Far East Organization—controlled by billionaire brothers Robert and Philip Ng—in partnership with Japan’s Sekisui House submitted the highest bid of S$320.8 million ($226 million) for a suburban residential site in the prime Upper Bukit Timah neighborhood in western Singapore.
The duo’s offer was higher than the second-highest bid of S$316 million from billionaire Kwek Leng Beng’s City Developments, according to the Urban Redevelopment Authority. Other bidders include banking and real estate tycoon Wee Cho Yaw’s UOL Group and Sim Lian Land.
Far East and Sekisui plan to build two 27-story blocks of 330 units on the 10,395-square-meter site in Hillview Rise. Located near the Hillview MRT station, the project will be built within Upper Bukit Timah’s established residential enclave.
The plot on Hillview Rise is one of two residential sites auctioned by the URA since the government recently announced fresh curbs to rein in skyrocketing home prices.
At the other auction, Sembawang Estates submitted the highest bid of S$200 million for a smaller plot along Bukit Timah Link. The company plans to build a 20-story block with 160 units on the 4,611-square-meter site.
Developers have been buying state-owned land as well as privately held redevelopment sites to replenish their landbank amid robust housing demand in Singapore, which is defying a global property downturn. Home prices in the city-state climbed 3.8% in the third quarter to record levels, after rising 3.5% in the previous three months, as soaring rents continued to attract buyers despite recent measures introduced by the government to rein in skyrocketing prices.
Far East is among the most active buyers of development sites since last year. In August 2021, it and sister company Sino Group bought a site along Jalan Anak Bukit, also in the Bukit Timah area, for S$1 billion at a hotly contested government auction. In May, the duo partnered with Perennial Holdings to buy the Golden Mile Complex on the edge of the Singapore central business district for S$700 million and redevelop the mixed-use commercial and residential iconic landmark.
Brothers Robert and Philip Ng are the controlling shareholders of Far East, Singapore’s largest privately held landlord and property developer. Older brother Robert oversees their Hong Kong interests held through Sino Group, while Philip looks after the Singapore business. With a net worth of $15.2 billion, the siblings ranked No. 2 in the list of Singapore’s 50 Richest that was published in September. The group was founded by their father Ng Teng Fong, who moved From China to Singapore in 1934 and came to be known as “The King of Orchard Road.”