IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Dual-key, double tenancy

This story was first published in The Straits Times on June 1, 2013

DUAL-KEY units have become increasingly popular, and developers have been quick to meet the strong demand.

The Fragrance group and World Class Land launched Urban Vista in Tanah Merah in March with such units, all around 700 sq ft each.

The latest project with dual- key units is Liv on Sophia, which was launched last weekend.

The Liv units at Mount Sophia are possibly the smallest dual-key apartments to hit the market. There are 64 units in the development in Adis Road near the Dhoby Ghaut MRT station, all two-bedders, ranging from 527 sq ft to 710 sq ft each.

In principle, dual-key units have two separate entrances with their own keys, and are usually quite large to accommodate multi-generational families.

But experts say smaller units are aimed at investors who might be looking for two streams of rental income.

"When developers build small two-bedroom units, with each bedroom having its own key, then clearly they are targeted more at investors who want to rent out both units," said International Property Advisors chief executive Ku Swee Yong.

Dual-key units were introduced by developer Frasers Centrepoint in 2009, mainly to cater to large families.

But one attraction now is that purchasers of this kind of property can skirt the Additional Buyer's Stamp Duty (ABSD), Mr Ku said.

In January, the Government extended the ABSD to Singaporeans buying their second residential property and the first purchase by permanent residents.

Singaporeans buying a second property must pay a 7 per cent levy while those buying their third and subsequent property will pay an added levy of 10 per cent.

This means that buyers of dualkey units are effectively buying one property but with the possibility of two tenancies.

If a Singaporean purchased two shoebox units for leasing, he would have to pay an ABSD on the second property.

Roxy-Pacific Holdings chief executive Teo Hong Lim said the firm designed Liv on Sophia with the many schools in the area in mind.

These include Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and Lasalle College of the Arts.

"We always try to develop a different product," he said.

"There are a lot of schools around there, so we felt that could be an area for students looking for housing.

"Or it could be a single living on one side of the house while renting out the other side," he added.

Mr Teo said the central region is the only area that does not have size restrictions on units so it was free to build smaller flats.

Units in non-landed, private housing projects outside the central area will have to be at least 70 sq m.

Shoebox units are typically under 50 sq m each.

The dual-key units at Liv on Sophia feature an additional room called a "suite" but it will only have a kitchen counter instead of typical fixtures.

Mr Teo said ample space has been allocated for a washing machine.

Units at Liv on Sophia are priced between $2,450 and $2,500 psf.

The freehold project will attain its Temporary Occupation Permit by June 30, 2018.

ocheryl@sph.com.sg

This story was first published in The Straits Times on June 1, 2013

To subscribe to The Straits Times, please go to http://www.sphsubscription.com.sg/eshop/