By KK Tong

House sizes in Singapore are shrinking – for both HDB flats as well as private apartments. Comparing sizes of HDB flats of the 1980s to those in the 2000s, data shows that a 3-room flat was 69 sq m then vs 65 sq m today, a 4-room flat was 105 sq m then vs 90 sq m now, while a 5-room flat was 123 sq m then vs 110 sq m today.

Private apartments are moving in a similar direction. As an example, Eunosville, which was sold collectively to MCL Land in 2017, was a development of 330 units. It is now being launched as Parc Esta with a whopping 1399 units! Tampines Court, which was sold to Sim Lian, consisted of 560 units. It is now launched as Treasure at Tampines with 2225 units!

Although the government has recently taken steps to ensure that apartment sizes do not fall below a certain size, there are still many shoebox units already built and available. Figures show that there were 28,000 completed shoebox units in Singapore as at the first quarter of 2018. For buyers who do not mind living in such flats, we will be looking atsome shoebox units in Singapore, specifically Geylang, and compare them for value.

Why Geylang?

Well, many condos there are freehold, and many of these condos offer shoebox units. Because Geylang is flooded with small developments, we will be looking specifically at condos located in the even-numbered Lorongs – Lorong 24 to Lorong 38, which is away from the main ‘red light lorongs’ in Geylang. This cluster of projects are sufficiently close for comparison purposes.

The table below shows a list of condos located between Lorong 24 and Lorong 38 in Geylang. For comparison purposes, only unit sizes of between 400 – 500 sq ft are considered.

Fig 1: Table of Condos for Comparison

A Comparison

  • All the condos are freehold ones, so in that sense, there is no distinct advantage in land status.
  • The condos were mostly completed in 2014 or 2015, with the exception of Primedge, which was completed in 2017.
  • The developments usually have less than 100 units, with the exception of Rezi 26, which has 106 units, and Guillemard Edge with 275 units.
  • Two MRT stations, Aljunied and Dakota, are in the vicinity, and the distance to either MRT station for the condos range from 540 m to 650 m.

The attributes are pretty similar for all, but the PSF prices are quite a bit higher for Guillemard Edge, Primedge, and The Water Edge. What could be the reason for the price difference?

Condo Map – Geylang

Fig 2: Map of Tabled Condos

The map above shows the location of the condos listed. On a superficial level, there is no distinct advantage that can be seen for any development. My conjecture is that Primedge and The Water Edge command higher prices as their locations are a bit further out from the rest, and both are nearer to the Geylang River and the Geylang Park Connector. I guess this proximity to some ‘nature’ gives them a slight edge over the rest. As for Guillemard Edge, with its 275 units, I am guessing that prices are higher as people may prefer to buy mid-sized condos where the conservancy charges are not as astronomical. Another reason could be that more facilities are available for a bigger development.

Given the data, there are no clear pluses for any specific condo in this area. If going for a value buy, my preference will be La Brisa for two reasons – the number of units in the development are slightly higher than the rest, and its PSF prices are the lowest. It’s just not worthwhile to pay higher prices to live near a ‘longkang’ and a cycling track.

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