Steep rents push Singapore bridal shops into industrial parks

Steep rents push Singapore bridal shops into industrial parks

Far from the madding crowds of Singapore's glitzy shopping malls, Cynthia Neo runs a bridal boutique tucked away in a nondescript industrial building in an old housing estate, pushed off the high street by pricey retail rents.

The owner of J&C Bridal Collections pays one quarter the rent she once shelled out for a shop in the heart of Chinatown, where a string of restaurants, hotels and retail shops meant a steady stream of shoppers.

But rising rents may be creeping into the industrial parks too. Industrial property prices have surged 27 per cent this year after a government crackdown on residential investment pushed speculators into factories and warehouses.

Residential property developers are starting to wade into the light industrial market too, trying out upscale "lifestyle" office parks that look like posh condominiums.

Some established industrial players say valuations are getting a bit too rich.

"It's been our assessment that the market has started to get a little hot," said Nick McGrath, chief executive officer of Singapore-listed AIMS AMP Capital Industrial REIT.

"We've used the strength of the market in the last 12 months to sell properties rather than buy," McGrath said, adding that the real estate investment trust has shifted its focus to upgrading existing assets instead of buying more.

Singapore's government has introduced six rounds of measures to cool rising home prices, including an additional stamp duty aimed at foreign buyers and a cap on tenures for all new residential property loans.

Those moves succeeded in capping property price increases this year - the residential market is up just 0.96 per cent through October - but they did not bring about the 10 per cent fall that some analysts had predicted.

Now the government is turning its attention to industrial property. To make land prices more affordable to businesses, in July, it capped lease terms for industrial sites sold under a government land sales programme at 30 years instead of 60.

Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.