Singapore on Tuesday said it will restrict the growth of "shoebox" private apartments in the suburbs to ease overcrowding concerns and encourage couples to have children.
The new cap will come into force on November 4 to "discourage new developments consisting predominantly of 'shoebox units' outside the Central Area", the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said in a press release.
Shoebox units in Singapore typically measure 50 square metres (538 square feet) or less, about half the size of an average public housing apartment.
Singapore developers ramped up the construction of shoebox units to boost sales as land and other costs shot up in recent years.
Such units will increase more than four-fold from about 2,400 at the end of 2011 to about 11,000 units by the end of 2015, the URA said, adding that the share of small apartments in some developments can now reach 50-80 percent.
Such units "do not meet the needs of larger households and are not conducive for couples to have children," the body said, referring to a campaign for young Singaporeans to start families early and reverse the falling birth rate.
"A large concentration of such developments can strain the local road infrastructure as the number of housing units ends up much higher than what was originally planned for," it added.
Shoebox apartments command prices ranging from Sg$1,200-Sg$1,900 ($964-$1,526) per square foot.
Overcrowding in land-scarce Singapore has in recent years become a political topic, with the government's liberal immigration policies blamed for bringing in a massive influx of foreigners and straining local infrastructure.