Kovan and Dual-key apartments – A Perfect Match

Dual-key apartments were a relatively new property type just a couple of years ago, but now, they are all the rage, especially with big families and property investors who are looking for prime property to rent out. And the latter could have found their perfect match with dual-key properties.

Trilive KovanThese dual-key apartments are unique for its 2 entrances within one unit. And this helps investors rent out the same unit they live in, while still keeping their privacy, all the while avoiding the ABSD (additional buyers’ stamp duty). If you own more than 1 property, subsequent properties will mean higher taxes and duties.

Developers are quickly picking up on buyers’ keen response to dual-key apartments and are including more of them in new launches. A new condominium development, Trilive in Kovan, will feature 88 dual-key units , that’s almost 80% of its total 124 units. To be launched later this year in June, dual-key units will start from its 614 sq ft two-bedders. Prices have yet to be released but are expected to be similar to that of the nearby The Tembusu, at $1,400 to $1,500 psf.

Kovan is an up and coming area for high rental take-up rates as rents there are relatively affordable for its convenient location and surrounding amenities. It has one of the highest rental yields in Singapore. It’s proximity to areas such as Hougang and Serangoon also means it is close to a number of schools, various modes of transport and just a few stops away from the city center.

The road ahead for the property market could be spiced up with the introduction of more dual-key units in future launches. Buyers will undoubtedly be interested to see how these new properties provide an edge up from what is currently in the markets.

Property developers discounts may be cut

If you’re waiting to see if the developer of your property of choice might dangle discounts to counter the recent cooling measures, you might have to reconsider. The authorities have caught on to property developers‘ tactics of offering discounts as a means to entice customers to buy new properties, especially since the cooling measures have taken a huge chunk out of the business.

But fear not, only the indirect discounts are under review by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. These mostly refer to the rebates and vouchers that the buyer receives only after purchasing the property. Since these are not reflected in the upfront price which the buyer pays, it may make the cooling measures seem ineffective, which also means URA’s quarterly price index based on caveats lodged might not be a true reflection of the market situation.

Property developers on the other hand tend to lean towards indirect discounts as this helps placate early buyers who may not be happy that they had gotten the raw end of the deal. Keeping the upfront price high also helps to keep prices high all around.

Other ways which developers have been trying to help buyers out are through the partial or full absorption of the Additional Buyers Stamp Duty (ABSD) which has been increased in the most recent round of measures. The frequency and fervency of this practice might be what the authorities are watching as it negates the effect of the property measures.

Another concern is also that the true value of the property needs to be conveyed truthfully to the home buyer, but with the discounts and cuts, it might not be the case and it might only confuse consumers. Not forgetting that home loans are based on the property value, thus might buyers be paying more in the end through bank loan interests for a higher priced property?

So are the cooling measures truly working? If it seems that discounts are offered more frequently, then it might be.