also unique for being the only place in the country where foreigners are allowed to purchase landed property. As a result, there is a significant and growing populations of ultra wealthy Chinese who reside there. In 2010, a Chinese national made news by purchasing a home for $36 million.
To rent one of the more standard 5 bedroom houses still available in Sentosa Cove, it will set you back around $25,000 a month. To buy, plan to put down between $15-48 million.
Emerald Hill Conservation Area
Quaint and beautifully maintained shop houses line Emerald Hill, a historic street that connects off of Orchard road. These homes provide a good balance between landed houses and luxury apartments, offering terrace and garden space, with a slightly more urban feel. The homes also have a strong historical and arts charm for those who are looking for character and heritage.
The shop houses run from $3-16 million – and feature big open spaces, designer kitchens, and other luxury amenities.
Ultra Luxury Apartment Buildings
The young moneyed in Singapore tend to live in swankier, and more private buildings. Three exclusive luxury apartments stand out the most as the desired addresses of the Singapore Tatler set.
Designed by Jean Nouvel, an internationally renowned Pritzker prize-winning architect, this building has only 43 residences, each 3,800 sq ft or more. The building is a celebration of the vibrancy of Singaporean vegetation, featuring the greenery of the environment prominently against the spacious open interiors of the flats.
The sale of the penthouse in this building made international news when the 26 year-old property agent Shirley Seng earned a commission of about $1.5 million from selling the penthouse alone. It went for $51 million – bought by the co-founder of Alibaba, Sun Tongyu. Most condos in the building come with an $18 million price tag to start.
The Hamilton Scotts is the perfect home base for the ultra rich who want to show it off. The property’s most famous feature is the ‘en-suite sky garage’ – a fish-tank style elevator that will allow you to prominently display your luxury cars as if they are art in your sitting room.
Limited to 54 residences, and two super luxurious penthouses, the building lavishes every detail and amenity with style and extravagance. The penthouses are taken, but another condominium in the building will set you back at least $8.5 million.
The Marq promises luxury on every level of their high rise building, starting with a private lap 15-meter lap pool per story. The complex aims to integrate the well-appointed comfort of a Good Class Bungalow in a luxury high-rise apartment setting. In addition to the comforts of home, The Marq also provides a very attentive, all-hours concierge service.
The Marq gained some notoriety in 2014, as the most expensive condominium on Singapore’s Paterson Hill Road, which was named the fifth most expensive street in the world that year. Surely, The Marq contributed to the ranking, with each residence demanding a purchase price of about $20.5 million.
Home to 66 exclusive apartments, the property’s location also holds extra value as a swath of freehold land, meaning that property rights for purchased residences will be maintained in perpetuity. This is in contrast to the policy for most Singaporean property, with ownership reverting to the government after a 99-year lease.