Michelle Yong named Singapore Real Estate Personality of the Year

The visionary behind Aurum Land and Core Collective reimagines the future of boutique property development and the city-state’s co-sharing economy

Michelle Yong, CEO of Aurum Land and CEO and founder of Core Collective, is receiving the golden statuette for Real Estate Personality of the Year at the 2022 PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Singapore).

Yong won over the editorial team of PropertyGuru Property Report Magazine for modernising Aurum Land into a forward-looking space and business innovator and advancing Singapore’s co-sharing economy.

“I would like to sincerely thank PropertyGuru for recognising the contribution that Aurum Group has made to the real estate industry, and especially the co-sharing economy, despite being only a very small organisation compared to the very large and well-established developers that are household names in their respective countries that this prestigious award is usually conferred to,” says Yong.

“It is very heartening and gratifying to know that our work has not only made an impact on the customers that we directly serve but also the wider industry that we operate in.”

Yong is a fourth-generation leader in Woh Hup, the legendary family business known for constructing iconic, futuristic Singaporean landmarks such as Gardens by the Bay and Jewel Changi Airport. An alumnus of the University of Oxford and University of Bristol, Yong has helmed Aurum Land, the property development arm of the 95-year-old construction group, since 2007. She has also led the group’s corporate venture arm, Aurum Investments, supporting human-centric startups in the proptech industry.

The Real Estate Personality of the Year award only adds to Aurum Land’s growing list of accolades. Over the years, the developer has gained various honours at the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards, including Best Boutique Developer (Asia) and Best Boutique Developer (Singapore), a title the company won for three consecutive years (2019, 2020 and 2021).

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In June, Aurum Land completed two of its most accoladed condominium developments, The Hyde and Nyon. The projects have earned multiple notices at the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards for their well thought-out architectural and interior designs.

“At Aurum, we believe in good design which is customer-focused and take it upon ourselves to put ourselves in the buyers’ shoes when making decisions as they are the most important stakeholder yet do not have a seat at the table during the design development and construction process,” says Yong.

“In fact, we have been told by many of our buyers that the reason they chose an Aurum Land development is because of the high attention to detail in our design that results in both great functionality and form, as well as the unique and compelling design concepts that we create for each project.”

Under Yong’s visionary efforts, Aurum Land has grown to become an over SGD300-million business, buoyed by the success of such developments as The Asana, The Orient, Three 11, 21 Richards, Woh Hup Building, Rivage, and West-N. The Hyde and Nyon follow the acclaim of 1919, Aurum Land’s unique black-and-white residential development in District 9, which set sales and pricing records in the area.

With Yong as leader, the company has been selective in its choice of developments, launching only up to two projects a year at the city-state’s best locations. “We believe in taking inspiration from each site to create a unique and compelling concept that respects the context of the land, its location or its history, and attracts discerning buyers who are looking for a ‘limited edition’ property,” says Yong.

A serial entrepreneur with years of experience as a management consultant, Yong in 2018 launched Core Collective, a fitness, wellness and lifestyle centre of excellence. Core Collective is now home to over 270 top fitness, wellness, lifestyle, and medical professionals offering over 40 services to more than 17,000 people.

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In 2022, Core Collective partnered with SGX-listed Singapore Medical Group to launch the innovative medical co-working concept known as Core Clinic. The team also this year launched Core Collective Sentosa, marking their first partnership with a hotel owner and operator.

Core Collective builds on Yong’s lifelong interest in sports and physical fitness. She is an RYA-certified competent crew sailor who served on the boat club and cricket team at Balliol College in the UK.

“Aurum has evolved from just building beautiful spaces to building communities and growth opportunities,” says Yong. “When I first started Core Collective in 2018 with our first centre at Anson Road in downtown Singapore, it was with a vision to help top fitness and wellness professionals and business owners start and grow their businesses by providing flexible plug-and-play access to a wide range of premium facilities.

“With the launch of our second branch in Dempsey cluster in late 2019, we expanded our customer base to also serve lifestyle, beauty & aesthetics and children-centric businesses,” she adds.

Now Aurum Land is planning to expand its limited-edition projects to areas Outside Central Region (OCR). It is also envisioning the creation of a wants-based, high-end senior living concept with onsite medical support.

Stewarded by Yong, Aurum Land will continue to, as the company’s core purpose states, “do well and do good.” Among other initiatives, the company actively incorporates CSR into annual team building trips. Aurum Land projects also aim for Green Mark Gold and Gold Plus certifications from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

In 2019, Yong elevated the company’s altruistic efforts to the next level: venturing into impact investing. Through the Garden Impact initiative, Aurum Investments builds up ASEAN companies that show potential at alleviating poverty, with a focus on agribusiness; clean energy and the environment; education technology; healthcare; and more.

“I believe that what matters most in life is the depth of your relationships and the sheer number of people you have helped along the way—it is the true measure of wealth—and that as business leaders, we have the privilege and duty to impact so many more people more deeply,” Yong says.

“I hope to live up to the legacy of this award and its past recipients by continuing to lead from the heart and build supportive environments that create change, advance communities and accelerate growth.”