What are Good Class Bungalows (“GCB”)? GCBs are a league of their own, the most prestigious landed housing in Singapore. For those not in the know, GCBs comprise 2,800 landed homes built in specific gazetted areas in Singapore with the most coveted and exclusive addresses. The top 3 areas you can find a GCB are in Orchard, Holland and Bukit Timah, amongst others. A GCB needs to be at least 1,400 square metres with only 40 per cent allocated to the living quarters, leaving 60 percent of luscious green with luxurious amenities complimenting the bungalow.
This year, property prices in Singapore have increased all around and GCBs in the extremely exclusively luxurious end are not left behind. Let’s have a look at the transaction data for 2021 to understand the pricing trend and transactions in the GCB Market. The grand total of approximately SGD$2.05 billion dollars transacted in the year of 2021 up to 20 August 2021 for a total of 68 transactions. These 68 sales totalling S$2.05 billion is up 392% from the 21 transactions worth S$415.8 million in the same period last year as noted by List Sotheby’s International Realty. The last time this luxury landed homes peaked was in 2010, when 120 bungalows were transacted at a total of S$2.24 billion.
In July, within 48 hours of each other, four GCBs transacted with an average expensive price of around S$36 million each in Binjai Park at S$1,318 per sq ft, Swettenham Road at S$1,954 per sq ft, Coronation West Road and Olive Road at S$1,536 per sq ft. The biggest purchase price transacted for a GCB in the year 2021 was S$128,800,800.00 at the cost of S$4,005 per sq ft, the highest per sq ft price and the only one in the whole list. Size has a hand in the record transaction sum, but location is the winning factor. This GCB known as LadyVale Bungalow is 32,159.30 sq ft and is located on the elite affluent Nassim Road between the Botanic Gardens and the Orchard Area. One would think this would be the highest per sq ft price, but the highest per sq ft of S$4,291 belongs to a transaction of a 14,844 sq ft bungalow in Cluny Hill.
While prices appear to have gone up in almost all the 39 GCB areas, the rise is not proportionate. Most of the GCB transacted with a price per sq ft ranging from the lowest at approximately S$1,400 to the highest around S$2,700 with majority closer to the lower end. CBRE Research found that land rates have increased from S$1,419 per sq ft last year to S$1,736 per sq ft this year, a rise of about 22%.
When one is shopping around for a GCB, you know you have made it. Not every affluent person can buy a GCB, you may have the Singapore dollar in abundance, but you need to be qualified in order to purchase. A requirement is that you have to be a Singapore Citizen in order to qualify for a purchase.
Makes you wonder, who are the purchasers of these exorbitantly priced and exclusively categorised residences. The answer, Singapore’s successful tech CEOs or digital economy entrepreneurs after having made a good sum from digitalization spurred by the pandemic. Investing in a GCB is an asset investment that makes a good status symbol.