New rules to limit shoebox homes

New rules to limit shoebox homes

The Government has unveiled a new policy to discourage the fast-rising number of tiny "shoebox" homes being built outside the central city area.

It is placing a cap on the number of homes that can be built at each private non-landed development outside this area. The central area is unaffected.

But an even tighter cap, already in place in Telok Kurau, is being extended to Kovan, Joo Chiat and Jalan Eunos.

The new guidelines aimed at curbing the number of shoebox units - typically less than 50 sq m - will take effect on Nov 4.

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) noted yesterday that the stock of completed shoebox units will have surged by four times, from about 2,400 at the end of last year to about 11,000, by the end of 2015.
This trend has raised concerns, especially in suburban areas where larger households and families typically live and where the demand for shoebox units remains untested, the URA said.

Singapore should have some shoebox units to cater to singles, retirees and couples without children, but these homes should not form a disproportionately large share of housing stock, it added.

In recent years, blocks of flats have even been built on the site of a single landed home. Residents have faced traffic congestion and double parking as a result of overcrowding.

The maximum number of units that can be built is obtained by multiplying the development site area by its Master Plan allowable gross plot ratio, and then dividing that by 70 sq m. This works out to an average unit size of 70 sq m. URA said the size is comparable to the average gross floor area of a 3-room HDB flat.
For the affected areas of Kovan and Eunos, the maximum number of units uses the same formula but dividing by 100 sq m.

While many had expected URA to introduce a minimum size for units, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan said on his blog yesterday that the URA wanted to restrict the over-development of tiny homes without over-regulating or stifling the creativity of developers.

Instead of a minimum size, "URA chose to limit the maximum number of apartments that developers can propose in a particular development...

"This way, developers are still free to build small apartments if there is demand, but there must be a good mixture of large and small units, in order to meet the URA guidelines," Mr Khaw said.

Source: The Straits Times – 5 September 2012