More families are opting to keep their loved ones close – literally. Large, dual-key units with two separate apartments under one roof have become increasingly popular, offering multi-generational families an ideal way to live together in harmony yet maintaining personal privacy. 

Call it ‘keeping your family members close, but not too close’. From newlyweds who want to take care of their elderly parents, to couples who prefer living with a set of parents to help with their young children, more Singaporeans are going for larger homes that can house multiple generations comfortably under one roof.

My wife and I understand that she (the daughter)’d like her own privacy, but we’ll be happy if she lives close to us.

Mr John Lim, an interested investor who has a daughter in her mid-30s, said that the availability of such dual-key units have even prompted him to consider co-investing in an apartment with his daughter.

He told Home and Decor magazine: “My wife and I understand that she’d like her own privacy, but we’ll be happy if she lives close to us. With property prices so high these days, a three-room HDB flat will cost more than $300,000, so co-buying a dual-key unit may be the best solution for us.”

grandparents, children, multi-generation, family, living together
Dual-key units allow grandparents to stay close to and take care of their grandchildren

Since private developers started introducing dual-key units in 2009, the apartments have become a hit with Singaporeans of all generations. Property consultancy firm Knight Frank found that the proportion of large private residential projects containing dual-key units has increased from 19 percent in 2011 to 53 percent in 2013, to meet growing demand.

In 2014, a survey by the Singapore Ministry of National Development showed that one in four Singaporeans wants to live with either set of parents upon marriage. Mr Kish Singh, a civil servant in his 30s, is one of them. He told The New Paper that besides being able to care for their parents, he and his wife could also get help in looking after their own children in future. “By living under one roof, you can also save on groceries,” he added

Today, more private developers are incorporating dual-key units in their new and upcoming residential properties. The Glades at Tanah Merah, a condominium by Keppel Land and China Vanke, for instance, also features four-bedroom dual-key units. Each unit contains a three-bedroom apartment and a studio apartment. The condominium is conveniently located adjacent to the Tanah Merah MRT station, as well as a a variety of schools, shopping malls, sports centres and hospitals that will meet the needs of multi-generational families. 

glades at tanah merah, dual key bedroom, floor plan, keppel land, tanah merah
Floor Plan of a Dual-key 4-Bedroom Unit at The Glades - The area marked in orange offers a private living space for the elderly parents while allowing them to stay close to their children's family

For people who prefer city living, Highline Residences by Keppel Land also offers a range of three-bedroom and four-bedroom dual-key apartments. The condominium is just steps from the Tiong Bahru MRT station, and an easy stroll to the many trendy shops, restaurants and bars in the neighbourhood.

If a family that plays together sticks together, a family that lives under one roof will develop even stronger bonds. A dual-key apartment offers each generation its own space, while making sure that their loved ones are never more than a knock on the door away.

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