Dual Key Units – the Pros and Cons

One of the most recent additions to the Singapore property scene, dual key apartments have become increasingly popular among developers. After an aborted attempt with a similar scheme by the HDB in the 1980’s it was as recently as 2009 when Fraser Centrepoint Homes successfully introduced the concept to these shores with their Caspian development. They now offer buyers a very credible alternative choice when deciding on the property they should buy. In fact between 2011 and 2014, dual key units were a feature of nearly half of all new residential properties launched.


2 Bedroom - Dual Key Unit
A Two-Bedroom Dual Key Unit from new launch condo, Sophia Hills


What are Dual Key Units?

A dual key property is simply one where two homes share a main door and foyer, but then have separate living areas. Some dual key units also share a lounge or kitchen. The idea was originally brought in to cater for multi-generational living, meaning that a married couple could have more privacy, or grandparents could have – for all intents and purposes, their own home, while still being under the shared family roof.




3-Bedroom Dual Key
3 Bedroom unit from new launch, Principal Garden


The Advantage of Dual Key Units

Dual key apartments are extremely versatile, and offer so much more than the aforementioned additional privacy in multi generation living arrangements. Many of the newer units either come as standalone apartments, or can modified as such with the removal of a wardrobe for example, to be replaced by a kitchenette. This then offers the owner the ability to rent out the second part of the unit, thus offsetting their own monthly instalments. They also mean that if a landlord is renting the whole unit out, then they will be able to receive two (albeit smaller) rental incomes instead of one. That plus the fact that dual key units effectively bypass the government’s Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty, means that they are an extremely attractive proposition for investors.


Another alternative use for the separate unit is to use it as an office, once again saving rental income, plus travel time and expense. A final advantage of this type of unit is that they are relatively easy and cheap to renovate into a larger house should the need or desire arise at a later date.


The Disadvantages of Dual Key Units

The main disadvantage is that one of the units tends to be small in size, with few facilities. Very often it will consist of a bedroom, a small bathroom and either a kitchenette – if you are lucky, otherwise simply a pantry and fridge. For families living in the same larger house, or for those simply wanting a roof over their heads in a certain location this does not present a problem. It is not always practical or suitable however for people who are using it as their only/main home. Similarly, if two separate tenants are sharing the unit they do obviously have some shared space and facilities, plus there will be less soundproofing than in traditional units.


Because of their attractiveness to investors, dual key units are often priced slightly higher, but in reality this is more than offset by the increased revenue potential.





Take a look at some of these new condos in Singapore that offer Dual Key Units


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