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Shophouse sales surge to all-time high of $1.9 bil in 2021: Knight Frank

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Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore

SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Total shophouse transaction value in Singapore crossed the billion-dollar mark in 2021, reaching a total of $1.9 billion in sales, according to a research report by Knight Frank.

Read also: Prime retail rents on the road to recovery at last: Knight Frank

Historically, this is the highest transaction value ever recorded for shophouses, beating values achieved in both 2019 and 2020 combined. Sales values in 2019 and 2020 came in at $915.9 million and $912.7 million respectively

Transaction volume and average unit prices ($psf on land) of shophouse units


Knight Frank attributes the record-breaking performance to investors’ bullishness in 2021 on the back of Singapore’s economic rebound. “The year 2021 was exceptional for the shophouse market. Investor interest for shophouses as a defensive asset class soared during the pandemic, much like what was observed for residential properties,” the report reads.

There was a total of 244 shophouse transactions in 2021. While this was lower than the most recent high of 291 transactions in 2012, Knight Frank highlights that more than half of the deals were above $5 million, which helped pushed overall sales value in 2021 to a record high.

Of the shophouse transactions last year, 194 were for freehold properties, grossing $1.5 billion. This represents a 51.6% y-o-y gain in volume and a 84.% y-o-y gain in value. Over 30% of freehold transactions in the year were in District 8, and more than 25% in Districts 14 and 15, as investor interest in the asset class moved out from the Downtown Core.

Leasehold shophouses likewise saw a spike in transaction volume, from 17 in 2020 to 50 in 2021. Due to available leasehold inventory in the market and the allure of capital appreciation, about 60% of leasehold transactions were in the prime Districts 1 and 2.

Unit prices of freehold shophouses averaged about $4,414 psf on land area in 2021, a 19.6% y-o-y increase. Unit prices of leasehold shophouses largely fluctuated depending on specific shophouses sold, as there were fewer transactions, averaging $5,100 psf on land area in 2021.

Knight Frank also points out that several bulk sales or en bloc deals materialised in 2021. The top deal in 2021 was the collective sale of three adjoining mixed-use redevelopment sites at Bukit Timah/Duke’s Road for $53.9 million. (See potential condos with en bloc calculator)

In terms of market outlook, Knight Frank believes the recent imposition of cooling measures could lead to more spillover demand in the shophouse market, as commercially zoned shophouses remain unaffected by the latest government measures. Steady gentrification in shophouse districts is also expected to continue to fuel demand. (Find Singapore commercial properties with our commercial directory)

To that end, the firm estimates the total sales value for the shophouse market could reach $2 billion in 2022.

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