Many of us know Eng Neo Avenue as that long winding road that connects Bukit Timah Road to PIE. It was even more congested back when the Turf Club was still operating off Eng Neo Avenue between 1933-1999. The Grandstand now occupies the space, as with Bukit Timah Saddle Club, which offered recreational horse riding activities here since 1951.
The GCBA is named after Tan Eng Neo, wife of Gaw Boon Chan. Gaw was the founder of Ho Ho Biscuit Factory who purchased the land in 1900 before being murdered in 1911. Tan Eng Neo passed on in 1941 at her residence at 23 Newton Rd (L’Viv condo today). Eng Neo Avenue is very likely the only Good Class Bungalow Area to be named after a woman, and one of 2 to be named after an Asian, with the other being Oei Tiong Ham Park.
This GCBA occupies just a small square plot of just about ~30+ houses along Eng Neo Avenue. It comprises of mainly Black & White bungalows (about 20 of them and basic look ones) which were probably built by Bukit Timah Rubber Estate after Tan Eng Neo’s estate sold the land in the late 1940s.
Since they are likely held by SLA, the number of transactions here are very limited. There were only 4 transactions in this GCBA between 2006 to 2020.
Interestingly, the SLA had launched 2 separate plots on 99 Years tender in 2007 for the public to purchase – one of which is 70 Eng Neo Ave has already been resold, albeit at a loss of $1m. It’s crazy to think how people were willing to swallow losses in the past – just look at how bullish the current market is.
July 2006 – 102A Eng Neo Ave: $10.9m – 20,085sqft ($540 psf) Jun 2013 – 70 Eng Neo Ave: $14.8m – 16,690sqft ($887 psf) Jun 2015 – 114 Eng Neo Ave: $9.8m – 6,739 sqft ($1,454 psf) Jan 2018 – 112 Eng Neo Ave: $23.3m – 17,067 sqft ($1,365 psf)
Camden Park is the 2nd smallest GCBA after Rebecca Park and occupies a nice little rectangle located off Adam Road, yielding just ~26 GCBs. Its origins come either from the London Borough of Camden or the Battle of Camden in South Carolina (1780). My bet is on the former given our British colonial past.
In recent years, the most famous GCB here is perhaps Envirohub CEO Raymond Ng‘s 34,000 sqft Tang Dynasty inspired home (#1). It is on the market for $63m and the Youtube video has garnered 600k views. Raymond is a serial property investor and developer who also listed his 69,000 sqft GCB at Yarwood Ave for sale at ~$90m and developed some 200+k sqft of GCB land at Bishopsgate back in the 2000s, after purchasing the plot from HSBC for just $252 psf. He also developed Lumiere and The Arc at Draycott as part of his property portfolio.
Owners in this GCBA are said to include / once have included Venture Corp CEO Wong Ngit Liong, Kian Ho Bearings (now Raffles United) Managing Director Teo Teng Beng, whose delisted firm has 3 executives charged with false trading in July 2021.
Others also include property developer Nanshan Group’s Song family , who purchased their 29,150 sqft home here for $40m ($1,373 psf) and top AIA agent Mary Chen.
This GCBA is named after Sir Andrew Caldecott, Acting Governor of the Straits Settlement in 1934. The sprawling GCBA, the 3rd largest after Chatsworth Park and Ridout Park, once belonged to Novroji Mistri, founder of the Phoenix Aerated Water Co and a philanthropist, after whom Shenton Way’s Mistri Rd and SGH’s Mistri Wing was named after.
Caldecott Hill is perhaps most famous for being the former home of Mediacorp and its predecessor, the British Malayan Broadcasting Corp since the 1930s. The 752,015 sqft site has since been sold in Dec 2020 to Perennial Real Estate on a 99 Yrs lease. They will be redeveloped into 67x 2-storey bungalows of 800sqm each. The breakeven price for each bungalow in expected to be $9-10m. With a smaller land plot and a 99 yr lease, it represents a lower barrier entry into a GCBA and is similar to what was done with Capitaland’s Victoria Park Villas.
More recently in June 2021, this GCBA made the news after Ian Ang, co-founder of gaming chair co Secretlab bought his 23,424sqft GCB at 27 Olive Rd for $36m ($1537psf), smashing the psf record here. It’s just a pity that he will be tearing down what I’d say is a charming old house built in the 1940s. The last txn done was for 44 Andrew Rd sold at $20.5m ($744psf) in Nov 2020.
Despite its GCB status, it is located very near the Toa Payoh HDB estate, which means that cheap & good food await you. HDB also announced plans to build new BTOs at Caldecott MRT, prompting a wave of GCB listings when news broke out in 2017. This GCBA is also home to the famous row of florists along Thomson Rd, including Far East Flora.
Famous owners here include Bryan Lim, CEO of precision manufacturer SinCo and Wendy Yap, CEO of Indonesian bread maker Nippon Indosari.
Binjai Park is named after the eponymous tree that used to populate this entire estate. These trees continue to be found in some homes here. The roads here include Binjai Walk, Binjai Hill and Binjai Rise.
