Susan Lim sells home at Sentosa Cove for $39m

Straits Times: Fri, Mar 02
   EMBATTLED surgeon Susan Lim has sold her sea-facing bungalow in Sentosa Cove for $39 million, a record absolute price for the upmarket enclave.   It is believed the home – a plush residence said to have five bedrooms and an entertainment room – wa…

EMBATTLED surgeon Susan Lim has sold her sea-facing bungalow in Sentosa Cove for $39 million, a record absolute price for the upmarket enclave.

It is believed the home – a plush residence said to have five bedrooms and an entertainment room – was bought by an Indian national from the energy sector.

A few months ago, his purchase would have attracted the standard 3 per cent stamp duty, but the measures that came in on Dec 8 imposed an additional 10 per cent duty on foreign home buyers.

So the buyer will now have to stump up about $5 million in levies for the privilege of buying Dr Lim’s home.

Sentosa Cove is the only place where non-permanent resident foreigners can buy landed homes, although transactions still need government approval.

Dr Lim’s 15,929 sq ft estate in Cove Drive – likely two adjoining plots that had been merged – was priced at $2,448 per sq ft (psf).

That is well above auction prices achieved for 12 vacant Sentosa Cove bungalow plots in the southern precinct where Cove Drive is located.

Each plot went for between $656 and $1,039 psf in August 2006, or between $5.56 million and $8.15 million each. They do not include the construction costs. But even taking into account these costs, Dr Lim most likely has made a handsome profit from the sale.

The Lim sale smashes the old record of $36 million – or $2,403 psf – paid for a 14,983 sq ft bungalow on Paradise Island in the northern part of Sentosa Cove.

Mr Shen Bin, a Chinese national and Singapore permanent resident, is believed to have bought the property in May 2010.

Mr Shen is said to be the son of billionaire entrepreneur Shen Wenrong, chairman of China-based steel manufacturer Shagang Group.

The island experienced tepid sales volumes last year, so this latest mega-deal could revive the sector.

Only 79 caveats – 24 for landed and 55 for non-landed homes – with a total value of $737.6 million were lodged with the Urban Redevelopment Authority last year.

And there were only 12 new home sales last year, forcing some developers to look towards renting out completed but unsold projects.

The lacklustre 2011 followed a better year when 203 caveats – 62 landed and 141 non-landed homes – with a value of $1.7 billion were lodged.

With 75 caveats lodged, 2008 was the only year with lower sales volumes than 2011 since caveats started being lodged for Sentosa Cove in 2004.

Dr Lim was in the limelight after she took the Singapore Medical Council (SMC), which regulates the medical profession, to court. She had wanted to block an inquiry by a second medical disciplinary committee to look into complaints of overcharging.

There were allegations that she charged a member of the Brunei royal family $24.8 million for seven months of treatment and made false representations in invoices rendered to her. The patient died of cancer in 2007. Dr Lim later gave a 50 per cent discount.

After losing her case in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal, she has to bear the cost of her own legal fees as well as those of the SMC.

In such civil suits the losing party has to pay a part of the winning party’s legal charges. This is in addition to the fees Dr Lim has to pay her own lawyers. She will also have to pay costs for both hearings.26 Newton.

esthert@sph.com.sg

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd.

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