Many Singaporeans often prefer the slick and stylish designs of new properties; however Mr Getty Goh, Director of Ascendant Assets, a local boutique research consultancy, has always had a penchant for older properties.
“Whenever I look for a property, I will always try to go for the old units. In fact, the older they are the better. I like old properties mainly because they give me an opportunity to do it up just the way I like it”, said Getty.
Apart from allowing him to exercise his creativity, another reason why Getty prefers older properties is because they have a greater “value for money” proposition, and are thus potentially better investments than spanking new properties.
“When I was writing my second book, Buy RIGHT Property, my research team and I wanted to find out whether new sale units or resale units were more value for money. Intuitively, we expected new sale units to be pricier than older resale units; however the question was how big was the difference?”
According to research from Getty’s book, the median price of private properties that were completed in 1980 and 2009 were $499psf and $1,278psf respectively. Hence for the same amount, buyers could potentially get more value when they purchase an older property from the resale market.
With Getty’s preference in older properties, a particular passion of his is pre-war conservation shop houses. “I had always wanted to try living in a pre-war shophouse. I was very fortunate that the dream eventually became a reality when I purchase one such unit along East Coast in 2010.”
As the unit was in the original condition, extensive renovation on the unit had to be done. Despite the scale of the work, the cost of renovation amounted to slightly over $100,000 and the time taken for the renovation works was only 6 weeks.
“Many of my friends, who had been to my shop-house, were surprised to find out that the whole renovation process took such a short time. Many of them had done some renovation work on their own homes before and knew how long drawn the process could get. They would frequently ask me how I did it and I would always tell them to hire a reliable contractor. People are often reluctant to pay for a good contractor and go for the one with the lowest quote. However, I feel that it is more important to find someone reliable. Even though some of these reliable contractors may not be cheap, ultimately you can be assured of the quality as well as the timeliness of the renovation work.”
While staying in a prewar conservation shop house can be appealing, it is not without some disadvantages. Getty shared that one of the main disadvantages he faced was the lack of parking spaces. Hence, these properties might not appeal to families that have more than one car.
With only a handful of shop-houses around, Getty feels that he was very fortunate to have stayed in one. “For those who have the chance to stay in a shophouse, I would strongly recommend that you give it a try. Conservation shophouses have been around since the pre-war days and is part of Singapore’s heritage. Ultimately, staying in one would probably be one of the most “Uniquely Singapore” experience anyone can get.”
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