The interior of a standard three-bedroom unit at the Gem Residences showflat. (Photo: Christopher Chitty)
The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has instructed the developers of Gem Residences in Toa Payoh to build only one kitchen for each triple-key unit instead of three as shown in the sales brochure, reported The Business Times.
This is because the 99-year leasehold condominium, jointly developed by Gamuda Land, Evia Real Estate and Maxdin, deviated from its original floor plan, said a URA spokesperson.
“URA approved the floor plan for a three-bedroom residential unit in Gem Residences comprising three bedrooms and a kitchen. The floor plan that was submitted to us for these units did not reflect three separate kitchens. The developer was thus requested to market the residential units according to the approved plans.”
Triple-key units are not new in Singapore and are considered an offshoot of the dual-key concept that started in 2009. Typically, these apartments come with three bedrooms, each with an ensuite bathroom, allowing the owner to rent each sub-unit individually. The landlord doesn’t have to pay higher legal fees and Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty, which would have been the case if they purchased multiple units.
But the 980 sq ft TRIO units at Gem Residences caught the URA’s attention earlier this month, after original plans included an open kitchen for each of the three sub-units. The agency later asked the developers to remove this feature from the two sub-units, which will be replaced with a solid work-top.
As of Sunday, the developer has sold 315 of the project’s 578 units since VIP sales began last Friday (27 May). But only three or four TRIO units have been sold from $1.3 million, as some purchasers who initially wanted to buy such units later opted for the standard three-bedroom units, after being informed about the URA’s instruction.
Despite the change, one real estate agent wasn’t deterred from buying a $1.4 million triple-key unit.
“I treat it as if I’m buying three one-bedroom units under one roof. I understand that a conventional one-bedroom unit may fetch higher rental than each sub-unit in a triple-key apartment. But if I rent out one sub-unit for $1,800 to $2,000 per month, my gross rental yield will be four to five percent when I add them up altogether,” the agent said.