Kilburn Estate Good Class Bungalow GCB Review, District 21, Singapore

Kilburn Estate was likely named after an area in London within the Borough of Camden although the one here does not actually contain any road bearing such a name. Instead, Yarwood Ave forms the bulk of this GCBA with Wilmonar Ave and Denham Close being the minor roads. It is bounded by Dunearn Road and the landed estates of Hua Guan Ave and Jln Wajek, the latter of which is adjacent to the Rail Corridor.

The closest MRT is King Albert Park, with Link896 (formerly the Sime Darby Centre) and Esso being recognisable spots at the start of Yarwood Ave. The GCBs are about 200m away from Dunearn Rd, providing a more peaceful environment for residents. It’s a rather leafy estate, especially when you get to the cul-de-sacs and has a number of sizeable black and white bungalows.

For example, 27 and 29 Yarwood Ave make up almost 82,000 sqft of land. For those interested in purchasing a unit here, 23 Yarwood with an even more massive 69,000 sqft of land is on the market for about $90m. The seller is reportedly serial property investor Raymond Ng, who is also the CEO of listed company Envirohub so I am curious as to why he might not have considered redeveloping this plot of land himself.

There have been quite a number of transactions this year for a relatively small GCBA. In recent news, 34 year old crypto billionaire Zhu Su purchased a 31,862 sqft home in their 3 year old child’s name at $48.8m ($1,532psf) in Dec 2021. What a crazy world we live in today… (July 2022 Update: Zhu Su is selling his Yarwood GCB following the bankruptcy of his firm Three Arrows Capital)

Other transactions include:
Aug’21 – $23.2m ($1503psf) – 15,422 sqft
Apr’21 – $23.1m ($1,221psf) – 18,911 sqft
Jan’21 – $19.8m ($1,225psf) – 16,163 sqft


Garlick Avenue Good Class Bungalow GCB Review, District 10, Singapore

Garlick Avenue is located off Bukit Timah Road and can be accessed primarily from Old Holland Road or Sixth Avenue. Accordingly, it is very close to the 34ha site at Holland Plain (or commonly known as Old Holland Rd Field) which will yield some 2,500 new homes as part of the URA Masterplan.

This GCBA was named after Dr George Herbert Garlick, Medical Director of the Singapore Antituberculosis Association. Born in London to Dr George Garlick, he was educated at Epsom College and St Mary’s Hospital Medical School before qualifying as a doctor in 1912. He was a radiologist by training and Principal Medical Officer of the Johor State. He was accorded the Dato honorific by the Sultan of Johor for his contributions, which included setting up a nursing school, a hospital and extensive rural public health training. He served with the British Army during WWII as a radiologist and was a Prisoner of War at Changi before re-establishing the radiology department at today’s KK Hospital. He is buried at the Bidadari Garden Cemetery after he passed on in Switzerland in 1959.

Among the recent transactions in this GCBA was Singapore’s richest billionaire Goh Cheng Liang’s purchase of a palatial 101,550 sqft mansion from Thye Hong Biscuit Co for $93m in Sept 2020. After factoring in provisions for roads, this plot can be subdivided into up to 6 GCBs. Not that the Goh family needs that extra cash anyway. This is arguably the largest plot in this relatively small GCBA.

Other transactions include:
Jun 2021: $23.5m ($1427 psf) – 16,464 sqft
Apr 2021: $11.3m ($1225 psf) – 9,222 sqft
Sept 2020: $37.5m ($1660 psf) – 22,595 sqft
Jul 2020: $16.8m ($873 psf) – 19,248 sqft.

Prominent residents in this GCBA past and present are rumoured to also include Sustained Land’s Douglas Ong, a boutique developer who has been relatively active in the new launch market with 3 Cuscaden, Sky Everton, One Meyer and Coastline Residences among their launches. Others include Nelly Rolles, shareholder of Poh Tiong Choon Logistics and Swiss wine industrialist Emil Strickler.


Victoria Park Good Class Bungalow GCB Review, District 10, Singapore

Victoria Park GCBA includes Kingsmead Rd and Victoria Park Cl but this GCBA is dominated by the sprawling 403,012sqft Victoria Park Villas by Capitaland. The 106 semi-Ds + 3 bungalows were designed by Mok Wei Wei alongside his equally acclaimed peers Hyla, Ar43 and Studio Willis Architects. These homes stand out not only because it’s one of the largest developments in a GCBA but also bc of its 99 year tenure. Thankfully for Capitaland, all were fully sold by the time they were built at $4-8m for the semi-ds (2,153sqft-6,943sqft) and $8-9m for the bungalows (10,904-11,539sqft), with about 50% of buyers <40 years old.

