Are studio apartments worth the investment or rental? - Seedly
 

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Asked by Gabriel Tham

Asked on 25 May 2019

Are studio apartments worth the investment or rental?

There are only a few studio units in each development and they are super small. Are studio apartments good for investment or rental? Who would rent such small units?

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Randy Chai
Randy Chai
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 30 May 2019

Hey Gabriel,

Great question! Here's my personal take on Studio Apartments (aka Shoebox Units, Mickey Mouse Units).

a) Why are Studio Apartments gaining popularity?

There has been a significant increase in trends for a one-person household (individuals wanting to live alone). Citing sources from Straitstime, the proportion of one-person resident households has doubled from 4.6 per cent of all households in 1992 to 9.5 per cent in 2012.

Very often millennials (myself included) values freedom, independence, privacy, minimalist living and simplicity over living with their parents, staying in larger houses, or living a luxurious lifestyle.

Perks of staying in a Studio Apartment often include the ease of maintenance/servicing, lesser cleaning, shared Condo leisure/entertainment facilities and most importantly a lower capital outlay as compared larger units.

Case Study

John - a 25 years old college graduate who has just landed his first job drawing a fixed income of $3500 per month. John has not accumulated any CPF in his OA account neither does he have any other savings on hand.

In order for John to purchase a property that is valued at $600,000, he will need to accumulate savings up to 20% of the property price (5% option fee in cash and 15% down payment in cash and/or CPF).

Which means for John to achieve his goal of purchasing his first property in 10 years at the age of 35, he will be required to save 12.5% (5% + 7.5%) in cash, and 7.5% in CPF.

Assumptions

Price of Studio Apartment = $600,000

12.5% in Cash = $75,000

7.5% in CPF = 45,000

Remaining 80% of the property payable via a bank loan

(John’s increase in fixed income over a 10 year period cancels out inflation and any other interest payable to purchase a property)

By doing the math ($75,000/120 months), John would only be required to save $625 per month to achieve his goal of becoming a homeowner in 10 years time at the age of 35. Which is really affordable in my opinion!

b) Are Studio Apartments worth the Investment?

Also, studio apartments are gaining popularity due to the rise of expatriates in Singapore. Expats living in Singapore are usually here for less than 5 years and thus, they would often choose not to uproot and relocated their family. Which makes Studio Apartments much more ideal and suitable for their lifestyle.

Citing sources from Yahoo Finance and ERA, on average, property prices have increased by more than 50% over a 10 year period (2008 to 2018).

Sharing a personal experience from my family. My parents bought a Studio Apartment at D’Leedon roughly 8 years ago for around $750K. After completion, they manage to rent it out for 36 months (Avg monthly rental receivable of $3.8K - while we rented and stayed in an HDB for $2K a month). They then sold the unit at D’Leedon for close to $1.1 mil.

That’s roughly $350K in resale and rental profit for an 8 years investment (47% return on investment)!

In conclusion, I’m sold on property investment and I’ve just commenced with my 10 years saving plan.

Worst case scenario - I’ll still be a homeowner at the age of “35”, living independently enjoying absolute privacy

Best case scenario - I’ll make 50% in returns over a 5-10 years investment period

That being said, it’ll be wise for everyone to do their own due diligence when it comes to investment or personal finance.

I hope this will help!

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Douglas Chow
Douglas Chow
Level 5. Genius
Answered on 26 May 2019

Hola Gabriel, Coach Douglas here, second keynote speaker for the event. As you might already know from latest URA regulations, the maximum number of units allowed in new private flat and condominium developments outside the central area will be reduced, to manage potential strains and stresses on infrastructure, essentially, URA wants to curb the proliferation of shoebox units. These areas where shoebox apartments are discouraged are in Marine Parade, Joo Chiat-Mountbatten, Telok Kurau-Jalan Eunos, Balestier, Stevens-Chancery, Pasir Panjang, Kovan-How Sun, Shelford and Loyang.

As a rule of thumb if my client has the budget, I would advise them to go for a 2 bedder as it gives more options to rent out to individuals and small families. Selling also means more options

A one bedder ain't bad by default because ultimately some decisions boil down to your budget. The same goes for any savy property decision. Make sure the location and amenities nearby makes sense.

You can always connect with me via https://www.facebook.com/douglas.chow.908 or simply whatsapp/sms my company 24/7 hotline @83324283

Remember, plan your finances properly, don’t overstretch, do your homework and enjoy your property investment journey.

Regards

Douglas Chow

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Ryan Ong
Ryan Ong
Level 3. Wonderkid
Updated on 14 Jun 2019

Hi Gabriel! A few data points to help your decision making:

On our data, price appreciation for studio apartments islandwide is about 29.1 per cent over the past 10 years, from $1,336 psf to $1,723 psf.

Over the same period, rental has fallen 30.86 per cent, declining from $6.80 psf to $4.70 psf.

If a studio apartment will be your first property purchase, please do remember that you cannot buy an HDB flat while you own a private property. Make sure you won’t have an issues if you decide to settle down shortly after, as it’s a bit small for a home. You can also look up more details on the 99.co blog!

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Gabriel Tham
Gabriel Tham

14 Jun 2019

This is so helpful 👍