Sourcing Commercial Properties for Businesses in Singapore 2020
Updated: May 28
Oer the last few decades, many foreigners are choosing to make Singapore their home due to its strong economy, linguistic diversity and strong cultural heritage. Integration is made easier as food choices, accommodation, and transport help in the conveniences of daily life. Thinking about getting some North Indian cuisine for dinner tonight? The closest restaurant is simply 10 minutes away by train! What about enjoying some local hawker food during lunchtime? Well, it is simply just a 5 minutes’ walk from your office!
But why are these people moving to Singapore in the first place? I will be detailing more on this later, but overall it is because Singapore’s business-friendly policies to foreigners have made it be one of the top choices within Southeast Asia, helping it to become one of the world’s leading developed countries. This creates a positive feedback loop but growth is also monitored closely to provide for ample opportunities for its own Citizens and Permanent Residents.
Investing in residential properties as an investment is largely a popular choice by many as it is more predictable in comparison to alternative trades, but what about starting a business here? Renting or buying commercial real estate plays an important role in your business as it can either aid you in its growth or hold you back by restricting your free cash flow.
The initial portion of my article will discuss more on the points to take note of when finding a suitable commercial property for your business in Singapore. Followed by statistics from various agencies in regards to Singapore’s current economic situation in comparison to the rest of the world.
Points for Consideration
Location: Will your business be open for the general public or is it an office used to process paperwork and administration? Are you intending on starting your business within Singapore’s Central Business District or its’ outskirts, closer to the heartland areas?
Leasing: Is the property that you are acquiring solely for your own use? Are you intending on leasing it out to other tenants?
Renovation Works: Is the space that you are using is ready to move-in condition or are additional works required? A ballpark figure is that renovation works can range from S$29 to S$100 per sqft, depending on the work complexity.
Legal Risks: Is the use of the premises allowed under the Urban Redevelopment Authority or is a change of use to another planning class required? Is the land that you are intending to start your business on allowed for commercial use? Is there a potential collective sale of the overall land which might require you to relocate your business?
Q3 2019 Commercial Purchase & Rental Statistics
Before we dive deeper, let us take a look at the statistics for the previous last quarter.
Source 1: Office Market at a Glance, ura.gov.sg
Source 2: Rental Index of Commercial Properties, data.gov.sg
Both price index and rental index have decreased as compared to the 2Q 2019, from an investors point of view, this is a fantastic time to get started in terms of owning your commercial property or even renting to get started. As rental prices tend to be more volatile in comparison to property prices, the cautionary investor will be better of starting with a rental unit first. Do take in mind that there is a planned increase in Goods & Services from 7% to 9% to 2021 and 2025, and this will affect both rental and purchase.
Sourcing Your Team of Experts
Commercial Real Estate Agent: Helps you to locate suitable properties according to your business model and process the necessary paperwork for you (i.e. Tenancy Agreement, Inventory List, etc)
Banker: Provides commercial real estate loans. Find out from the different banks (HSBC, DBS, Maybank) to obtain a loan most suitable for your financial needs.
Lawyer: Find a legal representative to keep an eye out on the entire transaction from start to finish to prevent any unwanted disputes.
Architect/Commercial Contractor: Before selecting your commercial property, it is important to liaise with them if you have any works in regards to interior renovation or addition & alteration works. This is to prevent wasting time and resources sourcing for a new property if it is not suitable.
Economic Profile of Doing Business in Singapore
Source 3: Infographic on Singapore's Economic Profile on Starting a Business, doingbusiness.com
The corporate tax rate in Singapore currently stands at an all-time low of 17%. On doingbusiness.org, it is ranked 2 out of 190 in terms of the ease of doing business ranking, the first being New Zealand. As a private business owner, the time taken for me to register the company with ACRA (i.e. Singapore’s national regulator of business entities) was less than a week, along with setting up an account with the relevant banks.
Global Competitiveness Index
Source 4: 2019 Global Competitiveness Index, weforum.org
Based on the 2019 Global Competitiveness Index from the World Economic Forum, which provides an annual assessment of the drivers of productivity and long-term economic growth. Singapore is ranked 1 out of 141 economies, beating out powerhouses like the United States and Hong Kong SAR.
Keep in mind the important points of consideration as mentioned above so as to ensure that securing your first commercial property is a smooth transition. As the statistics show, Singapore is a very suitable location for conducting business. There are further points that are not discussed further are in regard to business income tax and the various schemes which are provided by the government for entrepreneurs. These issues will be discussed in another article in the near future.
Are you intending to get started on your property purchase within Singapore? I am able to provide Commercial, Industrial and Residential property information. Do drop me an email at Joshua.email@example.com to get started.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author's employer, organization, committee or other group or individual. The author does not accept any responsibility whatsoever for any harm or loss arising from accessing or relying on information contained in this blog post.