Jack Ma’s wife has reportedly bought three adjoining shops on Duxton Road

Investors in shophouses believe that the Ma’s may have wanted to use this asset for themselves. They could use it to host their friends or associates in a private clubhouse. This could lead to them leasing the property.

The seller acquired three adjacent shophouses at a cost of S$22.2M through separate transactions in 2018. The seller bought 70 Duxton Road at a price of S$7.55 from Alan Choe’s company, which is owned by the former URA chief and chairman of Sentosa Development Corporation.

Urban Redevelopment Authority approved an integrated development involving three shophouses. On the first floor, the use was changed from shop into restaurant. The upper levels of the building are for offices. A lift has been added to the renovation.

Kerry Hill Architects has been engaged by a seller who is a Singaporean entity. The shophouses have an estimated total built up area of about 10,700 ft2. The properties are located within the Tanjong Pagar Conservation Area.

Zhang is said to have paid S$4,200 – S$4,600 for each square foot of the shophouses.

Market watchers consider this range of prices to be high, stating that conservation shophouses deals in Duxton typically do not exceed S$4,000 psf built-up. One thing to keep in mind is that the trio of shophouses Zhang bought was newly refurbished.

A special buyer has been identified who is ready to pay an inflated price for a house in a quiet, quaint area of District 2.

The seller acquired 71 Duxton Road, for S$7.35m from a medical doctor, and purchased No 72, for S$7.3m from Kwek Lee Hoon. Kwek Lee Hoon is the sister Hong Leong Group executive director Kwek Leng Beng.

In the fourth quarter, 2023, the number of transactions on the shophouse market dropped dramatically. PropNex Realty, based upon caveats analysis, published a report in late October that revealed only 15 sales of shophouses in the last quarter of 2023.

This is the lowest quarterly number since 2010. The property agency blamed the muted sales on a softer economic outlook, as well as increased due diligence after August’s anti-money launderers blitz.

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Shophouses recorded 131 sales totaling S$1.14 billion in 2023. This was down from 191 sales worth S$1.63billion in 2022. This was the lowest volume of annual sales since 2019, when caveats reported that 123 shophouses brought in a total S$916 Million.  The wife and co-founder of Alibaba Group Jack Ma have bought three adjoining shops in Tanjong Pagar.

The Business Times understands Zhang Ying (a Singapore citizen) paid S$45 to S$50 for 70, 71 and 73 Duxton Road. The properties, which are located in commercial zones, have 99-year leasehold terms starting in September 1988. This leaves a remaining term of approximately 63.5 years.

These shophouses, which have a combined land area of 3 239 square feet (sq. ft), each feature three floors plus an attic. Nearing completion is a major refurbishment.

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