At Wallich Residence, the tallest skyscraper in Singapore at 290m above sea level, prices have soared to new heights, defying both gravity and the coronavirus, it seems. That feat was achieved by a Taiwanese businesswoman who paid $17.5 million in January for a 3,509 sq ft, four-bedroom penthouse on the 61st floor. The price translates to $4,987 psf, the highest psf price in over six years — since the project first previewed in December 2013.
The Taiwanese entrepreneur had very specific requirements, according to the PropNex agent who brokered the sale. She wanted a luxury residence located in the CBD, with good connectivity and on a high floor with water views. As a foreigner, the buyer was subjected to a 20% additional buyer’s stamp duty on top of the 4% buyer’s stamp duty, which inflated her tab by another $4.2 million.
As rare as the Hermès Himalayan Birkin handbag
According to Dominic Lee, head of the luxury team at PropNex, the penthouses at Wallich Residence are as rare as the Hermès Himalayan Birkin handbags. Last year, the Hermès Himalayan Birkin 25 with Palladium Hardware, which had an estimate of HK$600,000 to HK$800,000, was sold for HK$1.625 million (S$292,500) at a Christie’s auction.
There are only five penthouses at Wallich Residence. Four of them are 3,509 sq ft simplexes on the 58th to 61st storeys. Each penthouse has four en suite bedrooms, a wet and dry kitchen and private lift access. The fifth penthouse is the sole triplex super penthouse which occupies the 62nd to 64th floors. The 21,109 sq ft, super penthouse was purchased last year by the UK’s richest man, James Dyson, for $73.8 million.
Meanwhile, the 3,5009 sq ft penthouse on the 58th floor was sold to a Cambodian business magnate for $16 million ($4,560 psf) in June 2018. The one on the 59th floor went to another wealthy Taiwanese who paid $16.5 million ($4,702 psf) for it last September. Following the recent sale of the 61st floor penthouse for $17.5 million, that leaves just one more available — on the 60th floor.
GuocoLand is the developer of the $3.2 billion Tanjong Pagar Centre integrated development, which includes the 181-unit Wallich Residence. Wallich Residence spans the 39th to 64th floors of Tanjong Pagar Centre and sits on top of Guoco Tower, a 38-storey premium office block. The integrated development is linked to a mall, the Tanjong Pagar MRT Station in the basement and the adjacent luxury hotel, Sofitel City Centre. The development is designed by international design firm Skidmore Owings & Merill.
“Unlike other skyscrapers, we have chosen to put the most valuable and spectacular real estate space at the pinnacle and have the residential component crown the development – making this a trophy asset” says Dora Chng, general manager (residential) at GuocoLand.
The last available penthouse on the 60th floor will be offered for sale fully furnished, with interiors designed by The ID Dept. One of the four en suite bedrooms in the penthouse has been converted into a bar area. It also has the flexibility to be used as an entertainment space.
The private lift is exclusive to the penthouses, and brings residents directly to the basement level where the MRT station is. Besides private lift access, the penthouses have a secondary entrance from the private wing, where the bedrooms are; as well as a service entrance from the kitchen, which leads to the common lift lobby.
“What makes our penthouses such a rarity is that they come with spectacular views from all angles,” says GuocoLand’s Chng. For instance, the living room of the penthouse on the 60th floor has an uninterrupted view of the sea, Sentosa Cove and the future Greater Southern Waterfront.
Larger and more exclusive
Besides the five penthouses, Wallich Residence has a mix of one- to four-bedroom-plus-study units, with sizes from 614 to 2,034 sq ft. Prior to the sale of the penthouse on the 61st floor in the third week of January, a 1,098 sq ft, three-bedroom unit on the 49th floor was sold for $3.42 million ($3,115 psf) in mid-January.
In December, two 3-bedroom units of 1,313 sq ft each were sold for $4.2 million ($3,198 psf) and $4.22 million ($3,214 psf) respectively. Prior to that, two 1-bedroom units of 614 sq ft on the 49th and 50th floors fetched $2.265 million ($3,692 psf) and $2.275 million ($3,708 psf) in November.
Unlike most apartment and condominium developments in the city centre, which have predominantly compact units, GuocoLand deliberately created large units at Wallich Residence. “With only 181 units, the residential community is naturally very exclusive,” says Chng. “This exclusivity will give rise to a unique international community living here.”
Tanjong Pagar Centre was completed in 2017 and is considered the newest development in the area. “As the units are larger than the typical units in the CBD area, even the rental rates are at a premium to those in the surrounding area,” says PropNex’s Lee.
For instance, one-bedroom units at Wallich Residence were leased at monthly rental rates of $5,000 to $6,900 in the months of November 2019 to January 2020, according to EdgeProp Singapore data.
Meanwhile, two-bedroom units of 915 sq ft were leased out at $9,000; while three-bedroom units of 1,313 sq ft commanded rental rates of $10,600 in January. For large three- and four-bedroom units of up to 2,034 sq ft, recent transacted rental rates were between $12,500 and $14,500, or $7.50 to $10 psf per month, according to GuocoLand.
In the vicinity, one-bedroom units of 700 to 800 sq ft have been leased at monthly rental rates ranging from $3,700 to $4,500 at the start of the year. Two-bedroom units of 1,100 to 1,200 sq ft have been leased at $6,500 to $7,000; and three-bedroom units of 1,500 to 1,600 sq ft at about $7,300, based on transactions compiled by EdgeProp Singapore in January.
Gateway to Greater Southern Waterfront
As Wallich Residence — and Tanjong Pagar Centre — is located in the Tanjong Pagar precinct of the CBD, it is also considered the gateway to the Greater Southern Waterfront, the focal point of development in the coming decades. “The future development of the Greater Southern Waterfront will have an uplifting effect on Wallich Residence,” notes Chng.
For the final penthouse at Wallich Residence, GuocoLand has a price tag of $5,300 psf, which translates to an absolute price of about $18.6 million. If this price is achieved, it will set a new record for the the luxury, 99-year leasehold development.
The buyers at Wallich Residence are not the typical owner-occupiers, emphasises Chng. “They want to stay in their own private residences when visiting Singapore, instead of staying in a hotel,” she explains. “They can use the meeting rooms or private dining room to entertain friends and business associates when they are in Singapore. It’s more exclusive.”
In fact, most of the buyers, especially of the penthouses and larger units at Wallich Residence, tend to be business owners or entrepreneurs who like the vibe and connectivity of city living, notes PropNex’s Lee.
For now, the ultra-high-net-worth individuals from abroad may be deterred by travel restrictions due to the global spread of Covid-19 and the general market sentiment. Nevertheless, when sentiment shifts, these buyers should return, says GuocoLand’s Chng. “They are likely to make their purchase decisions based on the quality of a product rather than make rash decisions based on herd mentality,” she adds.
Given that Singapore was “well-prepared” in handling the health scare, the ultra-high-net-worth individuals who are looking for a suitable place to base their families and their businesses will certainly have the city state on their radar, says PropNex’s Lee. “We’re confident that perhaps within the next six months, we could see a V-shaped recovery in the Singapore market,” he adds.
Source: EdgeProp Singapore