Shrinking sizes of new condos

15 Feb 2021

The impact of the government’s move in 2018 to reverse the trend of developers constructing more shoebox units is starting to be seen. One such example is Hong Leong Group who commissioned bigger units in their projects such as Penrose. 

New condominiums in Singapore saw their median sizes shrink in the last ten years, with those in the suburbs falling to 71 sq m in 2020 from 116 sq m in 2007, reported The Straits Times (ST).

Resale units also shrank to 106 sq m last year from 118 sq m in 2007.

The drop in sizes was more evident in other areas. New condos within the prime districts dropped to just 62 sq m in 2020 from 119 sq m in 2009, while those in the city fringe fell to 69 sq m from 100 sq m.

“New homes are smaller now but they have more facilities and smart features, and the layout is more efficient. Family sizes are also smaller now, so why not?” said Tricia Song, Head of Research (Singapore) at Colliers International as quoted by ST.

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“There’s a more efficient layout as bomb shelters are no longer required within a unit, and there are fewer planters and bay windows. There is also less storage needed due to tech advances.”

ST, however, noted that the impact of the government’s move in 2018 to reverse the trend of developers constructing more shoebox units is starting to be seen.

Hong Leong Group, for instance, has made provisions for bigger units as per guidelines in its 566-unit joint venture project Penrose as well as its other joint venture project One-North Eden, which is set for launch in the first half of 2021, shared a spokesman.

“These provisions are balanced and in proportion to the project size. At the same time, small units remain in demand, given their overall price quantum and investment value. There are buyers who still prefer smaller units to accommodate smaller families or for rental yield,” said Hong Leong as quoted by ST.

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Urban Redevelopment Authority new rules which took effect in January 2019 slashed the maximum number of units allowed within new private flats and condo developments outside the central area in an effort to manage potential strains on infrastructure.

For those outside the central area, the minimum average unit size for units went up to at least 85 sq m from 70 sq m. The new guidelines covered new development applications for projects that were submitted on or after 17 January 2019.

Song said the guidelines’ impact was not felt in 2019 since many projects, especially those acquired through en block sale in 2017 and 2018, had secured planning approval prior to the effectivity of the rules.

“But there was a slight uptick in median unit sizes in 2020 for new condos in the suburbs and city fringe area,” she added.

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