URA to adjust guidelines if developers build too many shoebox units

Romesh Navaratnarajah3 May 2018

Developers are allowed to build condo units of different sizes, assuming an average size of 753 sq ft.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said on Wednesday (3 May) that it will intervene, if needed, to prevent property developers from building too many tiny apartments or shoebox units amidst the ongoing collective sales fever.

“We agree that shoebox units should not form a disproportionately large portion of Singapore’s housing stock,” wrote Goh Chin Chin, development control group director at URA, in response to recent forum letters in the Straits Times.

“We are monitoring the trend closely and will adjust the guidelines if needed.”

More: Shoebox Apartments Being Left On The Shelf

Currently, developers are permitted to build condo units of different sizes, assuming an average size of 70 sq m (753 sq ft). 

The maximum number of units in housing projects outside the central area is based on the development’s proposed gross floor area divided by 70 sq m.

“Under this approach, developers are encouraged to vary the sizes of the housing units that they propose in a development to cater to the diverse needs of the market,” noted Goh.

In a letter to the Straits Times on 25 April, forum writer Paul Chan shared that some developers may take advantage of the average requirement to build a large proportion of shoebox units.

For instance, he noted that 50 percent of units at the 309-unit Margaret Ville condominium measure about 65 sq m (700 sq ft) or smaller. At The Tapestry, over 500 of the 861 units are 65 sq m or below.

As such, Chan urged that the minimum unit size be set at 70 sq m, and that such homes do not account for over 35 percent of the total number of units in a project.

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Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg


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