Commercial vs. Industrial Property in Singapore: An Investor’s Guide

  • 1 month ago
Commercial vs. Industrial Property in Singapore
Commercial vs. Industrial Property in Singapore

Exploring Singapore's Property Market: Should You Go Commercial or Industrial?

Singapore’s property market is a great place for investors. It has many different kinds of properties, but commercial and industrial ones are especially interesting. Knowing about these types is important if you want to invest here.

Commercial properties in Singapore include places like office buildings and shops. They are good for earning rent money and are often in busy business areas. Industrial properties are different. They are things like warehouses and are important for making and storing goods. These properties can also be good for investors.

Each type of property in Singapore has its own rules and ways of making money. For example, when you buy commercial properties, you don’t have to pay a special tax called ABSD. This makes them a good choice for adding variety to your investments. Industrial properties have their own rules about where they can be and how they can be used.

If you’re thinking about investing in Singapore’s property market, it’s important to learn about these types. This guide will help you understand commercial and industrial properties better, whether you’re new to investing or already have experience

Table of Contents

Understanding Commercial Property in Singapore

Understanding Commercial Property in Singapore

Definition and Types of Commercial Properties

In Singapore, commercial properties are buildings or spaces used for business activities. These include office spaces, retail shops, serviced offices, medical suites, and hotels. Each type has its unique features and serves different business needs.

Office Spaces

Office spaces are where businesses run their operations. In Singapore, there are various types of office spaces:

  1. Grade A Offices: These are high-quality buildings often found in the Central Business District (CBD). They are popular with big companies and have high rent due to their location and facilities.
  2. Shophouse Offices: These are in older, heritage buildings and are loved for their unique charm. They’re often cheaper than Grade A offices and popular among creative industries.
  3. Serviced Offices: These are fully-equipped offices that come with services like reception and IT support. They’re great for small businesses or foreign companies starting in Singapore.
  4. Co-Working Spaces: These are shared office spaces where individuals or small teams can rent desks. They’re flexible and good for networking.

Retail Properties

Retail properties are spaces used for selling goods and services. This includes:

  1. Shopping Malls: Found all over Singapore, from the famous Orchard Road to suburban areas.
  2. Mixed Developments: These are buildings with both retail and residential or office spaces, often located in convenient areas with good foot traffic.

Serviced Offices and co-working Spaces

As mentioned, these are flexible office solutions. They’re becoming more popular in Singapore because they offer short-term leases and a community environment.

Medical Suites

These are spaces in buildings designed for medical practitioners. They’re often in areas with good accessibility and in mixed developments.


Hotels in Singapore range from luxury to budget, catering to tourists and business travellers. They’re an important part of the commercial property sector.

Investment Benefits

Commercial properties in Singapore have several benefits:

  1. Higher Rental Yields: They often bring in more rent money compared to residential properties.
  2. No ABSD: Investors don’t have to pay the Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty, which applies to residential properties.
  3. Market Trends and Demand: The demand for commercial spaces often follows business and tourism trends, which can be strong in Singapore.

Considerations and Challenges

Investing in commercial properties also comes with its challenges:

  1. Maintenance and Upgrading: Owners need to keep their properties in good condition to attract tenants.
  2. Impact of External Factors: Things like the COVID-19 pandemic can affect how much demand there is for office and retail spaces.
  3. GST Implications: Buying commercial property in Singapore involves paying Goods and Services Tax (GST), which investors need to consider.

Commercial properties in Singapore offer exciting opportunities but require careful consideration and understanding of the market. Whether you’re looking at office spaces or retail properties, each type has its unique aspects that can influence your investment decision.

Exploring Industrial Property in Singapore

Exploring Industrial Property in Singapore

Definition and Types of Industrial Properties

Industrial properties in Singapore are spaces used for manufacturing, production, and other industrial activities. They are categorized mainly into B1 (Light Industrial), B2 (Heavy Industrial), food factories, business and science parks, and wafer fab & advanced display parks. Each type serves specific industrial needs and comes with its own set of regulations.