Bounded by Farrer Road and Tan Kah Kee MRTs, some homes in this GCBA are within walking distance to the 2 MRT stations. The biggest appeal in this GCBA however, is its 1km radius to Nanyang Pri.

This GCBA’s name was taken from a 49ha nutmeg plantation on Mt Victoria, which was recorded on Singapore’s 1846 map. In turn, Mt Victoria was named after Queen Victoria’s accession, the 2nd longest reigning British monarch (1837-1901).

Former/current owners in this GCBA are said to include Alibaba’s Jack Ma, Chairman of SGX & ST Engin Kwa Chong Seng, CK Tang’s Tang Wee Sung, Scotts Holdings (defunct) scion & property tycoon Iqbal Jumabhoy, Kuok Group scion Kay Kuok, corporate lawyer and former Minister of State Tang See Chim, late Ho Wah Onn, name partner of law firm Haridass Ho & Partners, lawyer Wong Meng Yeng of Alliance LLC, gynecologist Dr Loke Yue Nam, CEO of Fine Wines Singapore Lo Bok Nan, CEO of Straits Construction Wong Chee Herng, former CK Tang CEO Foo Tiang Sooi, ambassador Quek Poh Huat, serial entrepreneur William Liu, CEO of PGIM’s private capital arm Josephine Au Yeong and 1969 President’s Scholar BG(Ret) Wesley D’aranjo.


Holland Park Good Class Bungalow GCB Review, District 10, Singapore

Holland Park is bounded by Holland Road and the GCB areas of Ridout Road and Pierce Road. It takes its name from Hugh Holland, an architect, amateur actor and early resident of the area.

This GCBA is closely tied with the billionaire Lien family, who derived their wealth from Overseas Union Bank, and continues to hold a 5% stake in UOB following their $10Bn merger in 2001. The sale included their hospitality assets held through OUE, including the landmark Mandarin Orchard Hotel built in 1971, the tallest hotel in SEA then. OUE was sold to Lippo’s Riady family in 2006. Today, the Lien family operate their private investments through their family office, Wah Hin & Co and are actively involved in philanthropy through the Lien Foundation, which was started in 1980 with half of Lien Ying Chow’s net worth. Talk about being ahead of his time!

At the mouth of Holland Park is the Lien Towers, a 12-storey building with just 24 identical units at 5,048 sqft each. The last transaction was in Jun 2021, at $8.4m ($1,657 psf) and still off its historical high of $1,882 psf in 2012.

Following Lien Ying Chow’s passing, their sprawling 100,000 sqft GCB was redeveloped into 6 GCBs (Lien Villas Collective) with 1 retaining the original grandeur of the home, with each being designed by different architects – K2LD’s Screen House, Ministry of Design’s Zig Zag House, Edmund Ng’s Raw House, Terre, PODesign’s 8 Box House & Zarch Collaboratives.

Eminent residents here are said to include the billionaire Song family of China’s Nanshan Group, former Rajah & Tann Senior Partner Chen Choong Joong and former Venture Ccorp Chief Technology Officer Thian Nie Khian.

Past transactions:
May’21 – $24.5m ($1699psf) – 14,416 sqft
Dec’16 – $25.5m ($1691psf) – 15,080 sqft
Nov’14 – $30m ($1991psf) – 15,071 sqft


Gallop Road / Woolerton Park Good Class Bungalow, District 10, Singapore

This GCBA’s name has origins tracing back to John Frazer’s nutmeg plantation in the 1830s, where the land was used for exercising horses. Woollerton Park, having previously been named Gallop Hill, was only named in 1949 after the last pre-war General Manager of Asiatic Petroleum Co (Shell today). Interestingly, this GCBA also shares the name (albeit with spelling differences) with a tourist landmark in the city where I went to university.

This is one of the larger GCBAs, bordered by Farrer Road, Tyersall Road, Cluny Hill GCBA and Singapore Botanic Gardens. In fact, a gate along Woollerton Drive leads you directly to the Gallop Extension of Botanic Gardens. Don’t think you can get any closer to nature!

The Gallop Extension leads you to where the restored Atbara and Inverturret houses are. This pair of houses have often been (mistakenly) identified as Singapore’s first Black & White bungalows. Built by the famed R.A.J Bidwell for lawyer John Burkinshaw (his firm Donaldson & Burkinshaw still exists), they were left in disrepair after the French embassy vacated it in 1999. Thankfully, they have now been beautifully restored to house the Forest Discovery Centre and Botanical Art Gallery for the enjoyment of Singaporeans and tourists alike. You can check out more details on the history by The Long & Winding Road here.

A couple of interesting points about its surroundings. Tyersall Road is where the abandoned Istana Woodneuk is located, and the total land area of more than 2mil sqft is said to be worth $4.5Bn by the Sultan of Johore. It was also the inspiration behind Young’s family home in Crazy Rich Asians.

