The Dual Key Living concept is one of the latest additions to the Malaysian property scene and has been increasingly popular among developers and house buyers. Though it may be a new concept here, they have existed for decades in places such as Japan, the United States and Australia. The very first Dual key property was developed by Wing Tai in its Verticas Residensi in Kuala Lumpur in 2011 and has taken off since then, becoming a common feature in new property launches.
What is a Dual Key Concept?
Dual Key concept is when there are two units that share a main entrance and foyer area but have a separate living, bedroom and kitchen area. The main unit usually has a bigger square foot area while the secondary unit is much compact and smaller in size.
This idea was introduced to cater towards multi-generational living, for example a married couple could have more privacy when living with in-laws, or grandparents can still have their own home, while still living under the same roof with their family. Other plus points in a multi-generational living include the benefits of safety, privacy as well as cost savings and a higher return on investment.
Unlike a duplex property, dual key properties can be rented out to two different tenants and the owner receives two streams of income from rental. This serves as an excellent investment tool as the homeowner can choose to either rent out either one unit or both units separately to maximise their rental income.
The rental income for both units would fetch a higher amount, in comparison to a standard unit of the same size. As an example, a dual key unit within The Heritage @ The Mines is being rented out at RM2,200 for the main unit (1,200 square feet) and RM1,300 for the studio unit (300 square feet) giving a total rental of RM3,500 per month. On the other hand, a standard unit of similar size apartment at Astetica Residences @ Seri Kembangan within the same locality is being rented out at RM2,800 per month.
The Dual Key Lifestyle
After multiple nationwide lockdowns the past two years, you may have gotten used to the lack of social interaction and think this is the way forward for you. Co-living arrangements are a good idea if you and your friends have been wanting to start a new adventure together!
Here are some important factors you should consider, before you sign on the dotted line:
With two separate entrances, living and kitchen privacy for both tenants are respected. With an increasing aging population in Malaysia, the dual key concept is the solution for families who wish to look after their parents and kids can have the privilege of seeing their grandparents on a daily basis, while still preserving the privacy between parents and grandparents. Moreover, tenants are also assured of their space and privacy as they will not have to be in the same household as their landlord.
As you have the option to either rent out the unit individually, or rent out to two different tenants – there will be two sources of income to the owner of a dual key property owner. Furthermore, if the owner stays in one unit whereas he rents out the other unit, there will be additional income to the owner. Hence, with the same number of rooms within a standard unit, dual key units are able to produce higher yield.
Since the tenant and landlord would be living right next to each other, rent collection will be easier. It will be easier on the landlord in the event of late payment, as the tenant will be their immediate neighbour. In addition, if any maintenance or repair towards the unit is needed, a dual key unit will be able to ease this process as the landlord will be able to arrange for maintenance at a more flexible time.
Solution to multi-generational household problem
With the cost of living increasing in Malaysia, many millennials are unable to purchase their own house. At times, the cost of renting or buying their own home is out of their budget. At times, with ageing parents, these millennials are unable to move out as they need to cater to their parents’ needs. Hence, a dual key concept is a solution to this problem. Both households will be independent of each other but still within reach. Millenials will have a peace of mind as they will have independence from their parents while still being aware of the safety of their family members close by.
Alternative use of secondary unit
The dual key concept unit is extremely flexible and owners are even able to use the secondary unit as an office or guest bedroom, allowing them to save on rental income, travel time and expenses. With most companies allowing flexibility to work from home, business owners are able to convert the smaller unit into an office space, hence saving money on rental.
Are you convinced to purchase a dual key property already? Before taking the plunge, here are a couple of cons you’ll have to consider.
Unable to sell the unit separately
Even though having two separate units is able to generate a higher yield, the two units cannot be sold separately. A fix for this would be to convert it into a single property, but this would be an additional cost incurred to renovate.
Higher entry cost
As the size of a dual unit property is higher than a standard unit, the price of it is also naturally much higher. Buyers have to be prepared to set aside a larger sum for the deposit and a higher monthly mortgage payment. Only buyers with stable monthly income are encouraged to purchase a dual key property, as compared it might be less attractive towards the lower or middle income group of buyers.
