SPANISH tycoon Ricardo Portabella Peralta continues to expand his portfolio of conservation shophouses in Singapore, paying nearly S$22.1 million for a three-storey conservation shophouse at 29 Stanley Street in the Central Business District (CBD).
This reflects a whopping premium of about 36 per cent to the previous transacted price for the property less than a year ago.
The seller, a seasoned property investor with interests in the fresh produce trade and food & beverage business, paid nearly S$16.2 million for the property in the second half of last year, The Business Times understands.
Located near the Telok Ayer MRT Station, the shophouse is on a site with 99-year leasehold tenure starting from Dec 17, 1990, leaving nearly 71 years' balance lease.
The price being paid by an entity linked to Mr Peralta works out to S$3,400 per square foot (psf) based on the the property's gross floor area (GFA) of about 6,500 sq ft. Some market watchers consider this to be on the high side.
The price the seller had paid for the property last year worked out to around S$2,490 psf on GFA.
BT reported last month that tycoon SP Tao's vehicle Shing Kwan is selling 87 and 88 Amoy Street, also on a site with nearly 71 years' balance land lease, for about S$39 million; this translates to around S$2,664 psf on the total GFA of 14,641 sq ft.
That said, Duck & Hippo group founder James Heng last year paid S$4,259 psf on estimated built-up area for 21 Boon Tat Street, though that property is on a site with 999-year leasehold tenure.
All three properties - on Boon Tat, Amoy and Stanley streets - are within the Telok Ayer Conservation Area, a buzzing F&B and lifestyle hub in Singapore's CBD.
At 29 Stanley Street, the ground floor is leased to modern sushi and cocktail bar Chi Kinjo. The upper levels are approved for office use.
The shophouse is Mr Peralta's latest acquisition on Stanley Street, where he owns, among other properties, the next-door unit at No 30, which he bought in 2016.
Other locations where entities linked to him are understood to own shophouses include Telok Ayer Street, Amoy Street, Boon Tat Street, Pagoda Street, Ann Siang Road and Craig Road.
Industry observers say things are looking up for the shophouse market. Last July's cooling measures targeting the residential property sector have helped to divert investment interest, including from foreigners, to the commercial property segment. Conservation shophouses, especially in the CBD and Chinatown (Districts 1 and 2), stand out for their scarcity value.
Moreover, they offer relatively higher yields and are easier to get financing for, compared with residential properties.
And whereas there are restrictions on the purchase of landed residential properties by foreigners, they may freely buy shophouses on sites that are fully zoned commercial.
This gives them ownership of the land title, and therein lies the attraction of such shophouses to foreigners.