As for Woollerton Park, its location just off Farrer Road also makes it very convenient, with some GCBAs less than 5 mins walk from the MRT and close to amenities offered by the nearby HDB estate. There also a couple of condominium projects in this area, including the Woollerton Park Condo, Gallop Green and Gallop Gables, with the latter 2 being built by Straits Trading Limited. In particular, Gallop Gables has oft been cited as a potential en-bloc site, as it has just 140 units on 250,000 sqft of land, making it ripe for redevelopment. The only downside is that it sits on a long, slightly irregular plot of land that lacks the wide frontage expected of a luxurious development in District 10.

Back to the GCBA itself, in Jan 2021, Singapore’s richest man Zhang Yong of Haidilao fame broke this GCBA’s psf record by paying $42m ($1,940 psf) for the 21,649 sqft house. It is also beside his $27m ($1,700 psf) Winged House by K2LD Architects purchased in 2016.

Other prominent occupants are said to include billionaire Bachtiar Karim (Chairman, Musim Mas), Chua Phuay Hee (former CFO, Keppel TatLee Bank), David Low (CEO, Futuristic Store Fixtures), David Toh (former Head of Corporate Tax, PwC), Koh Kok Kwang (Director, CTLC Law), Teo Soo Chew (former Chairman, SHC Capital).

Other transactions:
Jul 2021 – $18m ($1,902psf) – 9,463 sqft
Nov 2020 – $24.2m ($1,610psf) – 15,004 sqft
Aug 2020 – $35m ($1,273 psf) – 27,491 sqft

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Thiam Siew Avenue En Bloc – End Of An Era

Thiam Siew Avenue comprises of some 25 houses with a mix of semi-ds and bungalows, making up almost 265,000 sqft of land. It is a dual lane road connecting Tanjong Katong Road to Haig Road in prime District 15. The lane is surrounded by high rise condos such as Butterworth 8, Versilia on Haig and Questa @ Dunman among others. In late Nov 2021, this site was sold for $815m ($1,488 psf) to a Hoi Hup & Sunway JV, making this the largest enbloc land sale since the 2018 enbloc fever.

The redeveloped site can contain up to 800 units and is expected to cost around $2,500 psf, setting a new benchmark for the Haig Road / Tanjong Katong vicinity.

Named after property magnate and hotelier Wee Thiam Siew in 1940, this sale marks the end of an era for the low profile family, having held the houses for almost 80 years. They also used to own the surrounding plots including what is now Dunman View and Questa @ Dunman condos, having sold them a couple of decades ago.

Of note, Wee made his fortune as the former Chairman of Ban Leong & Co (which was in the business of cigars, cigarettes and tobacco) and the owner of the 7th Storey Hotel at Rochor and Lion City Hotel / Hollywood Theatre close by at Tanjong Katong. He was educated St Joseph’s Institution and Raffles Institution before working as telegraphist for the then Eastern Extension Telegraph Co at age 16.

Together with his brothers Wee Thiam Kee and Wee Thiam Leong, he helped to grow Ban Leong & Co’s tobacco empire before diversifying into real estate. He built the iconic 7th Storey Hotel at Rochor that was eventually acquired by the government for the Downtown Line construction.

Of the 25 houses, most were built during the early 1940s, as you can identify from their unique colonial inspired architecture that is becoming increasingly rare these days. Alas, these too will be gone in no time. These photos here are meant to encapsulate a soon to be bygone era when the new swanky towers come up.

[April 2022 Update] Enriched by the sale, Wee Thiam Siew’s descendants have gone on to purchase their own individual properties. This includes Wee Hian Nam’s purchase of a 27,909 sq ft Olive Road GCB at $50.2mil, smashing the GCBA’s record price.

Credits to Edgeprop & The Business Times


Fourth / Sixth Avenue Good Class Bungalow GCB Review, District 10, Singapore

In my previous post, I shared that the First / Third Ave GCBA also includes Second Ave and while that GCBA contains only the “odd” avenues, this one here contains only the “even” ones. Unsurprisingly again, it also includes houses on Fifth Ave, which is actually has a very steep incline as well.

As with First / Third Ave GCBA, it is in the heart of Bukit Timah with Hwa Chong and NJC close by. Its closest MRT is Sixth Ave, which is relatively near for many homes around the area. In fact, Fourth Avenue Residences will just be at the MRT’s doorstep, albeit being of a 99-year tenure. The 476 unit condo has an average psf of $2,414 and is about 73% sold. The other new launch around the vicinity is Royalgreen at Anamalai Avenue, which is a 285 unit condo with an average psf of $2,691 and is about 50% sold.

