Different Types of Properties in Singapore

Different Types of Properties in Singapore

The Array of Housing Options in Singapore

There are a number of different styles of housing to be found in Singapore. Whether you are looking to enjoy public housing like a two-room flat, studio apartment or executive flat or are interested in investing in private property, there is something out there for you. From landed homes like town houses, bungalows and terrace houses to condominiums, the right place for you is waiting for you to discover.

Public Housing by Housing and Development Board (HDB)

Public housing is offered by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) to all Singapore Citizens under a 99 leasehold tenure. HDB aims to  provide affordable and quality homes, ensuring vibrant towns, and focussing on the community. More than 80% of the Singapore population live in an HDB flat.

  1. Studio Apartments

    Studio apartments, while still apartments all the same, aim to meet specific needs of different people, such as senior citizens who live modestly and want to live more independently as they are often smaller and feature an open, easily accessible plan throughout. Studio apartments often come in two standard sizes of 36 square meters and 46 square meters, and both of these sizes can easily house one or two people. These apartments often have many features that are perfect for accommodating elderly residents, such as support bars in the bathroom, special non-slip tiles, and pull-for-help cords.

  2. Two-Room HDB Flats

    A two-room HDB flat is one that has been specifically made to accommodate smaller households and for those who do not own too many items. These kinds of apartments are usually approximately 45 square meters and will typically include a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom and a space intended for storage. These are often considered a nice counterpart to one-bedroom apartments but are generally preferred over them because they are often much cheaper.

  3. Three-Room HDB Flats

    Even though it may just sound as if a three-room flat is going to just be a slight bit of an upgrade in terms of room numbers from the two-room flat, this is not the case. A three-room flat has more to offer in the form of a master bedroom with an attached bathroom, another bedroom, a living room, a common bathroom, a storeroom aka bomb shelter, a kitchen and a service yard. These types of flats are usually around 60 to 70 square meters, and while they may still be considered compact, they are definitely the way to go for families living with children on a budget.

  4. Four-Room HDB Flats

    Yet another step up from the flat style before it, the four-room flat is perfect for couples who are starting a family or plan to soon. These types of flats offer a comfortable and cozy environment to live in, as they are essentially the three-room flats with an additional bedroom for children. Not only this, but a four-room flat also allows for a lot more space in which to live, estimating to be a total of around 90 square meters. This kind of flat is available in a number of different layouts depending on what your family likes.

  5. Five-room HDB Flats

    A five-room flat will often possess many of the qualities that have been mentioned about the other flat styles, such as a master bedroom with an attached bathroom, one or two additional bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, community bathroom and storage room. The main difference is that these styles of flats are often much more spacious at 110 square meters each, and they will often always include an additional dining room area to top it off. Available in many different layout styles, there is surely a flat to be found with five rooms to suit your individual preferences and tastes.

  6. 3-Gen HDB Flats

    3-gen flats, or 3-generation flats, are a new design in the Singaporean market. 3-generation flats aim to accommodate more than one generation of families at a time. They possess similar features to the five-room flats and typically offer a living room, dining room, master bedroom with an attached bathroom, one or two additional bedrooms, a community bathroom and a storeroom, but these types of flats are going to be more spacious to accommodate more people, around 115 square meters, to make room for another bathroom or bedroom. These units are currently being built and tested out in Singapore.

  7. Executive Flats

    The executive flats are massive, especially in comparison to the other sorts of flats that Singapore has to offer. Measuring around 130 square meters of space, these flats are more than accommodating. On top of the master bedrooms, additional bedrooms, bathrooms, living spaces, kitchen, dining rooms, storerooms and other standard amenities, executive flats will often have extra spaces such as a space for a study room or for placement of an entertainment center. It is also worth noting that some executive flats do come with a balcony as well, adding an outdoor space that might otherwise be difficult to access with an apartment. However, do note that executive flats no longer being built by HDB, you can still find them on the resale market in the older estate like Tampines or Bishan.

  8. DBSS Flats

    DBSS Flats are flats that have been designed to fall somewhere in the middle of those 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-room HDB flats mentioned before and an executive condominium. Unlike HDB, DBSS flats are developed by private developers. These flats come with a much higher variety of options to choose from for those buyers who have a bit of money that they want to potentially spend. DBSS stands for Design, Build and Sell Schemes, a system that was developed in 2005 and put under review for launch in 2011. DBSS flats are better suited for those who have plenty of money for HBD flats but aren’t quite ready to buy in the private market.

    DBSS scheme attracted public outrage when a series of five-room DBSS flats opened for sale at S$880,000, way above what most middle-class families can afford. As HDB does not control the pricing of DBSS units being sold, the scheme was poorly received and consequently suspended indefinitely.

Public/Private Hybrid Housing

The two options below, the executive condominiums and the HUDC flats are unique in the fact that they both share public and private housing characteristics.

  1. HUDC Flats

    HUDC flats, or the Housing and Urban Development Corporation flats, are old styles of public housing that are considered “ancient” by many. These types of houses originated in the 1970s and 1980s but ended up becoming phased out after the year 1987, seen as no longer relevant. Today, there are 18 estates that hold 7.731 residential HDUC units for the reason then in the 1990s there was an increased demand for privatization which had the government considering bringing in the privatization of HUDC. As of today, all of these HUDC estates are either privatized or in the process of becoming so.

