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The commercial shophouse market in Singapore saw a slower performance in 3Q2023, with 2Q2023’s higher transactions and rents easing. A total of 38 shophouse transactions were recorded in the third quarter, based on the caveats lodged, representing a 19% q-o-q drop from the 47 deals registered in the previous quarter. Transaction value also saw a 19% decrease to reach $350.8 million.
The slower activity could be attributed to the eased demand following the initial tightening of the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty rates, along with the softening economic sentiment and anti-money laundering blitz that began in August. Looking at the year-on-year performance, there was a 5.6% increase in the number of shophouse deals, while the transaction value was 2.3% higher.
For the first nine months of the year, the total number of shophouse deals and the total value was 117 and $1.1 billion respectively. This compared unfavorably to 155 deals and $1.3 billion recorded in the same time period a year ago.
Most of these deals were centered in fringe areas such as Districts 8 and 14, with District 8 witnessing the highest activity with nine transactions valued at $84.5 million. District 14 saw six deals while District 12 reported five shophouse deals. District 1 and 2 had fewer transactions, although PropNex estimates a higher figure of “a number of deals” based on market observers.
The priciest shophouse transaction in 3Q2023 was a 11,947 sq ft freehold shophouse along Cheong Chin Nam Road, hitting the market at $3,432 psf. A row of three adjoining freehold shophouses on Jalan Besar was the second-largest deal, selling for $6,037 psf at 6,378 sq ft.
When assessing the price trend, there was uneven growth across districts due to the fluctuating sales volume. Freehold and 999-year leasehold shophouse prices in Districts 7 and 8 grew by 7.3%, while districts 14 and 15 witnessed a sharp decline of 39.4%. Prices in Districts 1 and 2 fell by 13.2%.
Meanwhile, the 99-year leasehold shophouse prices in Districts 7 and 8 rose by 12%, with Districts 1 and 2 experiencing a 3.9% increase. Prices in other parts of Singapore decreased by 12.8%.
Shophouse rents too saw a decrease for the first time since 4Q2021, with the median price falling to $5.97 psf pm in 3Q2023. Leasing volume was steady, with 926 rental contracts valued at $9.2 million, compared to the 908 contracts valued at $9.25 million in 2Q2023.
Looking forward, PropNex expects 2023 to be a more subdued year as the limited selection of shophouses and firm prices are likely to impact the market performance while the flight-to-safety sentiment among investors has begun to wane. Nonetheless, the firm believes investment appetite for shophouses will remain resilient as the scarcity and defensive nature of such assets are likely to draw interest, in addition to the recovery in tourism and the growth in the services sector.