Located just off Dunearn Rd, Binjai Park is adjacent to the Swiss Club GCBA and close to King Albert Park MRT. It is also opposite longstanding condos such as Maplewoods and Tessarina. Unique to this GCBA is the presence of a Caltex petrol kiosk and a row of shops including F&B outlets such as a coffee shop, LINO and Ivin’s Peranakan, clinics among many others. There are also private walkup apartments above these shops.
Latest txns are: Mar 21 – $22.8m (21,694sqft – $1,051psf) Mar 21 – $17.1m (10,046sqft – $1,700psf) Jan 21 – $31.4m (22,652sqft – $1,384psf) with the original owner purchasing at just $305psf in 2005, reaping a 450% return over 16 years Dec 20 – $13.5m (14,004sqft – $964psf)
Prominent owners past & present include gynae Dr S.Lavan Iswaran, CEO of engineering co Yongnam Hldgs Seow Soon Yong, Tru-Marine Director Loke Yuen Kong, nephew of UOB Emeritus Chairman Wee Cho Yaw, Wee Boo Kuan and Tim Hartnoll, Exec Chairman of X-Press Feeders, world’s largest independent common carrier.
The origins of this GCBA should be obvious. Its history is tied to the Swiss population in Singapore – first the Swiss Rifle Shooting Club (an impressive 300m range) founded in 1871 before that gave rise to the Swiss Club, whose clubhouse was designed by H R Arbenz in 1927.
This GCBA was formerly a tapioca and coffee estate and is one of the larger GCBAs in Singapore as it includes Jln Kampong Chantek, Ascot Rise and Jln Senandong, with the latter 2 being small roads. Swiss Club Road is a pretty long stretch by itself. Location wise, it is off Dunearn Rd and sits between Binjai Park GCBA and Turf Club.
At the peak of the Swiss Club estate sits this row of condos (La Suisse 1 and 2) and terrace houses at the hilly Swiss View. It is 1.9km before you can even see a main road (Dunearn Rd) in sight. Well, I guess that’s what you call ‘exclusivity’ (or uluness, whichever you prefer). What they also get is also a panoramic view of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (and PIE).
There are no ‘good schools’ within a 1km radius from a Singaporean perspective. However, there is an international education cluster right here. There is (of course) the Swiss School, Hollandse School, Repton Schoolhouse, Korean Int’l School and Chatsworth Int’l School right here. The British Club is here as well.
Owners past and present in this GCBA are rumoured to include billionaire Kwee Liong Seen of Pontiac Land, philanthropist Mary-Ann Tsao of Tsao Foundation, whose wealth came from IMC, a shipping company. Others include Sat Pal Khattar, founding partner of law firm KhattarWong, whose wealth also came from astute investments such as an early stake in HDFC bank. Frank Wong, former Vice Chairman of DBS and former NatSteel CEO Oo Soon Hee are also said to live here.
Brizay Park GCBA is accessed via Old Holland Rd / Wilby Rd and shares a common boundary as Garlick Ave GCBA. The Old Holland Rd area is home ground for the MGS Alumnae given its <1km distance. The nearest MRT is King Albert Park, which will be within a 12-15 min walk for most homes here.
It is also at the fringe of the massive Clementi Forest / Green Corridor and the URA Masterplan has identified a 34ha site at Holland Plain to be developed in some 2,500 homes. Till then, the huge grass patch and Holland Green Linear Park serve as great places to exercise and play some football.
This GCBA was named after Emile Brizay, a French structural engineer who also designed the Old Fort Factory and Church of St Teresa. Brizay Park was originally constructed in 1935 with 5 reinforced concrete houses but only 1 remains – 1 Brizay Park, which looks poorly maintained and unoccupied.
Prominent owners in this GCBA / area include Yun Nam Hair Care’s Andy Chua, who purchased his 29,785 sqft home for $33m ($1,108psf) in 2016. He already owns an adjoining plot of 25,750 sqft and sure looks to be amalgamating the 2 plots. Benjamin Ngiam, Managing Director of SGX listed IPC Corporation, which owns several hotels in Japan also stays at Brizay Park.
This GCBA also includes Old Holland Rd, where owners include hair and beauty salons veteran (& boutique property developer) Jean Yip, Teo Hock Seng, Managing Director of car dealer Komoco Motors, who has local distributorships to Ferrari, Maserati, Hyundai and Harley-Davidson amongst others and boutique property developer Victor Ow of Clydesbuilt Group, who developed the nearby Eleven@Holland.
Bin Tong Park is probably my favourite GCBA of the lot. There is just something charming about its winding and hilly surroundings. It helps that its (relatively inaccessible) location amidst other GCBAs (Belmont Park, Rebecca Park and Leedon Park) affords the homes here more peace and tranquility. The origins of its name comes from the translation of “east citizen”.
Nevertheless, if you drive (which 100% of owners here probably do), Holland Village is close by with NYPS, RGPS and Henry Park within a 2km radius.
