By Jessica Mudditt

As Myanmar’s expatriate community continues to grow, its demographics are changing – and some property developers are beginning to take notice. An increasing number of expats arriving in Yangon are singles, who for the most part struggle to find appropriate rental accommodation in a market which is dominated by family-scale homes.

According to a report published in March by real estate services provider Colliers International, studios and one-bedroom apartments, combined, make up less than a third of Yangon’s serviced apartments, whereas in cities such as Manila and Bangkok, more than two thirds of apartments are studios or one-bedroom apartments.

For solo expats looking to relocate to Yangon, the lack of smaller sized apartments can be a headache for the companies sponsoring their arrival.

“Besides the supply shortage situation, the availability of studio and one-bedroom units is scant, driving most professional expatriates to incur expensive rents on unnecessarily large units. This is despite the fact that the number of single expatriates is continually rising, while the city’s infrastructure and amenities remain inadequate to meet foreign families’ requirements,” the report stated.

The shortage was alleviated somewhat on 1st September when Japanese-owned Sakura Residence launched Sakura Residence II, which is located within the same serviced apartment complex and is aimed at meeting the needs of single tenants.

Sakura Residence II features 126 single bedroom apartments and 14 two bedrooms apartments that measure 48 metres and 65 metres respectively.

“Whereas the original Sakura apartment complex has everything from studios to three bedroom apartments and many families living there, Sakura II is geared towards single expats, couples, or perhaps couples with an infant,” said Sakura’s spokesperson Mio Horikoshi.

When Sakura Residence was established in 1998, it became the first serviced apartment in Yangon.

“Sakura has been around for a long time, so we’ve built trust among the community in terms of the standards of quality we provide,” Ms Horikoshi.

She added that occupancy rates at the original Sakura complex are “ninety-nine percent full” and that some tenants have been living there for as long as five years.

And while the basic rule about personalising apartments with fixtures is the same as it is any serviced apartment, Ms Horikoshi said that Sakura’s management is very flexible and strives to accede to any reasonable request.

“Sakura’s II’s apartments are more modern in design and feature high ceilings, which makes the area feel more spacious,” Ms Horikoshi told Myanmore InDepth.

As well as daily housekeeping services, amenities at Sakura Residence include 24-hour reception, 10MB Wi-Fi, security and concierge, a 25 metre swimming pool, a cafe, convenience store plus a newly renovated gym with a sauna and scheduled yoga and aerobics classes.

A second car park is currently being built in the basement of Sakura II to ensure that “every tenant has at least one parking space.”

The basement also offers shared storage space, which will be locked and secured for storing non-valuable items such as golf clubs.

Apartments at Sakura II start from US$3,600 a month, which is only slightly higher than the price of the average serviced studio apartment in Yangon, which a report by Colliers International found to be $3,500.

The minimum lease period is 3 months, with quarterly payments required in addition to a security deposit.

Sakura Residence is located on 9 Inya Road, Kamaryut Township.

For more information about Sakura Residence II, visit www.sakura-residence-yangon.com or email [email protected]

This article was previously published in MYANMORE’s monthly lifestyle magazine, InDepth #9, July 2015

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