• Joshua Loo

Review: Somerset Area Shophouse

Updated: Jun 4

This is a review of a Somerset Area shophouse that is currently marketed by one of my colleagues. This is to provide potential buyers with a more in-depth view of the property and have all the details needed to make a well-informed decision. Should you require more information, feel free to write to estatemagnates@gmail.com or contact Joshua Loo at +6596329840! I will link you up to the seller agent!


Note from the writer: This review was initially a thorough and comprehensive look in regards to the property. However, we have encountered numerous unethical practices in regards to the properties that we are marketing. In order to protect the interest of the writer, real estate agents involved and seller, some identifying information was removed.


This shophouse has been sold to a new owner! Thanks for reading!

Review Somerset Area Shophouse for Sale

Conserved shophouses have been the prime choice for investors for the longest time. With only 6,500 in Singapore, shophouses provide good capital appreciation due to its scarcity value. Furthermore, these shophouses are protected and will not be torn down over time.


This article that I am writing on is an example of a unique shophouse with interesting qualities. This is because it is NOT a conserved shophouse! However, I implore you to read further on why this makes it such an attractive purchase!


Advantages


Huge Land/ Built-Up Area


There is rarely any landed housing in District 9, and the only ones that you can find are located in One Tree Hill or Jalan Lada Puteh. These areas, however, have their respective challenges for residential buyers looking for a property close to the Orchard Road shopping belt.


Here’s why.


Jalan Lada Puteh

Jalan Lada Puteh
Jalan Lada Puteh Landed Zoning

The land size is within 1500-2000 sqft, which is not too big. This might not be suitable for bigger, multi-generational families. The Build-Up area is constricted which provides approximately up to a maximum of 3500-4000 sqft. The positive tradeoff is that this area is situated just beside Scotts Square and Lucky Plaza.


One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill
One Tree Hill Landed Zoning

The average land sizes of properties here are from 3000-5000 sqft. Build-Up can be close to approximately 10,000 sqft. It is also relatively near to the Orchard Road Shopping Belt, which you can reach within 12 minutes of walking.

One Tree Hill Walk to Orchard MRT

However, the residential shophouse that I am sharing today takes only half the amount of time!


Comparing with Conserved Shophouses


Since I’m on the topic of shophouses, I think that I should do a comparison to the ones with conservation status.


Cairnhill Road Shophouses

Cairnhill Road Shophouses

There are many conserved shophouses along Cairnhill Road, and therefore transaction volume should be healthy. However, this isn’t the case! I will discuss this more in detail below. One of the main challenges of living in a shophouse means that you will have to deal with traffic noise. These shophouses are along Cairnhill Road, and the constant noise from supercars zipping past can be a nuisance to the property occupiers.


Also, the front façade shows that this is a two-story shophouse. Rear extensions might allow a third floor to be added in, but still, total GFA will be affected as not much changes can be done towards the front of the property.


Emerald Hill Shophouses

Emerald Hill Shophouses

Traffic noise is less as compared to Cairnhill Road Shophouses as Emerald Hill Road accommodates only Single lane, one-way traffic.


However, the challenge in protecting the façade means that the GFA potential is limited.


Dublin Road Shophouses

Dublin Road Shophouses

What is unique about these Dublin Road shophouses is that these are only the available 5 in a row. Notice that, the front façade of the shophouses is reminiscent of stylings from the first transitional shop style from the 1910s until the second transitional shophouse style of the 1940s. Intricate tiling works can still be seen from the front porch which suggests a more bountiful period from its original owner.


Although these Dublin Road shophouses are not gazetted conserved status, the front façade is still maintained by its current owners.

Shophouse Typology

Source: URA


Scrutinizing the differences in the façade with the Cairnhill Road and Emerald Hill shophouses, you will realize that Dublin Road shophouses accommodate an upper third story façade.


The irony is that if the owners of these shophouses intend to completely tear down and rebuild without maintaining the façade, it is permitted by URA. However, I believe that these property owners feel a certain sense of responsibility after purchasing these properties.


The depth of the front porch allows up to two cars to be parked within your compound.


Traffic is not an issue either, since this shophouse is not a through road. This means that most people that are passing by this area are probably the property occupiers.


