Heritage Shophouses Shine in Singapore

Demand for conservation shophouses, boutique hotels and good class bungalows in Singapore as trophy assets for wealth preservation is on the rise.

There is increasing activity from private investors and investment funds buying up a collection of conservation shophouses and boutique hotels in historical buildings over the past 12 months in Singapore. This trend of buying “historical placemaking properties” will continue to rise for 2022, especially for ultra-high-net-worth individuals, who are also actively snapping up Good Class Bungalows in Singapore, predicts Simon Monteiro, Singapore’s leading shophouse and boutique hotel specialist at List Sotheby’s International Realty.

“Conservation shophouses, boutique hotels and good class bungalows all have three attractive qualities as trophy assets – they are limited in supply, have great historical value and come with their own unique story. This appeals to ultra-rich investors because ownership of these assets is akin to owning valuable fine art on top of owning a piece of Singapore’s history,” Monteiro says. The Associate Vice President of List Sotheby’s International Realty adds that some of his clients buy them to pass them on to the next generation.

Monteiro also likens owning a historical placemaking property to being part of an exclusive members club where there is only a limited number of memberships, and a long waiting list. It is about the prestige and exclusivity of being part of this small social circle of owners where irrespective of the prices, there aren’t enough of these properties due to strict regulatory guidelines to preserve Singapore’s heritage. Additionally, buyers and sellers typically are very private people, so the properties are often marketed confidentially thus preserving the ‘’exclusive club” aura.

Only Singaporeans are allowed to buy Good Class Bungalows, while foreigners are only allowed to buy conservation shophouses and heritage buildings earmarked for commercial uses in the landed property segment.

Simon Monteiro at Duxton Hill

Centred on placemaking

Placemaking properties are part of the character of a neighbourhood and investors see the value of the properties’ heritage. Some are drawn to the provenance of the architecture of the buildings, or the stories of the people who had once lived there, or even the historical significance of the streets or roads where the properties are located.

Furthermore, property developers around the world have started to illustrate how homes can rise in value when they are built in neighbourhoods and distinct districts that have their own story or “character”.

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