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Geylang Properties - Good buy or just hype?

Geylang Properties - Good buy or just hype?.

Geylang Properties - Good buy or just hype?

There is no denying the rising popularity of shoebox apartments, or 'mickey mouse' flats, in Singapore in recent years. Sales of these tiny apartments - typically 500 sq ft or less - have increased more than six times, from 300 units in 2008 to 1,900 last year.

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As a percentage of new private home sales in Geylang, shoebox homes accounted for 6 per cent of new private home sales in 2008, and this doubled to 12 per cent last year. Industry analysts say these apartments are particularly popular with young singles and expatriate professionals, due to their location. Another key reason is the healthy rental yields of about 3 to 4 per cent, depending on the project, should the buyer look to rent out the property.

They also point to prices of shoebox units, which have outpaced other types of homes as buyers consider the overall price rather than the per sq ft (psf) price, allowing property developers to charge higher prices in psf terms. National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan has sounded the alarm, however, citing analysts who wonder if these buyers 'know what they are in for'. Some observers have called for the Government to ban such units, but Mr Khaw has said he does not want to 'second-guess the market'.

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Well, it depends on when you sell it, it seems. And of course, Gelang location. According to a new report by local property consultancy Ascendant Assets, shoebox units are generally 'quite profitable', but it does not mean all sellers do well from the sale of such units. Based on the firm's research, believed to be the first indepth study here on this segment, one key finding was that shoebox units were significantly more profitable as subsale transactions - that is, sold before completion - than as a resale once the project is finished.

Flipping, or a sub-sale, takes place when a buyer purchases a new apartment in Geylang, then resells it before construction is complete. The company conducted its study by analysing all the caveats lodged on shoebox units, information which is accessible through the Urban Redevelopment Authority's Realis online system. A total of 3,780 caveats - of units 46 sq m, or 495 sq ft, or smaller - from January 1998 to December 2010 were studied. There are two assumptions: The caveats are accurate and any data error or omission on the website will not significantly impact the findings. Ascendant Assets director Getty Goh, who led the report's team, noted that one common strategy of 'specuvestors' is to buy units with the intention of flipping, failing which, some will proceed to secure tenants and sell their units when market conditions are suitable. The firm's analysis found that there was a significantly higher percentage of money-making sub-sale deals than completed deals

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