In this chapter of Eugene Koh’s Property Guide, I want to share with you what are Dual-Key apartments and how it should be included in your property investment portfolio.

Dual-key – A type of layout that essentially is one apartment but has another smaller apartment within it. The bigger apartment is separated from the smaller apartment by a common foyer. The smaller apartment is similar to a typical studio apartment layout.

Typical Dual-Key layout

Dual-key condo units were first introduced into Singapore property market hit in 2009 and since then, developers have caught on, launching numerous projects across Singapore that feature dual-key units.

Here are some factors to consider regarding the benefits and potential pitfalls of Dual-key apartments.

Two for the price of one:

Buyers looking to purchase two units at a time, will not be affected by additional buyer stamp duty (ABSD) which rose significantly in 2018 if they choose Dual-key. The savings from not incurring ABSD is one-factor buyers of two units will consider. Let me give you an example, Haus on Handy is a new private residential project located in Orchard, next to Dhoby Ghaut MRT station. It has 1,2,3 and dual-key layouts available. 

the price shown is for illustrative reference and is subject to change by the developer.

The difference between option 1 and option 2 is approximately S$400,000. This is excluding the normal buyer stamp duty for buying the 1-bedroom unit. For this amount you will save, it is definitely something worth considering if you intend to buy two units.

Neighbour as a tenant:

If you intend to rent out one unit and stay in the other, your neighbour is essentially your tenant as well. This is kind of a big deal if you had bad experiences with previous neighbours and at the same time, exciting to have full control over the type of tenant profile you choose, as they be sharing the same foyer. Personally, I wish to have a foreign neighbour from different cultural backgrounds so I can introduce them to durians. 

 

Smaller units easier to rent out:

In my experience, tenants mainly want lower rent even if it is just very slight. Studio unit in the Dual-key apartment is perfect for tenants who do not have too many of their own furniture and possessions. For example, rental for a 1-bedroom apartment in Suites at Orchard (Next to Haus on Handy) is about S$3,300-3,700 per month. A smaller studio unit can very easily rent out for S$3,000-3,200 per month based on current market conditions.  

Rental Transactions in Suites at Orchard. Source: Edgeprop

 

The total maintenance fees for owning two apartments is more than a dual-key. These savings can compensate for the lower rental and in fact, give landlords more room for negotiations as they do not need to fork out additional maintenance fees. Landlords can accept lower rental but still nett an equal or higher rental yield.

Estimated maintenance fees for Haus on Handy.

Can it be harder to offload in future?:

One of the reasons why buyers may not want a dual-key unit is that it might be harder to sell. However, there is not enough historical data to support this claim of losing targeted segments of buyers, who will only consider the 3-bedroom layout. Dual-key layout targets a niche market of buyers but I believe during market up-swing, buyers will still be interested to buy a dual-key if they are able to look past the inefficient configuration of space (the sharing foyer). Sellers of dual-key apartments can target,

    1. Parents with children who are newly-wed 
    2. Couples with no kids or no future plan to have them.
    3. Singles who do not need as much space and want good rental yield 
    4. Multi-generation families

These buyer profiles are best suited for dual-key as they do not compromise on privacy and also can have a well-structured plan to make full use of their property.

“Is a Dual-key unit ideal choice ?”

In my opinion, Dual-key is awesome as it is a single title, thus no ABSD required. It provides versatility in planning ahead as you can choose to either rent out the smaller unit or the bigger unit depending on your current situation. Location to amenities is crucial, regardless if you are intending to rent out or stay on your own because of the limited space in a Dual-key. Most Dual-keys do not have two fully functional kitchens or utility room for storage, which is why being close to amenities such as shopping malls, eateries and MRT is important.

 

If you are a savvy investor looking to buy for investment, there are ways to purchase 1-bedroom or studio unit by buying Dual-key. Let me give you an example,

 

 

In such scenarios, Mr.Lim can consider buying a Dual-key unit with his brother by way of tenancy in common. They would collectively save approximately S$236,000 and also only need to pay for 1 instead of 2 unit’s maintenance fees per month which mean Mr.Lim can nett a higher rental yield compared to buying his own. The setback for such an arrangement is that in event Mr.Lim or his brother decides to sell the apartment, both parties will have to come to mutual agreement as dual-key counts as a single unit.

Here are recent new launches which feature dual-key units:

For the prices and availability of new launch dual-key apartments or list of resale projects which feature dual-key, do drop us a message and we will attend to your inquiries shortly.

 

 

 

 

 

Eugene Koh

+65 90405508

Eugenekoh.aikyang@gmail.com

 

 

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