Selling a dream home might be an emotional wrench for many of us, but the $18 million profit entrepreneur Mathilda Koh reaped certainly helped dull the pain.
Ms Koh, the 46-year-old founder and chief executive of home-grown beauty brand Bioskin, told The Sunday Times that she was more than happy to pack up and move when a Chinese businessman offered her $26 million for her Sentosa Cove home in 2013.
She said she paid about $3.6 million for the 8,900 sq ft plot of land at Lakeshore View in 2006, and spent another $4 million creating her ideal home from scratch.
The luxurious two-storey bungalow with a basement and a rooftop overlooking Serapong golf course took two years to build.
Ms Koh, who has three children, lived in the house for five years before selling it just days before the total debt servicing ratio framework kicked in at the end of June 2013. That turned out to be perfect timing as Sentosa property prices started heading south not long after.
Four months later, Ms Koh found a “good buy” and paid $17.5 million for a 10,000 sq ft bungalow at Sentosa Cove.
“Who says Sentosa homes are not profitable? It all depends on buying the right property at the right time,” she said in Mandarin.
Last year, she also bought a unit at Seascape for $3.1 million or $1,327 per square foot (psf), which is lower than this year’s median price of $1,394 psf and well under the $6.26 million the seller paid in 2010.
The unit is being rented by a French family for $8,800 a month.
Ms Koh is confident that prices in the posh seaside enclave will recover: “Sentosa is very unique. It is the only place where foreigners can buy landed property.
“Every night my husband and I would take a walk or go for a jog around the neighbourhood. We see so many Rolls-Royces and supercars in Sentosa Cove.
“There are many ultra-rich foreigners living here. And when they compare property prices here with those in other places like Japan and Hong Kong, Singapore prices are much lower.
“With limited supply of landed properties on Sentosa and government interventions to stabilise the property market, I am confident Sentosa will soon revive.”
It’s no surprise that Ms Koh is a firm believer in real estate, having invested in some 40 properties valued at over $100 million today over the years, including 15 commercial units in Eon Shenton and apartments in the Marina Bay area.
“It’s not just in Sentosa that prices are falling. Prices in Marina Bay Suites, Marina Bay Residences and St Regis have also dropped,” said Ms Koh.
“You need to have the holding power to invest in properties or else the risk is too high.”
Ms Koh has been on Sentosa since 2008 and has no desire to live anywhere else: “I won’t want to move to the city. The air is fresher here. The living environment is less dense. We get so much space here, our views are unblocked. My children can even launch their kayak from the dock right outside our house.
“When my children are all married and move out, my husband and I plan to spend our retirement in a penthouse unit with a sea view on Sentosa.”
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