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6 Reasons Why Shophouses are the Most Underrated Properties in Singapore

Adorned in Peranakan floral motifs and embellished with pastel geometric tiles, it’s hard not to notice the charming shophouses that line the streets of Singapore. As a homebuyer, should you invest in a shophouse?

Shophouses are quintessential architectural icons in Singapore. These bright and ornate two- to three-level buildings have shops on the lower levels and residencial floors above. Imagine working from a shophouse in Tanjong Pagar and enjoying the comfort and convenience of your surroundings. Everything you need, whether that a printing shop or a hawker centre, is just a few steps away. If you’re planning to purchase property in Singapore, Keep reading to find out why shophouses might just be the architectural gem that you’re looking for.

Key highlights

  • Many of the existing shophouses are located in central Singapore, making them convenient to rent
  • The value of shophouses is soaring; shophouse investments have increased by 16.1% in 2020 compared to the year before
  • Unlike an HDB, shophouses offer owners the freedom to convert the spaces into offices, boutique hotels, restaurants, residential properties, and more

1. Convenience

If you have ever worked in one of the office towers in the CBD, then you know how much time it can take to make a delivery or get lunch. And, depending on your tower, there might even be a queue for the elevator. Given the crowds and long queues, simple tasks can take longer than you may expect. On the other hand, as many shophouses are centrally located, living or working from one offers a level of unparalleled convenience.

2. Beautiful Architecture

Have you ever noticed people taking photos for their Instagram next to a shophouse? Some fashion magazines and clothing brands even host photo shoots with shophouses as their backdrop. That’s because shophouses are uniquely Singaporean, representing a piece of local history and heritage. Another benefit of this property type is that if the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) needs to take back land to pave new roads or other infrastructure projects, shophouses will be among the very last to be claimed. As there is a lack of shophouses in Singapore, the government wants to preserve as many of them as possible. In case of a possible land reclamation, shophouses are hardly ever torn down, which makes shophouses a safe investment. As you consider whether buying a shophouse is right for you, remember to find the right home renovation loan to upkeep the interiors.

3. Typically in a Central Location

There are many historic districts in Singapore with conserved shophouses. Those include Chinatown, Boat Quay, Little India, Cairnhill, Kampong Glam, Blair Plain, and Emerald Hill. All of these areas are located in and around the centre of Singapore, giving most shophouses a prime real estate location. Whether your goal is to use a shophouse for personal use or rent it out to a business, their central location will be increasingly valuable.

4. Shophouses Will Only Increase in Value

Singapore is connected to the regional and global markets, especially when it comes to property investments. While you can’t control external economic circumstances, you still can make smart investments. Shophouses, for example, tend to increase in value - even in a weak or unstable property market. Unlike other luxury items, such as expensive cars or fine art, shophouses remain strong and gain value overtime. Thanks to their status and trendy appeal, shophouses will never go out of fashion. After all, there is a scarcity of this property type; currently there are only around 6,500 shophouses in Singapore.

5. Shophouses are Spacious

Shophouses generally have more space compared to the newer private properties. They also offer plenty of large, open space which is perfect for investors and homebuyers to transform and customise the property to their individual needs. While shophouses often look quite condensed and compact from the outside, their interiors can surprise many people. Don’t be fooled by the small and inconspicuous front of the house. These properties tend to extend far back, offering plenty of back-office or storage space. Most other commercial spaces don’t offer this advantage, unless you pay extra for it.

What is the average size of a shophouse in Singapore?

Average size HDB (4-bed-room)Average size condoAverage size shophouse
1,067 square foot1,053 square foot1,750 square foot

6. A Bright Investment Opportunity

The sales of shopshouses have increased steadily even through uncertain times. It was reported that shophouse investments have increased by 16.1% in 2020 compared to the previous year. Another benefit of investing in a shophouse is that you are not bound to one type of property use. Your shophouse can be turned into a restaurant, small hotel, office space or a private and rental residential property. Furthermore, the capital growth and rental yields tend to grow faster compared to other residential properties.

Shophouse Prices continues to soar

Shophouse Prices 2015Shophouse Prices 2020Increase
S$4,500 square footS$6,800 square foot51%

If living in a shophouse is something that you’ve only dreamed of, then it’s time to reconsider this as a feasible property investment. Remember to shop around for the best home loan in Singapore or try our Home Loan Calculator to find the lowest mortgage rate in June 2021.

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Pooja Khandelwal

Pooja is a Content Marketing Lead at ValueChampion Singapore. She is responsible for planning and executing sponsored content projects and building relationships with media partners. In addition, she evaluates financial products for consumers based on quantitative and qualitative analysis. Pooja holds degrees in Economics and Psychology from Rutgers University. Her prior work experience includes founding and leading a content marketing consultancy and working at eCommerce, AI, and B2B SaaS startups in Singapore. Pooja has contributed insights to Tech in Asia, Yahoo!, and many other publications. Connect with her on LinkedIn to collaborate on content.

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