  2. Executive Condominiums

    Executive condominiums (EC) are often found in a public housing scenario. Like HDB flats, EC owners can only sell their property to Singapore buyers after meeting the five years Minimum Occupation Period (MOP). The key difference comes after 10 years when the flat becomes privatized and eligible to all foreign buyers.

    These are better suited for young professionals who can support more than the demands of an HDB flat but are not quite ready for private property ownership. First-time applicants may be eligible for a housing grant of up to S$30, 000. And also,  ECs are usually priced from S$700psf, with a huge opportunity for capital appreciation when it becomes privatized in 10 years. However, the supply of EC is very limited, with the majority of them located in the Northern part of Singapore. As of 2018, the Rivercove EC at Achorvale Lane is the only EC launch for the year.

Private Housing

Non Landed

    1. Condominiums

      Condominiums, often simply called condos, are what many consider to be the freeing, rather unrestricted relative to the executive condo. These sorts of dwellings often come with recreation facilities and amenities such as security on site, swimming pools, large well cared for gardens, tennis and basketball courts and gyms. These are the best option for those looking for private housing but don’t want to pay for or maintain a landed property. And unlike EC or HDB flats, private condo owners do not need to meet the 5 years MOP period before they can sell their house, but the prevailing Seller Stamp Duty is applicable.

      Check out the list of exciting new condo launches in 2018.

Landed Properties

    1. Terrace Houses

      Terrace housing includes properties that are all a part of a row of houses. Each of the houses in this row is similar in nature and often shares nearly identical aspects to them both inside and outside. These houses are joined by a common boundary that separates them into their own respective spaces. Though the terrace houses are joined, they are definitely their own properties. Each property possesses its own walls, none of which are shared at all with the neighboring house, along with their own roofs so that no one is living uncomfortably close to their neighbors.

    2. Conservation Houses

      A conservation house, while it may sound pretty self-explanatory, is a house that has historical significance in Singapore. No matter what the cultural or historical importance of the house is, they are often beautiful thanks to their traditional properties, both in the structure of the house and the interior. These conservation houses are often restored in order to preserve their integrity both structurally and aesthetically. Conservation houses are sometimes often renovated so that while they are still culturally significant, they can fit right in with whatever urban environment they find themselves in in Singapore.

    3. Shophouses

      Shophouses in Singapore make up the majority of the aforementioned conservation homes. A shophouse is basically a special sort of a terrace house. These types of houses are typically two or three stories high and are conserved terrace houses that hold some sort of historical or cultural importance. This significance has turned these terrace houses into a unique living space of their own, making them different. While they are not very common, they can be found in neighborhoods like Emerald Hill, Little India, Katong and Chinatown. Other examples include the hotel at Marine Bay and the Durian-style theatre that is called the Esplanade.

    4. Bungalow Houses

      A bungalow is often less expensive and much smaller than a good class bungalow often found in more affluent parts of Singapore. There is a minimum plot of around 400 square meters, making the bungalow one of the larger types of estates even when posed against landed properties. By definition, a bungalow is also going to be detached instead of joined to another estate, giving its residents plenty of privacy. There are typically four classes on bungalows: class 1 is 400 to 550 square meters; class 2 is 550 to 700 square meters; class 3 is 700 to 1000 square meters and class 4 falls anywhere between 1000 and 1400 square meters.

    5. Semi-detached

      A semi-detached house is not necessarily a type of house that is independent to itself so to speak. These kinds of houses can fall into a number of different categories. With these categories come certain criteria that need to be met in order to be called semi-detached, meaning each of these homes does follow a specific set of rules. For a home to be considered semi-attached, it must be attached partially in some way on one side of the structure to any number of other units. These usually come in the form of semi-attached terrace houses, known as corner terraces and semi-detached bungalows.

    6. Town Houses

      A town house is something of a mixture between a landed property and a condominium. Though a town house does possess certain characteristics of a landed terrace house, a town house is going to share the facilities with other town houses in the development. This includes amenities and facilities such as a gym, swimming pool or other recreational areas. These can be part of an entire estate or just a large condominium establishment. These houses offer spacious living options, plenty of privacy and the convenience of simple access to certain amenities that are mentioned above.

    7. Good Class Bungalow

      Anything above 1400 square meters in terms of bungalows is called a good class bungalow. Reserved for the wealthier among Singaporeans, these houses are striking and lavish and full of space. The minimum plot of space, as stated, is 1400 square meters, allowing plenty of room to get comfortable. These usually have swimming pools, large gardens and other luxuries included, such as private cinemas and sports courts. There are approximately only 1000 good class bungalows that are spread out among the authorized and available space laid out by the real estate market for them, adding to their exclusivity.

Wrapping Up

With all of the above options, finding a home in Singapore to fit your specific needs is not as troublesome as it may seem. Whether you need plenty of space like in a bungalow or simply need a studio apartment to live alone, you can find it in the sprawling city that is Singapore.

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