Unit size, that is. It used to be that a one-bedder in 2008 measured an average of 678 to 947 sq ft. From 2010, they measured 538 to 678 sq ft. When the minimum becomes the maximum, it may be the sign of times.
Property developers have been shrinking condominium sizes to make them fit into the pockets of buyers. And these are not restricted by area, across the board, homes are getting smaller. Shoebox apartments have been the focus these past couple of years, but now, it’s not only the studio apartments which are put under the microscope. Two and three-bedroom units have also been getting the slice. For example, a three-bedder in Natura at Hillview Terrace measures 635 sq ft, that’s even smaller than the smallest one-bedder unit launched in 2008. And before 2008, the same would have gotten you 1,500 sq ft.
As Singapore’s population rises, the challenge to contain all in livable conditions fall not only in the hands of the Government, but also on private developers. High land costs, labour costs, material costs have all contributed to the situation. It’s either higher prices or smaller spaces. Or both. But does this mean buyers now pay less? As competition increase, property developers find themselves fighting for the same crowd of buyers, and trying to put out products which fit into their price points.
Most buyers are willing to fork out $1.5 million for their first or second home, especially since loan limits have been tightened in the most recent round of property curbs. But experts are less concerned about the small size of shoebox apartments than two and three-bedders. They have voiced their concern that while it is reasonable for one person to live in a 500 sq ft studio space, it may not be so for small families to live within 600 to 700 sq ft. And these not only apply to private condos, but also to ECs (executive condominiums).
The trend looks set to continue, but is there any more space left to shrink? What quantifies “livable” space and are Singaporeans getting the quality of life they need?