Shophouses sizzle amid cool Singapore property market

SINGAPORE - Shophouses in Singapore are seeing a surge in investor interest.

Their median price has more than doubled from $1,455 psf in the fourth quarter of 2009 to a record of $3,772 psf in the fourth quarter of last year, said real estate consultancy Colliers.

Median rents have also risen over the last five years, said Ms Chia Siew Chuin, Colliers' director of research and advisory. Quarterly median rents generally remained below $4 psf per month before 2012, but they hit a record $5.42 psf per month in the fourth quarter of last year

Here's a look at the prices reached when some shophouses recently changed hands:

1. 39 Hongkong Street

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The property sold for about $17.21 million earlier this month, a record for the Upper Circular Road Conservation Area. It was about $1,899 psf on a gross floor area basis, a price experts called fair.

The seller - believed to be Mr Ng Siew Wan, president of Guangdong Import and Export - had bought the roughly 2,159 sq ft site in January 2011 for $5.7 million, according to caveats lodged.

He is understood to have renovated the premises, taking advantage of the site's plot ratio of 4.2 to add two storeys to the rear portion of the original four-storey building. Mr Ng also topped up the lease, which previously had a 99-year tenure starting in 1951. The 99-year lease now runs from 2013. The buyer is believed to be a Singaporean.

2. 75 Pagoda Street

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Last month, 75 Pagoda Street sold for $20 million in total, or about $3,500 psf on a gross floor area basis, one of the highest prices for districts one and two. The buyer was a member of the family behind Indonesian cigarette maker Gudang Garam.

3. 48-56 Peck Seah Street

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In January, a row of six shophouses - 48 to 56 Peck Seah Street - were sold to Phoenix Property Investors, a Pan-Asian private equity property fund manager, at $42.8 million in total, or about $2,150 psf on a gross floor area basis.

4. 22 Gemmill Lane

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22 Gemmill Lane sold for $14.25 million in October last year. 10 and 12 Gemmill Lane also changed hands in the same month for $10 million in total. This worked out to about $2,000 to $2,300 psf on a gross floor area basis.