Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

March 21, 2008

More landed-home owners installing lifts

Filed under: General — Propertymarketupdates @ 11:52 pm

Many do so to help elderly family members with mobility problems get around the house.

OFFICES, shopping malls and high-rise apartments are not the only places with lifts zipping people up and down the different levels.

More Singaporeans in landed properties are coming round to the idea of installing them in their homes as well.

While they are generally those who are better-off, having a lift at home is not always about sloth or showing off: Many have at least one family member with mobility problems.

Take 52-year-old Mr Harold Tan, an air-cargo businessman. His four-storey house in the Braddell area has a carpeted lift servicing the four levels.

He already had the lift in mind when the house was being designed, primarily because his mother – now 82 and who goes over to stay once a month – has a knee problem.

‘Now, with a lift, she and her friends can come over and they can go to any floor they want. It is not a problem like before,’ he said.

The others in the house are his 40-year-old wife, their 20-year-old daughter and a maid.

He added: ‘Home lifts are going to become more common as people start to live longer.’

Those in the business of making lifts confirm the trend.

Otis Elevator and Hitachi Asia said they have noticed an increase in home lift installations in the past few years. And architectural firms like Interdesign Berakan started designing homes with lift shafts in 2006.

Mr Siew Yat Hung, a senior sales manager at Hitachi, said the company has seen a 50 per cent jump from 2006 in lifts installed in homes.

He put the trend down to the economy doing well and people getting older and needing help negotiating the stairs.

Often, they have a wheelchair-bound family member, and can afford the cost of this convenience.

Installing a lift costs less than people think, said Mr Siew.

‘It costs less to install a home elevator than to own a car – and many in Singapore own more than one car.’

Mr Tan, for example, spent $45,000 for his lift, which he reckoned was ‘not much’ when compared to the cost of the house. He also does not consider the yearly maintenance cost – $1,000 for four servicings – too much to pay.

Instead of moving to apartments, owners of landed properties can consider installing a lift when their weak, ageing knees start giving problems.

Mr Tan said his neighbour has already retrofitted his home with a lift shaft in anticipation of such a day.

Mr Peter Fong, a semi-retired oil and gas consultant, has also decided to install a lift so he can continue to enjoy his space as he ages.

His house in Bukit Timah is now being fitted with a $70,000 Otis lift, which he said will ‘help me keep track of my active grandchildren when they run up and down’.

Already, the three, aged from two to five, run him ragged whenever they visit, which is often.

Of course, the pragmatic Singaporean who installs a lift in his home looks far ahead as well.

Mr Tan said: ‘A home with a lift will be a draw for three-tier families if the house is ever put up for sale.’

While the lift is now a boon for his mother, he also plans to spend his own golden years in the house, without needing to worry about navigating those stairs.

Source : Straits Times – 7 Mar 2008

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