Singapore crypto billionaire looking to buy $48.8m GCB as trustee for 3-year-old

Located at 18A Yarwood Avenue, the two-storey bungalow is a resort-like, Balinese-styled home with a basement and swimming pool.
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Zhu Su, Singapore crypto billionaire and his wife, Tao Yaqiong Evelyn, were recently granted an option to buy a GCB in Yarwood Avenue for $48.8 million. This property will be bought in trust under their three-year-old.

The property is a Good Class Bungalow (GCB) in the Kilburn Estate Area. It is a 999-year leasehold site that is ripe for redevelopment. The two-storey bungalow has six bedrooms and sits on 31,862 square feet of land, which works out to be $1,532 per square foot (psf).

GCBs are the highest form of prestigious landing housing available in Singapore. There are only 39 gazetted GCB Areas, each with its own distinctive characteristics. All GCBs are required to adhere to the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s strict guidelines to preserve a specific land area size and low-rise characteristics.

Currently, Zhu and Tao are understood to be residing in a strata landed home in the Balmoral area owned by Zhu.

Why buy a property in trust?

One of the most common reasons why parents buy properties in trust under their children’s name is to avoid hefty additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) fees. With the recent ABSD increments, Zhu Su would have had to cough up $8.3 million in ABSD, assuming this would have been his second property.

That being said, there are a few downsides to this, although we doubt Zhu Su and his family would face any of them.

1. You will need a much higher cash outlay

Most properties bought in trust require a higher cash outlay. While it’s not impossible to get a loan, buyers are usually required to cough up 100 per cent cash repayment for the property. We don’t foresee this to be a problem for Zhu Su though, not with the wealth he has amassed through crypto.

2. Your child can act against your will with regards to the property

With your child now being the legal owner of the property, he or she has the power to sell the property before pocketing the cash. In this case, the risk for this would be low as Zhu Su’s three-year-old is probably still preoccupied with learning how to form full sentences.

3. Your child may suffer the drawbacks of being a private property owner

This means your child would probably not be able to buy a HDB, or another private property without incurring ABSD. But looking as to how Zhu Su’s child’s first property is a GCB coveted by many, we would say the trade-off seems fair.

4. Messing up the mortgage will affect child’s creditworthiness

If you’re buying a property through your child, he or she will be the one listed as a borrower. Should the parents be unable to pay for the property, the child might have to pay it out of pocket or be prosecuted in place.

Furthermore, late payments may affect the child’s future creditworthiness, and make it hard for them to get important loans later on. In Zhu Su’s case, we doubt this will be top of their concern. This GCB will probably be a small portion of the huge inheritance Zhu Su will likely leave behind.

Zhu Su’s meteoric rise in the crypto world

Zhu Su is the co-founder, CEO and CIO of Three Arrows Capital, a Singapore-based crypto hedge fund.

Together with his high school and Columbia University mate Kyle Davis, they left their jobs as traders at Credit Suisse in 2012 and founded Three Arrows Capital at the kitchen table of their apartment. They got their start trading traditional currencies in emerging markets before diversifying into options, equities and crypto. By 2018, the firm’s sole focus was on crypto.

Three Arrow Capitals also runs a fund, DeFinance Capital, which invests in decentralised finance. Some of their investments include InsurAce, which provides insurance services, and CDEX, a cryptocurrency swap platform. Other notable investments include Mintable, a Singapore-based non-fungible token (NFT) startup backed by Mark Cuban, as well as popular block chain game Axie Infinity.

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Zhu and Davies, both 34, are amongst the group of young millionaires and billionaires that arose from the meteoric boom of cryptocurrencies over the recent years. In the past year alone, the price of Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency by market value, has risen by more than 100 per cent, bringing it to an all-time high of US$68,000 (S$93,000) in Nov 2021.

They are said to be now among the world’s biggest crypto holders, with their portfolio being worth billions of dollars.

While Zhu Su has resisted talking about his wealth openly on social media, this purchase serves as an indicator as to how deep his pockets are.

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According to 99.co’s Researcher tool, PSF prices of landed homes in the vicinity of Yarwood Avenue have been on the rising trend, with a huge jump in PSF between 2020 and 2021.

The Yarwood bungalow is understood to be under a company owned by three members of the Guok family linked to Soon Lee Holdings.

The family sold their Zion Mansion property early in 2021 for $56.7 million, or about $1,325 psf on a land area of 42,770 sq ft. It is a low-rise apartment block featuring dual frontages on Holland Rise and East Sussex Lane, situated within the Holland Rise GCB Area.

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Between 2017 to 2021, the price of Zion Mansion has skyrocketed by a whopping 41.87 per cent.

This article was first published in 99.co.