Famous owners past and present include OSIM’s billionaire founder Ron Sim, descendants of former Ngee Ann Kongsi President the late Lim Kee Ming whose son is low profile businessman Kaling Lim, who was an early investor and mentor to Razer with his stake said to be worth $1bn now. He is also Chairman of his family’s century old business Lim Teck Lee and founding investor of NASDAQ listed Premisys Communications.
Latest transactions include a 28,111sqft home sold for $37.6m ($1,338psf) in Sept ’20. 5 Bin Tong, a colonial styled single storey 28,109sqft house had an asking price of $42m ($1,494psf) in 2019. 65 Bin Tong , a 23,269sqft GCB was sold for $48m ($2,063psf). It was recently rebuilt by Ong&Ong for $10m and originally bought for $15m in 2007.
White House Park was originally a 54-acre nutmeg and betel nut plantation owned by bookkeeper turned auctioneer Gilbert Angus in the early 1800s before it was later sold to F&N founder John Fraser.
There were originally 4 houses in this estate, all built in the 19th century – Whitehouse (1862), Glencaird (1897), Cree Hall and Sentosa (1875-1880). Unfortunately, of the 4 original houses, only Glencaird remains at 15 White House Park and was originally designed by the famed R.A.J Bidwell.
Glencaird became the official residence of the Australia High Commissioner in 1947 and was given conservation status in 1991. The 194,000sqft plot was later sold to Wheelock Properties fr $98m ($505psf) in 1996 and another 11 GCBs were built on the plot of land whilst conserving Glencaird. The 11 GCBs were designed by Ernesto Bedmar, completed in 1999 and sold at ~$14m each ($838psf) while Glencaird was only sold in 2007 for $28.8m ($1308psf), making it the most expensive GCB back then. How times have changed – the most expensive GCB sold now is 33 Nassim Rd at $230m ($2720psf).
WHP is located off Stevens Road and is parallel / contiguous with the Dalvey Estate GCBA. I always thought this GCB’s name had something to do with US President’s official residence but it’s probably named after the 1st house built in this estate instead.
Recent transactions include a 35,290sqft unit sold for $60m ($1600psf) in Jun ’20 while another 15,125sqft sold for $25.5m ($1686psf) in 2016. Past and present owners in this GCBA are said to include Wee Cho Yaw’s (UOB Chairman Emeritus) nephew Wee Boo Tee.
Located just adjacent to the Bukit Sedap GCBA, Maryland Estate GCBA is similarly located just off Holland Rd. This GCBA is on a sloping ground comprising of a no-through road and one that is contiguous with Greenleaf Road.
This estate is likely to be named after Henrietta Marie (1605-1667), wife of Britain’s King Charles I although there is also an eponymous American state.
This GCBA made news in Jul 2018 when Mothership ran an article on a 19,000 sqft GCB listed for $33m marketed by @propertylimbrothers It was possibly the 1st time video marketing was done for a GCB. An old 21,912 sqft home was also sold for $30m ($1,369psf) in Nov 2019. In May 2020, a 21,863sqft GCB in original condition was also being marketed for $27m ($1,235psf) with no indication as to whether it was eventually sold.
Past and present owners in this GCBA are rumoured to include Falcon Energy’s CEO Tan Pong Tyea, Aarti Lohia, scion of the billionaire Indorama Holdings, who now runs the Lohia Foundation, which has funded education and healthcare initiatives in India and beyond. Financial restructuring expert Chan Heng Fai who has helped to turnaround firms as SingHaiYi, Global Medical REIT, China Gas and American Pacific Bank and WongPartnership Director Chee Yuet Mei also reportedly own / have owned homes in this GCBA.
Credits to Robert Powell (Singapore Good Class Bungalow 1819-2015)
Bukit Sedap GCBA is the smallest GCBA in Singapore, occupying just 3.15ha (339,000 sqft) of land in total. For reference, D’Leedon (840,000 sqft) is more than 2x larger.
Located just off Holland Rd and beside the Maryland Estate GCBA, Bukit Sedap is also at the fringe of the massive Clementi Forest / Green Corridor, which is 85ha large (10,000x 4-room HDB flats) and is Singapore’s 2nd largest wildlife habitat after Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Henry Park Pri is also within 1km for some of these homes. As for the origins of its name, Sedap of course, translates from Malay as ‘delicious/tasty’ and potentially refers to fruit grown in the area in the past.
While I have tried to showcase different GCBs found at Bukit Sedap, majority of them (~15) are actually owned by the same developer, with facades and features (swimming pools) a carbon copy of each other. They were developed by Singapore’s largest developer, Far East Organisation. If I am not mistaken, these GCBAs continue to be owned by them as part of their Villas Holland series and are rented at ~$25k/month. No wonder Ng Teng Fong was Singapore’s richest man for so many years.
An old GCB at Bukit Sedap was listed for sale in Aug at $18m for 15,565sqft ($1,156psf) of land, down from its original $23m presumably due to the ongoing pandemic.
Credits to Robert Powell (Singapore Good Class Bungalow 1819-2015) for the history of Bukit Sedap.