There may not be as much demand for dual key properties
As dual key properties are relatively new in the Malaysian marketplace, it’s hard to know how much demand these property types will attract. In contrast, you will be more likely to attract tenants if your dual key home is located near transportation, schools, retail, and dining. To get a better understanding of the local demographics, do some research beforehand.
Kick start your dual key property hunt with this list!
Sentral Suites is a lush nature’s retreat for its residents. Comprising of two acres of facilities and open spaces, Sentral Suites offers urbanites a city escape. It offers a variation of 10 types of units, that range from 650 sq ft to 1166 sq ft.
Nestled in the heart of Klang Valley, Sentral Suites is located only 500m away from KL Sentral. Sentral Suites development has won the hearts of investors due to its close proximity to the KL Sentral transportation hub and business district, Mid Valley City. Residents are able to enjoy a comprehensive selection of amenities for the modern urbanite as well, with facilities such as infinity & family pools, sky pods, sauna, basketball court, outdoor & indoor gyms and many more!
KL Sentral being the largest transit hub in Malaysia, provides an integrated transportation system that connects residents to areas all around Malaysia.
Apart from rail services, KL Sentral also offers shuttle bus services within Kuala
Lumpur, Johor Bahru, Penang as well as to Singapore. It’s a one-stop hub for all your travel necessities.
TRIA Seputeh is a unique and beautifully designed leasehold development that’s located in Jalan Teluk Datok, Kuala Lumpur. Launched in 2017 and expected to be completed in the year 2022, this exclusive private residence consists of 3 condominium towers – Pelto, Ebon, and Cave.
Besides its strategic location, TRIA Seputeh is surrounded by plenty of amenities, such as schools and education centers, shopping malls, mosques, hospitals and others!
TRIA Seputeh has a total of 38 floors, and there are a total of 734 units in this development. Buyers have the option to select from a variety of floor plans or they have the option to rent out the units as well, making this development attractive from an investment point of view.
Amverton Greens is the most recent development to come on the market in Bukit Rimau, Shah Alam. This condominium houses 280 units within the 3 towers.
Buyers will have the option to pick from 5 layout sets. The built-ups vary from 953 sq ft to 1,528 sq ft. Most of the units have an average of 3 bedrooms, while the largest layout has 4 bedrooms, 1 extra room and 5 bathrooms – which is the dual-key feature layout, which will definitely be attractive for prospective investors.
Facilities such as multipurpose courts, gymnasium, swimming pools and viewing lounges and decks are some of the amenities that residents have access to. Residents can also live worry-free, with a 24-hour security system.
Agile Mont Kiara is an exclusive high-end development with low density per acre in the verdant enclave of Mont Kiara. It is built on 10 acres of freehold land and the developers offer seven different floor plans across 813 units. Two out of the eleven blocks come with the dual key concept.
Moreover, it’s located approximately a five-minute walk away from Publika Shopping Mall and 4 International Schools nearby – which is extremely convenient for young couples or families wanting to move into this dual key property.
A freehold serviced residence, Sunway Serene is positioned in Petaling Jaya, Selangor. As a result of its prime location, multiple public transportation nodes are nearby, namely Setia Jaya KTM, Sunway-Setia Jaya BRT, Mentari BRT, Seri Setia KTM and Glenmarie LRT.
A superbly located enclave near the thriving Sunway City township and the established suburb of Subang Jaya, Sunway Serene Residence provides convenient access to healthcare and education facilities of international standards.
Should you buy a dual-key property?
In a nutshell, the popularity of dual key units has risen over the past few years, especially in metropolitan areas. Here’s a recap about the pros and cons of this type of property:
Unable to sell the unit separately
Higher entry cost
Possibly less demand for dual key properties
Solution for multi-generational household issues
Utilisation of secondary units as an alternative
It’s popular amongst developers as well as tenants and investors because of the high selling points in privacy, higher yield, easy maintenance, solution for multi-generational household problem, and a great alternative use for the secondary unit as an office, particularly in today’s work from home world.
Even though the cons are lesser, it is something to consider especially if you’re a young millennial planning to move out but still would like to care for your ageing parents or planning to use the secondary unit as a home office for yourself or planning to use it as an office as a shared workplace.
As with any property type, the dual key property has its benefits and drawbacks. The key to choosing the right property for you is to align with your financial needs and goals.