Dyson penthouse: sucking up a discount

Buying Singapore’s priciest penthouse puts plenty of distance between pro-Brexit entrepreneur James Dyson and his critics. The relocated head office of his consumer electronics group will be nearby. So will the scenic Marina Bay Sands resort. The UK’s fractious politics will be 1,600 miles away.

But did Sir James cut a good deal? The reported $55m tag overshadows prices paid for Singapore pads by other tycoons: Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin ($44m); Alibaba’s Sun Tongyu ($38m); and Kuok Hui Kwong of Shangri-La Asia ($32m).

Sir James gets a 600-bottle wine cellar, a 12-metre open-air pool and a private garden. He does not get a share of rights to the land on which the building stands, just a 99-year lease on the apartment. Most wealthy Singaporeans would scorn such a set-up, preferring land rights and capital appreciation. But foreign permanent residents are usually barred from land ownership, which were not on offer with the penthouse anyway.

Sir James is paying around 40 per cent less per foot than Mr Saverin. That could reflect a lower level of luxury. A 26 per cent discount on the list price for the 21,108 sq ft flat is a surer sign of a bargain.

The property would have cost far more before Singapore put a tax of over 20 per cent on foreign buyers. Chinese purchasers had pushed prices up to record levels. Sales of high-end homes fell over a quarter in the first half of this year. Taxes aside, local growth is slowing. Sir James has timed his purchase nicely. For some critics of the inventor, it will be just another reason to feel annoyed by him.


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