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Shophouses In Singapore

The shophouse is one of the most popular forms of local Singaporean architecture. It is symbolic of the heritage of Singapore, and as a result they are more commonly found in the more historic cities throughout South East Asia

Shophouses have a few features that make them distinctive from other buildings you may find in south-eastern Asia. They have a narrow face to look at, but they have a greater depth.

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A Key Part of Urban Conservation

Singapore takes their urban planning and development extremely seriously in terms of maintaining the cultural heritage of Singapore whilst embracing the future and expansion. They have key historical areas that include places such as Boat Quay, Chinatown, Kampong, Glam and Little India. It’s this blend of the old and new that gives Singapore it’s flavor.

Shophouses are a representation of the past, a part of culture that wants conserving. These historic buildings are full of unique character and add to the identity of the city, especially for Singaporeans who feel it’s important to memorialize that past as they embrace the future. .

A Little history of Shophouses

Shophouses are a part of Singapore’s colonial history, stretching all the back to the 18th century. As Singapore started to grow in the 1960s, many Shophouses were flattened for new developments. Understanding the importance of conserving some it’s heritage, the 1970s and the start of the 1980s saw a change in policy. State owned shophouses along Murray Street and Tudor Court were renovated and restored to their original state which brought with it a change in perception as to the value of these pre-war buildings.

The 1980s brought with it a renewed interest in preservation and conservation. A good example is the pedestrianisation of Emerald Hill Road in 1981. In 1986 the URA unveiled their Conservation Master Plan to renovate and restore Singapore’s historical areas. Starting with 9 Neil Road in 1987, it was a catalyst for increased restoration of Shophouses throughout the Tanjong Pagar precinct and other areas too.

Heading towards the late 1980s, over 3200 building were earmarked for conservation in 10 historical districts across Singapore. The districts were: Chinatown (Telok Ayer, Kreta Ayer, Tanjong Pagar and Bukit Pasoh), Little India, Kampong Glam, Singapore River (Boat Quay and Clarke Quay), Cairnhill and Emerald Hill.

To date, conservation status has been given to over 7000 buildings in more than 100 areas.

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A Unique Investment Opportunity

A shophouse is a fantastic investment opportunity. Older shophouses are of a limited availability throughout Asia given that many of them were demolished throughout the renovation periods. So, by investing in a shophouse you’re already in a pretty niche crowd of owners. Exclusivity directly translates to a return on property investments. The modern shophouses are strong, contemporary and easily customisable to suit your business needs. The added flexibility of being able to expand into a row of shophouses make it a very attractive proposition.

Further to this, investing in shophouses today mean you face the possibility of opening F&B outlets,offices or other form of commercial operations.. However, it’s still very important to be wary of what is permissible. There are multiple uses that are allowed as long as you get some planning permission.

Shophouse zoning

Actually, shophouses have different zoning depending on the location. Classically, the first storey has commercial permissions , while the upper storeys are residential

However, in other area, you might expect permissions to include upper storeys being used for commercial enterprise of various incarnations. Thus Shophouse zoning plays a vital decision in investing.

Regardless of whether you are a fan of the older, or modern, shophouses, there’s no denying that the practicality of them both from a business and residential standpoint make them a good buy opportunity as an investor.

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Who Are We?

Highly acclaimed in commercial shophouse realtors
and top producers

Mr Richard Tan 陈家平

Mr Richard Tan 陈家平 ASSOCIATE DISTRICT DIRECTOR , PropNex Realty Pte Ltd

Highly acclaimed in commercial shophouse realtor and top producer, Richard Tan has notably gained a strong foothold in a short span of 10 years. He currently specializes in the area of heritage buildings and shophouses.

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Mr Vanz Han


Transacted more than S$400m worth of commercial properties from 2012. Deal-maker of prime area commercial shop/shophouses.

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Best Property Value

For Sale
(negotiable)S$15,000,000S$4,497/sq ft

Chinatown Pagoda Conservation (D02)

39 Pagoda Street Singapore

Sq Ft: 3335

Single Family Home

6 years ago

For Sale
(negotiable)S$8,200,000S$1,640/sq ft

Sq Ft: 5000

Apartment, Commercial, Shophouse