Friday, April 20, 2012

Shoebox flats rake in higher rental yields

Straits Times: Fri, Apr 20
TINY 'shoebox' homes here are raking in much higher rental yields for investors than other apartment types but experts warn the good times might not last.

Data from the Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX) found that gross yields for shoebox apartments were 5.4 per cent in the first three months of the year.

This is well above the 2.5 to 3.5 per cent yields that residential properties typically return to investors.

The SRX shoebox yield was based on the average rent of $6.51 per sq ft (psf) per month for the 197 leasing deals inked in the period. The average unit price of the 123 shoebox homes sold then was $1,450 psf.

Typically, rental yield is calculated by dividing the rental sum received over 12 months into the cost of the unit. But SRX calculated the yield by dividing the average psf rent over 12 months by the average psf price of units sold in the first quarter.

Shoebox units are typically 500 sq ft or smaller and can be found in projects like Parc Imperial, Thomson V One and Prestige Heights.

A total of 42 shoebox units at Prestige Heights have been rented out since the start of the year, SRX's data showed. They enjoyed average rents of $6.89 psf per month with yields at 4.9 per cent.

Just last month, a 409 sq ft unit at the Balestier Road project was leased for $2,850 while another 420 sq ft apartment secured a tenant at $2,700 a month in February.

There were 16 leases signed for shoebox units at Heritage East in East Coast Road, with average rents of $6.30 psf and yields of about 5.1 per cent.

SRX collates and displays transactions by the major property agencies, accounting for more than 80 per cent of resale transactions in the market.

Experts say investors have flocked to the shoebox segment in droves, attracted by the affordable prices - typically less than $1 million. In fact, about one in seven buyers picked up new homes 500 sq ft and smaller last year, according to R'ST Research.

And the climbing yields seem to be the main driver pulling investors in.

Yields of these tiny apartments have climbed from 4.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2010 to 5.4 per cent in the first quarter this year.

This is more than double the rental yield of 2.4 per cent in the luxury segment, according to analysis by Citi Investment Research. It also dwarfs the 3.6 per cent yield in the mid-end segment and 4.1 per cent yield for mass market homes.

But these high yields are not expected to last as an increasing supply of completed shoebox homes enters the market...

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Team Marshe
Martin Koh/ Sherry Tang
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