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Category: Shop Houses
Shophouses are a common type of building in the architectural and built history of Singapore. Most of these buildings have two or three floors and are built in blocks that are joined together at the sides. They are small, narrow row houses with a covered “five-foot” walkway in front.
These shophouses were built between the 1840s and the 1960s. Before World War II, they made up most of the buildings in the old city center and other parts of Singapore. They are also often seen in the old parts of South East Asian cities.
So, most of the buildings that are protected by law are shophouses. The important parts of the shophouses have been carefully restored and saved in line with our guidelines for conservation.
Shophouses here have different styles because they were often built at different times. When it comes to shophouse architecture, there have been different times.
There is the Early Style, which is simple and has few or no decorations. There is also the austere elegance of the Second Transitional Style and the sleek modernity of the Art Deco period, which replaced rich details and tiles with smooth columns and arches.
The Late Style is the most interesting because of its bright colors and fancy tiles, as well as its mix of Chinese, Malay, and European styles.
Imagine Chinese friezes made of porcelain chips and air vents shaped like bat wings living together with Malay wood fretwork, French windows, Portuguese shutters, and Corinthian pilasters.
Shophouses are common in places like Joo Chiat/Katong, Clarke Quay, Emerald Hill, Kampong Glam, and Chinatown, to name a few.
Some of the Key Elements of Shophouse
- Timber Structural Members: This means the main and secondary wooden beams that go from one party wall to the other and support each floor. It also includes the floorboards made of wood and the rafters that hold up the roof.
- AirWells: Airwells are courtyards that are open to the sky. They give the inside of the shophouse natural lighting and ventilation. In our tropical climate, they help make our homes more comfortable.
- Timber Windows: French or Casement-style windows made of wood that have a frame. Some have solid infill panels, while others have wooden shutters or jalousies that can be opened and closed to let in air and light.
- Party Walls: These are the main walls that hold the weight of a shophouse and the one next to it.
- Front Facade: The part of the house that is visible from the street. Different architectural eras will have different ways of making facades look good.
- Upper Floor: This goes over the 5-footway to make a covered walkway for people.
- Five-Footway: This gives people on foot a place to walk that is protected from the hot sun and pouring rain. Since the first Town Plan for Singapore, Raffles said that this was a must.
- The Rooftop: Most roofs are built on a “pitched” frame made of wood and covered with natural-colored, unglazed V-shaped terracotta roof tiles. Shophouses built after 1900 usually have flat, unglazed, natural-colored tiles that fit together. These tiles are often called “Marseilles” tiles.
- Stairs Made of Wood: This is a reference to the stairs inside the shophouse, which are often made of wood. Some houses have balustrades made of wood that are very fancy.
- Back Courtyard: At the back of the shophouse, there is a large, open courtyard. It is bounded by the party wall, the rear boundary wall, the service block, and the back of the main shophouse. In the past, this area was used for things like the kitchen and the bathroom.
Why Invest in Commercial Shop House?
There is no stamp duty for selling commercial shop houses. In contrast, if you sell a residential or industrial property within the first three years, you have to pay stamp duty.
No ABSD, which stands for “Additional Buyer Stamp Duty,” means that they don’t have to pay any extra taxes for not being Singapore citizens or for buying a shophouse as an extra property.
Some Shophouses are not registered for GST, which means you don’t have to pay GST when you buy or rent them.
High chance of capital appreciation, In the past few years, property that touches the land often appreciated faster than strata property.
High loan to value means that you can borrow up to 80% of the property’s value or the purchase price, whichever is less. Once the value of your property has gone up, you can get ready to make more money, which you can use to buy the next shophouse. You can keep doing this to own more than one shophouse.
Since trades can be used in more than one way, the rent is higher than for other things. Some shophouses can be lease for F&B or entertainment usage at higher rental rates to get a better rental yield. At the same time, more than one person can rent a shophouse. Most of the time, the rental income from a shophouse is higher if it has been split into more units.
Foreigners can buy full-commercial shophouses in Singapore, which means that anyone can buy, while Singapore landed property can only be bought by Singaporeans. Any person can buy in a commercial shophouse. That is, even when you sell, you can sell to locals as well as foreigners. This gives you a larger pool of potential buyers when you sell in the future.
Possible increase in GFA (Gross Floor Area). Some shophouses with high ceilings can be gutted and built up with more stories, making the total amount of usable space bigger.