Compared to First / Third Ave, which consists of only landed properties, this GCBA has quite a few condos. Among them are Fifth Ave Condo, which set the record psf of $1,300 psf in the area when it launched in 1996, just before the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. The latest transaction was for $2.5m for a 2 Bedroom 1,346 sqft unit ($1858 psf) so you could say that the original buyers did not make much of a killing.

On the other hand, the current The Sixth Ave Residences, was the largest enbloc site back in 1996 at 172,000 sqft. Because the property market went into doldrums in the years after, the developers Keppel Land actually had to write down its value significantly before launching the project in 2009 at just $1,000 psf. The latest transaction was for a 1,356 sqft 3 Bedroom unit for $2.61m ($1924 psf), which means that the original buyers made 90+% in just 12 years. Therefore, while we do not expect prices to crash, I think that timing we purchase the property still matters, even if you are not able to catch it at the absolute lowest point.

Although Sixth Avenue has the fewest number of GCBs compared to the other avenues, it is perhaps the most famous of the lot. It connects Bukit Timah Rd to Holland Rd and provides access to neighbouring GCBAs of Queen Astrid Park, Garlick Ave and Maryland Drive. With its location just across from Turf Club, Sixth Ave also used to be heavily congested on the weekends as punters thronged the area until Turf Club relocated in 1999.

There are a couple of more interesting looking houses on Fifth Avenue, which you should check out if you get the chance 🙂 Pretty great views up here as well.

Sixth Avenue is also known for its wide array of dining options – from coffee shops to slightly more upscale restaurants such as Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore. You can also buy your groceries at Cold Storage, have a cuppa at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and some kuehs at Bengawan Solo at Guthrie House. Sixth Avenue also has a number of famous religious sites close by including Masjid Al-Huda at Jalan Haji Alias and Fong Yun Thai Association at Holland Link.

Some of the past transactions include:
Fifth Ave – (2021) $22m (13,508 sqft, $1,629psf)
Sixth Ave – (2021) $5.4m (4,596 sqft, $1,171psf)
Sixth Ave – (2021) $11.2m (4,478sqft, $2,501psf)
24 Fourth Ave – (2017) $25.9m (20,204 sqft, $1,280psf)

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First / Third Avenue Good Class Bungalow, District 10, singapore

Although its official name only has First and Third Ave, this GCBA also unsurprisingly includes Second Ave and parts of Namly Hill and Namly Ave. Many people know this GCBA to be home to our former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong. Fourth / Sixth Avenue belong to another GCBA which I will cover next.

Located in the heart of Bukit Timah, this GCBA is just beside Hwa Chong Institution and opposite National Junior College. Its closest MRT is Sixth Ave, which is relatively near for most homes as the individual avenues are not that long.

Latest transactions are a 14,667 sqft Second Ave home sold for $30m ($2,045psf), 30,954 sqft Third Ave GCB sold for $52.8m ($1,708 psf) to Razer CEO Tan Min Liang, both in July 2021 and a 10,695 sqft First Ave home sold for $13.5m ($1,262 psf).

Famous owners past and present are rumoured to include Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, beleaguered former billionaire Lim Oon Kuin of Hin Leong, Tan Chong Deputy Chairman Joseph Ong, NTU founding President Dr Cham Tao Soon,the late former NOL CEO Lua Cheng Eng, former NOL Deputy CEO Lim How Teck, former ST Engineering COO Tay Siew Choon EVP of fashion apparel manufacturer Luenthai Sunny Tan and Panweld Trading’s Loh family.

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Eng Neo Good Class Bungalow GCB Review, District 11, Singapore

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)

Credits to EdgeProp and Robert Powell.


Holland Rise Good Class Bungalow GCB Review – District 10, Singapore

The Holland Rise GCBA comprises of just 2 no-through roads – Holland Rise and East Sussex Lane. While no through roads are usually hallmarks of exclusivity, its location just off Holland Road is both a boon and a bane.

Boon because it’s the only GCBA on the same side of the road as Lor Mambong and Holland Village MRT and the closest home here is just a 7 min walk away. Bane because being off Holland Rd means pretty heavy traffic (and noise) at times. Geographically, it is also in really close proximity to the high rise HDB flats at Holland Dr and Ghim Moh. Would very much rather be staying in those flats overlooking these houses tbh.

Some houses on this GCBA are still very much in their original condition, which is always a nice touch as they tend to be more spacious with more generous green spaces.

The Pink House is rumoured to be haunted and was put up for sale in 2015 for $41m for its 27,000+ sqft of land with no news if it was eventually sold. A more recent transaction in Dec 2019 involved the purchase of 36,0883 sqft house for $36.88m ($1,000 psf) by the scion of Far East Organisation, Singapore’s largest developer.