B1 Industrial (Light Industrial)

B1 industrial properties are designed for light and clean industrial activities. These are usually located closer to residential areas and have less environmental impact. Examples include tech manufacturing, software development, and light assembly.

B2 Industrial (Heavy Industrial)

B2 industrial properties are for businesses that involve heavier manufacturing and might have a greater environmental impact. These are typically located further from residential areas and include activities like heavy machinery production and metalworking.

Food Factories

Food factories are specialized industrial properties designed for food production and processing. They must meet specific health and safety standards and are often located in designated food zones.

Business & Science Parks

These parks cater to businesses in research and development, high technology, and knowledge-intensive industries. They offer a clean and high-quality business environment, often with state-of-the-art facilities.

Wafer Fab & Advanced Display Parks

These are specialized parks for companies in the semiconductor and advanced display industries. They are equipped to meet the specific needs of these high-tech industries, including cleanrooms and specialized utilities.

Investment Benefits

Investing in industrial properties in Singapore comes with several advantages:

  1. Potential for Higher Rental Yield: Industrial properties often offer higher rental yields compared to residential properties.
  2. No ABSD and GST Applicable: Investors in industrial properties are not subject to Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD), and Goods and Services Tax (GST) may not apply in certain cases.

Considerations and Challenges

However, there are also considerations and challenges in investing in industrial properties:

  1. Seller’s Stamp Duty (SSD): Properties bought after 2013 are subject to SSD if sold within a certain period after purchase.
  2. Shorter Tenure: Industrial properties typically have shorter lease terms, ranging from 30 to 60 years.
  3. Location and Zoning Restrictions: Industrial properties are subject to specific zoning laws, which can limit where they can be located and what activities can be conducted.

Industrial property investment in Singapore offers unique opportunities but requires an understanding of the specific market conditions and regulations. Whether you’re considering a light industrial space or a specialized park for high-tech industries, each type of industrial property presents its own set of benefits and challenges. As an investor, it’s important to carefully evaluate these factors to make the most of your industrial property investment.

Commercial vs. Industrial Property - A Comparative Analysis

When diving into the world of property investment in Singapore, it’s crucial to understand the differences between commercial and industrial properties. This understanding will guide you in aligning your investment with your goals, financial capacity, and market trends.

Investment Goals and Risk Appetite

Every investor has unique objectives and a different level of comfort with risk. Commercial properties, like offices and retail spaces, often attract those looking for stable rental income and long-term capital appreciation. These properties usually have a higher visibility and accessibility, which can lead to consistent rental demand. However, they might also require more active management and can be more sensitive to economic fluctuations.

Industrial properties, on the other hand, might appeal to those seeking higher yields and less competition. These properties often have longer lease terms and can provide a steady income stream. However, they come with their own set of risks, including the potential impact of industrial market fluctuations and the shorter lease tenure.

Financial Considerations

Understanding the financial implications is key in property investment:

  1. GST and ABSD: Commercial properties in Singapore are subject to Goods and Services Tax (GST), but investors benefit from not having to pay Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD). For industrial properties, GST may also apply, and there’s no ABSD, making them financially attractive for diversification.
  2. Loan-to-Value (LTV) and Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR): The LTV ratio for commercial and industrial properties can be different from residential properties, often lower, which means you might need a higher initial capital. The TDSR also applies, ensuring that your total monthly debt obligations do not exceed a certain percentage of your income.

Market Trends and Future Outlook

The success of your investment can depend on external factors and market trends:

  1. Commercial Properties: The demand for commercial spaces is closely tied to the overall economic health and the growth of sectors like tourism and retail. For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted retail and office spaces, but recovery is on the horizon with the resumption of international travel and business activities.
  2. Industrial Properties: These are influenced by the manufacturing sector’s health, government policies on industrial land, and global trade trends. For example, the shift towards high-tech manufacturing in Singapore could increase the demand for specialized industrial spaces.

Future Developments and Government Policies

Government policies and future developments can significantly impact both sectors. For instance, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)’s master plans and zoning regulations can affect the supply and demand dynamics of both commercial and industrial properties. Staying informed about these developments is crucial for making strategic investment decisions.

