Singapore’s so-called shophouses are a defining element in some of the city-state’s historic neighborhoods. Built in the early 1900s, they are usually found in the city center, blend traditional architecture with ornate details and display colorful facades.
“Shophouses traditionally refer to two- or three-story terrace houses commonly found in Southeast Asia, particularly in countries like Singapore or Malaysia,” says Sammi Lim of Brilliance Capital. “These buildings typically have a shop or commercial space on the ground floor while the upper floors serve as residential areas. However, over time, some shophouses have been converted into single-family homes without commercial spaces.”
Those in the Emerald Hill Conservation Area reflect Georgian and Regency styles, with Chinese baroque details on the front, walls and ceramic tile floors. The properties can undergo major work, Lim says, but have to respect and conserve the façade and materials used.
“There are specific regulations or restrictions to preserve their heritage value,” she says. “Depending on the location and local regulations, there are limitations on modifications, exterior changes or demolition of heritage buildings.”
Lim is currently representing one such property set on a 1,600-square-foot lot within a quiet neighborhood close to Orchard Road, a premier shopping and entertainment street. The asking price for 44 Emerald Hill Road is SGD 10.9 million or nearly USD 8.1 million.
“There is always premium pricing tagged to this location, which is a highly coveted area,” Lim says.
Offering 4,700 square feet of open-concept space, the property has two levels and a mezzanine featuring modernized interiors while retaining traditional charm. There are four bedrooms and four bathrooms.
The next owner could come from a wide pool of potential purchasers.
“Shophouses, especially those located in desirable or historic areas, may attract buyers who appreciate the architectural charm and heritage value,” Lim says. “These properties could be appealing to individuals or families seeking a unique blend of residential and commercial spaces or those interested in preserving historical properties.”
The small Emerald Hill community was traditionally home to the wealthy families of bankers and business people. Today, it is also popular with expats.
Lim says she could envision someone buying her listing for their own use “or even an investor who will rent it out for income revenue.”