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Singapore's shophouse comeback continues; River Valley, Bugis properties for sale

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(from left) 96 Amoy Street, 5 Tan Quee Lan Street and 13-14 Bali Lane have been put on the market.

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Three adjoining freehold shophouses at 262, 264 and 266 River Valley Road have been offered for sale with a guide price of S$2,500 psf.

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A four-storey conservation shophouse at 14 Mohamed Sultan Road (centre, yellow door) was sold on Tuesday at S$12.2 million.

MORE shophouses in Singapore have been launched for sale or transacted this week as the market continues to heat up after a months-long lull from pandemic-related restrictions.

Freshly launched properties include shophouses in River Valley, Bugis and Telok Ayer.

A four-storey conservation shophouse at 14 Mohamed Sultan Road, near Fort Canning Park, was also sold on Tuesday at S$12.2 million, Isabel Redrup Agency told The Business Times (BT).

The boutique property firm said the buyer, a developer, plans to transform the shophouse into luxury apartments for medium-term stay.

The 999-year leasehold Mohamed Sultan shophouse spans 2,400 square feet (sq ft) in land area and 7,600 sq ft in floor area. It can be built up to 10 storeys at its rear, with a plot ratio of 3.8.

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The previous owner, an individual, had rented out the six units for about 13 years, Isabel Redrup Agency's managing director Susan Prior told BT. The new owner will add multiple units.

RIVER VALLEY

Meanwhile, three adjoining freehold shophouses at 262, 264 and 266 River Valley Road have been offered for sale via an expression of interest (EOI) exercise, said sole marketing agent Edmund Tie.

They carry a guide price of S$2,500 per square foot (psf) based on the total built-up area of about 8,778 sq ft. That works out to an overall price tag in the region of S$21.9 million, although the three can also be purchased separately and have individual land titles.

Located on a corner plot and commanding an 18-metre wide frontage, the trio sits on a combined land area of 3,702 sq ft.

The three shophouses in District 9 are zoned "residential with commercial at first storey" with a plot ratio of 2.8 and an allowable building height of up to four storeys, under the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) Master Plan 2019.

They are fully tenanted and hence suited for investors seeking immediate income, said Edmund Tie's executive director of investment advisory Tan Chun Ming.

The properties fall within a non-conservation area and thus are not subject to the constraints of conservation regulations, unlike many shophouses in prime districts.

The buyer can explore carrying out additional and alteration works to maximise the plot ratio, or consider redeveloping the properties into a mixed-use development or serviced apartments, subject to the authorities' approval, Mr Tan said.

The EOI exercise for the River Valley trio will close on Dec 2 at 3pm.

TELOK AYER

In the Telok Ayer Conservation Area, the home of Swee Kee Eating House - also known as Ka-Soh - is now available for purchase by tender, said sole marketing agent PropNex Realty.

Occupied by the popular Cantonese-style fish soup restaurant for over two decades, the shophouse at 96 Amoy Street has a price tag starting from S$18 million, or about S$3,871 psf based on a total built-up area of 4,650 sq ft.

The 999-year leasehold property comprises two storeys with an attic, and spans a land size of 2,083 sq ft.

It is zoned full "commercial" under the URA Master Plan 2019 and approved for food and beverage (F&B) use. The Ka-Soh restaurant is likely to extend its tenancy in the next cycle, BT understands.

Foreigners are eligible to buy the property, and the sale will not incur additional buyer's stamp duty or seller's stamp duty.

PropNex noted that Amoy Street properties are "known to command a premium in rental due to its high human traffic", as the area is within walking distance to Telok Ayer MRT station and Raffles Place.

The shophouse's tender closes at 3pm on Oct 29.

BUGIS

Over in the Bugis district, a shophouse on Tan Quee Lan Street and two along Bali Lane are up for grabs, also marketed by PropNex.

A 999-year leasehold shophouse at 5 Tan Quee Lan Street is open for offers at an indicative price starting from S$15 million.

All three storeys have been approved for F&B use. The shophouse has a gross plot ratio of 4.2, with the potential for buyers to increase the floor area up to about 4,629 sq ft.

It will be sold with the existing tenancy, and is suitable for investment or for the buyer's own usage, PropNex said. South Korean makgeolli bar and restaurant Joo Bar occupies the space.

The 5 Tan Quee Lan Street property is located just across Bugis MRT interchange.

PropNex associate division director Loyalle Chin said that nearby, 534 North Bridge Road was recently sold at S$10 million while 32 Liang Seah Street changed hands at S$12.2 million.

A pair of shophouses at 13 and 14 Bali Lane has also been put on the market, with the owner seeking a closing price of S$9.5-9.8 million.

Both freehold shophouses have two storeys and are zoned "commercial". They occupy a 1,470 sq ft land plot and a floor area totalling 2,616 sq ft.

The pair is partially tenanted, and is suitable for investment or for the buyer's own use, said PropNex. The property was previously F&B approved, but at the moment houses hairdresser Eri Su Salon.

The two shophouses are within walking distance to the Bugis and Nicoll Highway MRT stations.

They are next to live entertainment and F&B venue Blu Jaz Cafe. The 999-year leasehold site where Blu Jaz Cafe sits was transacted last year at S$18.8 million, or about S$4,100 psf based on built-up area. Also in the vicinity is 18 Bali Lane, which was sold at S$5 million, Mr Chin said.

The tenders for 5 Tan Quee Lan Street and 13 and 14 Bali Lane will close at 3pm on Nov 26.

REVIVING MARKET

Buyers have been snapping up shophouses in Singapore's central region of late, on the back of pent-up demand following the 2.5-month period when property viewings were not allowed.

Ms Prior said shophouses are steeped in history and thus sought after by heritage lovers, developers and entrepreneurs looking to restore them and put their own mark on iconic properties.

Savills Singapore director of investment sales Yap Hui Yee told BT earlier that there has been more attention on such assets due to their rarity and strong preservation of capital value, amid a strong liquidity and low interest rate environment.

Analysts have also said that some investors prefer commercial shophouses to residential properties as the yields are higher for the former.

Recent transactions include 52 Amoy Street changing hands at S$8.5 million, 44-46 Amoy Street at close to S$21.3 million and 534 North Bridge Road at $S10 million. Word on the grapevine is that another shophouse along Amoy Street has also been purchased at close to S$30 million.

Mr Chin said shophouses are "the perfect alternative" to penthouses and Good Class Bungalows for foreign investors, as they can own coveted land in Singapore's prime districts without having to pay additional buyer's stamp duty.

READ MORE: Market for shophouses wakes up in the third quarter

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