Interior Pictures


Main Courtyard

Airwells leading into the internal courtyard provides natural ventilation and lighting to the shophouse interior. This is especially important to provide a cool indoor environment within our tropical climate.


Encaustic clay-tiled flooring, shown in the main courtyard, transports you back to simpler times.


Shown slightly out of this picture, is the original timber staircase still in good working condition.


Some modern touches are present, such as air conditioning units installed!

Bedroom

One of the bedrooms within the shophouse, with original timber flooring. With creative space planning, space can be further demarcated for different uses or better privacy, i.e. recreation room, lounging room, etc.

Top Bedroom.jpeg

This is the second bedroom, take note of the high ceiling which forms part of the attic space. Mezzanine levels can be explored (Subject to approval), and along with the exposed brick walls in the attic space, brings to mind New York loft apartment stylings.

3rd Floor Walkway

Covered walkway along the side of the property. With the right interior designing, it can be an exceptional canvas to showcase your rare collection of art pieces.

Outside Courtyard

Landed homes within D9 are rare, and this Somerset Area shophouse has a land size of 2797 sqft! Also, its built-up is close to 6,000 sqft. If the built-up area is still too small for you, further A&A works can be done (subject to approval) which can increase the Gross Floor Area (GFA) closer to 9,500 sqft!


5 Minutes’ Walk to Somerset MRT


All it takes is a short 5 minutes’ walk to Somerset MRT! This makes this property of exceptional value!


I can assure you, there are no other similar properties in the market right now of greater GFA/Land Area and price.


Price


*Contact me now for sales transactions!*


Somerset Area shophouses have amazing resiliency. Prices have steadily increased over the years and should be able to be priced competitively above $10 million.


Have a look at prices for two competing areas, Cairnhill Conservation Area and Emerald Hill Conservation Area.


Shophouses Price Trend

The Cairnhill Conservation Area has managed to consistently increase in value over time, but the lack of volume makes it easier to dismiss its track record for consistent growth. I believe that the lack of volume could potentially be due to the reasons that I have mentioned above.


What about the Emerald Hill Conservation Area? The PSF seems to be shocking with its volatility. Furthermore, there is a record of an unprofitable trade.


In my opinion, the reasons why a potential buyer might dismiss purchasing a property because it lacks conservation status, a moot point, seeing that transaction volume is so low within these areas. This nullifies the point in which conservation status = strong demand.


If conservation status is a prime example of good capital appreciation, why is it not shown here?


Disadvantages


Residential Shophouse


As the property is zoned residential, buyers might be put off by the stamp duties costs. However, the intended buyer for this property is someone who is looking to occupy the premises themselves.


Furthermore, he/she recognizes the huge potential in holding a fairly priced shophouse with capital appreciation upside, and the huge potential to increase its current GFA as explained earlier.


These are traits which are not available for conserved shophouses, as they are often not as fairly valued, and/or big.


Viewed from another perspective, it as a non-conserved, residential shophouse allows such limitations to take on a more positive role.


Needs Restoration Work


Purchasing shophouses are not for the faint of heart, and it takes a lot of work to maintain one. Be prepared to fork out at least 1-2 million dollars in restorative works. However, interested buyers should recognize this to be a passion project/owner-occupied property.


If you can afford to completely tear down and rebuilding a landed property within 2 million dollars for your home, this should not be any different!


Conclusion


In my opinion, buyers/investors are too strongly opinionated against non-conserved, residential shophouses. They do provide good value with careful selection. It will be a shame to overlook such properties on a small technicality. Besides, having a non-conserved shophouse allows more flexibility for the property owner.


I feel that conserved status for commercial shophouses is generally more important than its residential counterparts. This is because these zones are usually in high traffic dense areas and conservation is required to protect it from the redevelopment to higher built-up areas.


I’m aware that this article might seem too opinionated, but I want to reassure you that it is not. All shophouses have good value. Instead of focusing on just the monetary value, these shophouses help us to remember the previous few decades of Singapore’s architectural roots and it is important that we do our utmost to preserve.


Did you enjoy reading this review? Allow me to provide something similar to your property! I provide long-form articles as a form of extended listing for my sellers, and I find them to be effective in standing out in the property market.


If you are an interested buyer, feel free to contact me at +6596329840 or Joshua.loo@orangetee.com for more information.


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.

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