Updated: 09/27/2011 00:00

Small Apartments make Big waves

There have been talk about apartments getting smaller but not necessarily cheaper.Shoebox units&nbsp...


There have been talk about apartments getting smaller but not necessarily cheaper.

Shoebox units are generally described as self-contained apartments with a bedroom, living area, kitchen and bathroom all within 500 sq ft. URA recently had an application from a developer to build units less than 300 sq ft, which is more of a hotel room than an apartment. URA rejected the application.

Median psf prices of private condos below 500 sq ft

The highest median psf of shoebox apartment prices across the board was in District 2, at $2358psf. The price is a good $683psf higher than the national average psf for apartments less than 500 sq ft was $1,675 psf. District 2 is right in the centre of town in the Tanjong Pagar area, near the central business district and popular with companies or working expatriates. Shoebox units available here include Skysuites@Anson, Spottiswoode 18 and Dorsett Residences.

The lowest average psf over the year was in District 27 in the Sembawang and Yishun areas, mainly of which were in Eight Courtyards.

August 2011: Average psf prices of private condos below 500 sq ft 

In last month alone, the highest average psf for non-landed properties below 500 sq ft were in District 1 and 4. The Clift and Robertson Edge scored high here.

In terms of sales volume, District 14 saw the largest number of transactions. This could be due to the number of new property launches, such as Sims Edge, Suites@Sims and Suites@Guillemard, just to name a few.

Compare 3-rm HDB Flat to Private condo units below 500 sq ft.  

So how do these shoebox units in private condominiums compare to HDB 3-room flats? A standard HDB flat has approximately 700 sq ft of space, as compared to shoebox apartments which typically measure around 500 sq ft or less.


Prices of a 3-bedroom HDB flat remained steady at between $400 - $500 psf. Whereas prices of shoebox apartments seemed to bloom above $1,000 psf, sometimes reaching close to $2,000 psf and beyond.

The volatility of shoebox units is apparent, though most of the highs could be explained by the launch or new properties in the month with higher uptake of units in specific condos. The new condominium in Bishan, lauded as a design first in Singapore, by International architect, Moshe Safdie, will also have some smaller units which may fit into the shoebox apartment category.

The National Development minister, Khaw Boon Wan, has however warned against the flooding of the market with shoebox units and the Urban Redevelopment Authority has similarly responded by setting stricter control parameters for developers hoping to cash in on this trend.

If you weigh the pros and cons, at almost one-third of the price of a shoebox apartment, a 3-room HDB flat can give you more space. However, you will enjoy less privacy without the conveniences and facilities that come with private apartments, such as swimming pools and clubhouses. What is your choice, and why?

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