550sf vs 1,000sf, choice is clear to me

On and off, I read articles on how best some interior designers redesigned a tiny small space into a liveable space. For some cases, it is tagged as desirable space. In a recent article, someone bought a small garage, made it into a very nice little home which can even be used to host parties for friends. He made into two levels, so that he can have a bed on the 1st floor and sleep right below the ceiling. Is this a lifestyle that I would want in the near future? Well, even if I am single, not for me. To me, size is very important to me. No matter how awesome a 550sf space can be redesigned into something which looks like a 1,000sf, I would prefer that 1,000sf place anytime. Yes, call me a ‘traditionalist’ but I am quite an objective ‘traditionalist’. Why do I say so?
Space is a premium. This means that whether you own a 550sf or a 1,000sf today, it is likely that these sizes are the maximum that you can afford for the same price levels moving forward. In other words, if a RM400,000 buys you a 550sf today or a 1,000sf in a less popular area, this is likely to the biggest money can buy. There is no need to look too far. Just refer to the Hong Kong and Singapore examples. Yes, there is every possibility for another financial crisis and the prices may drop 20% or even 30%. However, we have to understand that once prices drop way too much, it is more likely that supply will stop because there’s just no way to build. Then, the demand and supply takes over and space is a premium would be true again.
Size is what I see, not just what I think I have. I open my door and saw that I have just a 550sf studio unit but hey I have two floors which extends the whole unit into 800sf. Wow… not for me. Many ‘traditionalists’ like me would still like to open the door and cannot finish viewing the whole place without moving about. Yes, if possible with my loved ones or for those with family, then with their families. I am very sure the singles would argue that 550sf is more than enough. I agree but always remember, between a 550sf versus a 1,000sf unit, it is not always that people would choose the 550sf unit. For Malaysia, I think until today, the preference is for a larger unit. Ask any Singaporean or Hong Konger and tell me if you think majority of them would prefer a smaller unit versus a larger one. Let’s be objective on this one, ok?
If you really love small units and wants to stay in it forever, yes, please do buy one and enjoy it for the rest of your life. If however you are buying small units because the sales people are telling you this is the trend of the future, think again. Even the Singaporeans and the Hong Kongers would still tell you that they prefer bigger units instead. Especially units big enough for a small family gathering. Definitely not a unit big enough only for the whole family to sleep on the floor. If you buy with your eyes wide open, you should do just fine. Reason being with its affordability price tag, these small units are unlikely to depreciate much even during crisis. However, with its already high overall price vis-a-vis its size, please do not put high hopes that it would continue to rise to the sky. Happy buying and staying in one, if you truly love one.
written on 26 Jan 2015
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  1. Size must be include the ceiling height. Any condo or apartment below 10.5 ft I will not consider for new project.

    1. Haha… Agree. 10.5 is also my consideration but only for condo. If it’s apartment, I am ok for 9.5ft.

  2. It is true that size are the key concern and a good in selling point, it is unlikely for me to choose the size lesser than 500sf either, i can’t really imagine how constraint in term of space especially the shoe box type in Singapore, that would easily cost at least S$600k and above, affordability is the big concern, besides, the external layout along the corridor in walk way is too narrow which is door to door facing, as i can measure estimately, i can certain that the hotel corridor even wider than that. The worse part is.. there are dozen of shoes like pasar malam scattering around on the floor where in front of the neigbour’s door, they allocates their shoes cabinet outside of the door since the corridor is too narrow, it is really a big problem.

  3. J C Law avatar
    J C Law

    I owned a Service Apartment with b/u 490sf, a studio unit. Based on the past renting records, i would say this type of property is a temporary measure for those still in single or a couple. With the increasing supply for the shoe box unit that selling from 500 – 700psf to market especially Klang Valley, the space for capital appreciation would be very limited.

    1. Hi JC, for those who bought earlier, these units would give you continuous and very good returns as well as very good capital appreciation. However, when we look at some of the opportunities today, these units are no longer cheap whether overall price or even price per sf. That’s why I prefer much bigger units.

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