British billionaire Dyson snaps up Singapore's priciest penthouse

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SINGAPORE (July 10): British billionaire and inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner James Dyson has bought the most expensive apartment in Singapore, where his company plans to build an electric car.

The three-storey "super penthouse" at the top of Singapore's tallest building sold for S$73.8 million (US$54.2 million), according to media reports.

Accessed by its own lift, the downtown apartment once valued at S$100 million has five bedrooms, a 600-bottle wine cellar, pool, jacuzzi, and a private garden with city views that include the Marina Bay Sands hotel, marketing documents show.

Dyson, 72 and a Brexit supporter, announced plans in January to move his company's head office from Britain to Singapore to be closer to its fastest-growing markets.

His firm — whose products include bladeless fans, air purifiers and hair dryers — plans to build its first electric car in the city-state.

The Wallich Residence penthouse sits on top of the tallest building in Singapore — Tanjong Pagar Centre — built by developer GuocoLand Ltd.

Before its unveiling, the highest asking price for the "bungalow in the sky" reached a dizzying S$100 million in 2017, making it Singapore's most expensive.

Title records seen by Reuters show Dyson and his wife became tenants of the 99-year leasehold property on June 20.

The records did not state the price paid, but media reported Dyson, who has been given permanent residence status, bought the property for S$73.8 million.

"Given the decision to locate the headquarters in Singapore and the growing focus of the company's business in the region, of course James Dyson has bought a property there," a Dyson spokesman said, without giving further details of the purchase.

Dyson is one of Britain's best-known entrepreneurs, creating a multibillion-dollar company from an insight that a cyclone could collect household dust better than a clogged-up bag.

Singapore is an island of well-heeled stability that attracts the super-rich from its less-developed Southeast Asian neighbours, as well as millionaires from mainland China.

The city intensified property restrictions last year after a 9.1% annual increase in home prices and as developers paid record amounts to buy land.

Foreigners now have to pay levies of more than 20% to buy property under the new rules, but citizens and permanent residents pay far lower taxes.

"From the onset, the buyer was always going to be a foreigner," said Leong Boon Hoe of List Sotheby's International Realty, one of the agencies marketing the penthouse.

"It's a place to be able to showcase your wealth".

(US$1 = 1.3623 Singapore dollars)