Choosing between commercial and industrial properties in Singapore depends on your investment goals, financial capacity, and understanding of market trends and policies. Each type offers unique opportunities and challenges, and the best choice depends on your investment strategy and market insights.

Practical Tips for Investors

Investing in Singapore’s property market can be a rewarding venture, but it requires careful planning and informed decision-making. Here are some practical tips to guide you on your investment journey.

Conducting Thorough Research

The first step in any successful property investment is doing your homework. Understanding the market trends and legal implications is crucial. This means keeping up-to-date with the latest market data, such as rental yields, occupancy rates, and property price trends. Also, familiarize yourself with the legal aspects, including property ownership laws, tax obligations, and any changes in government policies affecting real estate.

  1. Market Trends: Look at historical data and current trends to predict future market movements. For example, how have commercial property prices changed in the last five years? What factors influenced these changes?
  2. Legal Implications: Be aware of the legal requirements and implications of owning and renting out property. This includes understanding the terms of lease agreements, property taxes, and any zoning laws that might affect your investment.

Seeking Professional Advice

While doing your research is important, there’s no substitute for professional advice. Engaging with real estate experts and financial advisors can provide you with insights and guidance tailored to your specific situation.

  1. Real Estate Experts: A real estate agent who specializes in the type of property you’re interested in can provide valuable insights into the market. They can help you find properties that meet your investment criteria and guide you through the buying process.
  2. Financial Advisors: They can help you understand the financial implications of your investment, including how it fits into your overall financial plan. They can also advise on financing options and help you structure your investment to maximize returns and minimize risks.

Long-Term Planning

Property investment should always be viewed as a long-term endeavour. This means considering future developments and potential growth areas when making your investment decision.

  1. Future Developments: Stay informed about upcoming infrastructure or commercial developments that could affect property values. For example, a new MRT line or business park can significantly increase the value of nearby properties.
  2. Potential Growth Areas: Look for areas that are poised for growth. This could be due to government initiatives, such as the development of new commercial hubs or urban redevelopment projects.


As we’ve explored, Singapore’s property market, with its diverse range of commercial and industrial properties, offers exciting opportunities for investors. Whether you’re drawn to the potential high yields of commercial spaces or the unique prospects of industrial properties, the key to success lies in informed decision-making and strategic planning.

Remember, every investment journey is unique, and the path you choose should align with your financial goals, risk appetite, and long-term objectives. The Singapore property market, while promising, requires a nuanced understanding of market trends, legal frameworks, and financial considerations.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your property investment journey, don’t go it alone. Our team of experienced real estate advisors is here to guide you through the complexities of the market. We can provide personalized advice, up-to-date market insights, and professional support to help you make informed decisions and maximize your investment potential.

Reach out to us today to start a conversation about your investment goals and how we can help you achieve them. With the right guidance and expertise, you can navigate Singapore’s property market with confidence and success. Let’s embark on this exciting journey together!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Commercial properties are used for business activities like retail, offices, or hospitality, while industrial properties are for manufacturing, warehousing, or production.

Yes, foreign investors can buy commercial and industrial properties, but they should be aware of certain regulations and may require government approval for certain types of properties.

Commercial properties are exempt from Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD), and both commercial and industrial properties have potential tax benefits, but it’s best to consult with a financial advisor for specific details.

Consider location, type of commercial activity, potential rental yield, maintenance costs, and the impact of market trends and economic factors.

Industrial properties often offer higher rental yields but may come with higher risks due to market fluctuations in the industrial sector and shorter lease terms.

Financing options include bank loans and mortgages, but the Loan-to-Value (LTV) ratio and Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) requirements may differ from residential properties.

Government policies, including land use regulations, development plans, and economic policies, can significantly impact property values and investment potential.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) applies to commercial and industrial property transactions, and investors should factor this into their financial planning.

Stay informed by following real estate market reports, and news, consulting with real estate professionals, and attending industry seminars and webinars.

Yes, it’s highly recommended to seek advice from real estate experts and financial advisors to understand market dynamics, and legal implications, and align your investment with your financial goals.

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