Niche investment in Singapore

Columbarium niches

SINGAPORE: Some investors have recently turned to a niche form of investment — buying columbarium niches.

Nirvana Memorial Garden, a columbarium at Old Choa Chu Kang Road, has been in business for two years.

So far, about 300 of its customers are said to have bought niches for the purpose of investment.

A part—time cleaner, who spent about S$20,000 on four niches, said: "I bought a more expensive one and a normal one. It’s like buying flats and condos. My brother told me about people who bought an entire row of niches and managed to sell a few units for quite a lot. Some people really want the units next to their family."

Currently, a niche can cost between S$2,900 and S$18,000.

Jessie Ong, Nirvana Memorial Garden’s marketing & public relations manager, said there are some tell—tale signs when a customer isn’t buying the niche for his own use.

"From our conversation with our customers and from the way they fill up the purchase order....they do not indicate the intended user. Actually, the purchaser has the right to do the transfer, so we cannot stop them from doing so."

She added that what the company sells is the right to use the niche.

However, industry watchers say religious groups and clan associations frown upon this practice.

William Quek from Union Casket said: "They can’t allow this sort of speculation to cause confusion or conflict within their organisations."

Mr Quek added that there are more than 200 churches, temples and clan associations which offer niches at S$1,000 to S$10,000 per unit.

— CNA/ir