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Are Dual-Key Units A Good Buy?

What is a dual key unit? A dual key unit is a single property unit comprising 2 separate living spaces sharing the main door and common foyer. Developers and agents often market them as 2 for 1, meaning you get 2 units for the price of 1. Dual key units are very versatile and can be used for a variety of purposes and needs which we will discuss below.

Dual-key units are typically 3% to 5% bigger than regular condos of the same bedroom type in terms of floor area. This unit type was first introduced in 2009 by developer Frasers Property, then known as Frasers Centrepoint, for the project Caspian in the west part of Singapore. Since then, many more developers have jumped onto the bandwagon. According to URA data, in 2011, only about 3.5% of all units launched were dual key units. As at 2013, the percentage of dual key units had increased to about 7.5%.

So why the increased popularity of these units? Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of owning dual key units:

1. Ideal for bigger / multi generation families

Because of the larger unit sizes, dual key units are especially appealing to multi-generation families who want to stay together and yet have their own private space. The family can stay in the main unit whereas the grandparent/s can live in the sub-unit. That way, all can live under one roof and yet there is no compromise on privacy.

2. Higher Rental Yield

For non multi generation families, they can choose to rent out the sub-unit for additional income. You can do this without having to purchase a second property for the sole purpose of renting out.

3. No ABSD (Additional Buyers Stamp Duty)

Property investors who purchase a second property is subjected to 12% ABSD. However, in the case of dual key units, the sub-unit is not considered a second property and therefore not subjected to ABSD.

As attractive as buying a dual key unit may sound, there are some disadvantages:

1. Dual key units may have a higher per square foot (psf)

Some developers price the dual key units in their projects at least a 15% higher in terms of per sqaure feet (psf) than regular units. So if you buying a dual key unit from the open market, the price premium is something you will have to consider carefully.

2. Limited resale opportunity

As dual key units appeal to a certain segment of buyers, mainly larger families or multi generation families, it may be more difficult if you are looking to sell off the unit due to the higher price and limited market opportunities.

3. Restricted usage as a home office

For those planning to use the sub-unit as a home business, there is a constraint as the URA limit not more than 2 non-residents as part of the business. That makes it very difficult if you are planning to expand the business in the near term. Another disadvantage is that you are not allowed to put up any business signages.

Recent developments with dual key units include Park Colonial in D13 which is developed by the CEL Group. For those looking to live in the West Coast of Singapore, units are available at Whistler Grand in D5, by renowned developer CDL. In the heart of Orchard Road, units are available at 8 Saint Thomas which is located in prestigious D9, developed by Bukit Sembawang Estates.

If you have decided to invest in a dual key unit, simply search on MOGUL's platform. With its intuitive search function, you will be able to find a suitable dual key unit that is within your budget along with important nearby amenities that you desire.

1 Comment

A big yes , dual keys properties are good especially landlord can always watch over their tenants.

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