Houses of the rich and famous: The prices of these 2021 GCB purchases might make your eyes water

The Nassim Road good class bungalow purchased by Jin Xiaoqun, the wife of Nanofilm Technologies International founder Dr Shi Xu.
PHOTO: The Straits Times file

You've probably heard of the five Cs that are said to define success in Singapore: cash, car, credit card, condominium and country club membership. But when it comes to living in luxury, there's no comparison to a Good Class Bungalow (GCB).

Not every bungalow is a GCB, though.

The property has to have a land area of at least 1,400 square metres (sq m), or 15,070 square feet (sq ft), and has to be within the 39 gazetted GCB areas - think prime locations such as Caldecott Hill Estate, Cluny Hill and Nassim Road.

The bungalow itself also is limited to 35 per cent of the plot and a maximum height of two storeys.

There are only about 2,800 such plots in Singapore and they all come with a hefty price tag.


With the price of a GCB averaging $30 million in 2021, according to List Sotheby's International Realty, it's no surprise that each purchase makes headlines.

So, let's look at some of the GCBs which changed hands this year and their sky-high prices.

Secretlab CEO spends $51m on GCB and penthouse

In June 2021, Secretlab CEO Ian Ang bought two properties at one go —  a $36 million GCB at Olive Road spanning 23,424 sq ft and a $15 million five-bedroom penthouse at Leedon Residence.

The reason? Ian, intends to live in his penthouse while his bungalow is being torn down and rebuilt.

According to the vice-president of residential at CBRE, Stephen Ho, who represented Ian in the transactions, the penthouse also serves as an investment.

"Its views and privacy are plus points," he told The Straits Times. founder Tommy Ong buys $63.7m Cluny Hill plot

The tech entrepreneur reportedly sold his start-up in April, the same month he bought his 14,844 sq ft GCB at $4,291 psf.

The property was previously owned by the Soh family, who owns lifestyle developer Meir Homes.

The family told EdgeProp that they initially had no intention to sell the house, but were moved by Tommy's sincerity, saying, "We had no opening price and he just made an offer."

In fact, Tommy was so set on the GCB that he even paid a $19.1m down payment upfront.

Grab CEO's family lands bungalow near Holland Village for $40m

Shortly after Ian's property purchase made headlines, Chloe Tong, the wife of Grab CEO Anthony Tan, also made the news with her $40m GCB buy.

The Bin Tong Park property spans 21,637 sq ft and has a bungalow built in the 1990s, which will likely be redeveloped, said media reports.

TikTok CEO snaps up Queen Astrid Park property for $86m

Chew Shou Zi joined the list of tech CEOs who splurged on GCBs this year with his 31,800 sq ft 999-year leasehold property.

According to The Business Times, the $2,700 psf price is on the higher side as a fair price for a property in the area would usually be around $2,000 to $2,100 psf. 

He is also expected to redevelop the bungalow on the site, which appears to be dilapidated.

Nanofilm founder's wife splashes $128.8m on Nassim Road GCB

Jin Xiaoqun, the wife of Nanofilm Technologies International founder Dr Shi Xu, secured her GCB in the prime area of Nassim Road for a whopping $128.8m, or $4,005 psf.

While some might balk at the price of the 32,160 sq ft plot, it's considered "fair" as the land is "one of the best plots on Nassim Road", KH Tan, the managing director of Newsman Realty, told EdgeProp.

Viz Branz CEO pays $48m for Swettenham Close property

Ben Chng, who helms home-grown beverage brand Viz Branz, paid $48m for the freehold 16,598 sq ft property.

The property is near Botanic Gardens and has "sweeping views" of the estate, according to EdgeProp.

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