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In-Depth Look at the Types Of Properties in Singapore

Types of Properties in Singapore

HDB flats, condos, and landed properties are the three main types of residential properties in Singapore, each offering distinct characteristics and ownership arrangements. Understanding their differences can help potential property buyers make informed decisions.

Singapore’s housing model differs from most countries and it is this unique model that enables a high home ownership rate. The majority of the residential housing developments in Singapore are publicly developed by HDB (Singapore’s public housing authority) and home to approximately 78% of the resident population.

1. HDB Flats

Public Housing - HDB Flats

HDB flats, short for Housing and Development Board flats, are public housing units provided by the government.

These flats are typically more affordable compared to condos and landed properties. They can be either Build-to-Order (BTO) flats, which are newly constructed, or resale flats, which are previously owned units.

HDB flats are leasehold properties, meaning that buyers hold a lease on the property rather than owning the land. They offer various flat types and sizes, depending on the needs and preferences of buyers. HDB owners also have access to common facilities and amenities within the HDB precinct, such as parks, playgrounds, and community centres.

These flats are sold on 99-year leases and are heavily subsidised by the government. This public housing model is so successful that BTO launches are typically fully subscribed, which leads to several policy changes along the way to manage demand.

Of recent, HDB has announced a slew of changes to introduce tighter restrictions for new BTO flats built in central locations and near transport nodes. It is important to have a thorough understanding of the regulations before purchasing a flat.

2. Executive Condominiums

Hybrid Housing - Executive Condominium
Executive Condominiums (EC) are strata-titled apartments which are built and sold by property developers to eligible Singaporean households.
EC is a type of public housing in Singapore and is a hybrid of private and public housing. It is a similar to private condominiums in that they come with facilities such as swimming pools, gyms, bbq pits, clubhouse etc. 
This form of hybrid housing caters to a gap for Singaporean families whose incomes exceed that for HDB flats but yet cannot afford to purchase a private condominium. ECs will be fully privatised after 10 years from project completion and can be sold without restrictions in the open market. 

3. Apartments or Flats

Apartment Residential Development
Apartment Residential Development

Private apartments or flats occupy a land size of at least 1,000 sqm. These apartments are similar to condominiums but on smaller land plots and with fewer facilities.

Apartments are typically less expensive compared to condominiums but more expensive than HDB flats. These are commonly located in non-safeguarded landed housing zones where a low-rise apartment building is amongst landed houses.

There are also walk-up apartments, which are not common. These low-rise properties do not have elevators and can only be accessed via stairs. Hence it is referred to as walk-up apartments.

4. Condominiums

Condominium Development
Condominium Development

Condos, short for condominiums, are privately-owned residential units within a larger development. Condos are typically multi-storey buildings with multiple apartment units. Unlike HDB flats, condos are freehold or leasehold properties, meaning that buyers own the unit and a share of the common areas. 

Condo developments often provide a wide range of facilities and amenities, such as swimming pools, gyms, and security services. They also tend to offer a higher level of privacy and exclusivity compared to HDB flats.

Condominiums can either be on 99-year lease or freehold tenures. Freehold land plots can only be acquired through a collective sale or en-bloc of existing developments. The government manages the supply of 99-year leasehold residential land through the Government Land Sales (GLS) program. 

5. Landed Properties

Landed properties, on the other hand, refer to houses that are built on a piece of land and are not part of a larger development. These properties can include terrace houses, semi-detached houses, bungalows, and cluster houses.

Landed properties offer individual ownership of both the building and the land it stands on. They often come with larger living spaces and more privacy compared to HDB flats and condos. However, they also tend to be more expensive and require higher maintenance costs.

a) Intermediate Terrace Houses

Terrace Houses consist a minimum of 3 houses linked together with common walls on both sides.

Intermediate Terrace houses are typically part of a row of houses that are joined together in a continuous line.

They share side walls with adjacent properties on both sides, forming a uniform look.

The exterior facade of each house in the row may have similarities in design and materials, creating a cohesive look for the entire row.

b) Corner Terrace Houses

A Corner Terrace House is at the beginning or the end of a row of terrace houses.

With only one adjacent neighbour, corner terraces offer more privacy compared to inter terrace houses.

Corner Terraces have more windows than inter terraces, allowing for better ventilation and natural light.

c) Cluster Landed Houses

These are landed houses that have been grouped together or clustered together so that homeowners can share facilities like a gym and swimming pools.

Cluster projects can consist of terraced houses, semi-detached, and bungalows, with shared amenities. Such a model combines the privacy and spaciousness of landed housing with the enjoyment of condo facilities.

d) Shophouses

Heritage shophouses are conferred conservation status in Singapore due to its scarcity and historical importance. The shophouses cannot be demolished due to conservation rules and there are strict regulations for maintenance and renovations. 

Essentially, shophouses are terraced houses with the first floor used for commercial purposes, while the upper floors may be used for offices, hotels or residences.

e) Semi-Detached Houses

A Semi-Detached House is one half of a pair of houses with one common party wall separating the 2 houses.

A pair of Semi-Detached Houses is either attached side-to-side or back-to-back. Semi-Detached houses are typically built in pairs, with each house having its own separate entrance and often a front and back yard.

f) Bungalows (Detached Houses)

Bungalows have the second largest land size among the different types of landed properties. Bungalows can be developed in any of the designated landed housing areas. It provides the owners with privacy as it is a standalone house and it is not connected to other homes.

g) Good Class Bungalows (GCB)

Good Class Bungalows are highly sought after by the super affluent and can only be purchased by Singaporeans or with special approval from the competent authority. 
GCBs have a minimum plot size of 1,400 square metres with a maximum site coverage of 40% and a maximum building height of 2 storeys.

This is the most exclusive among the different types of landed property as it has the largest land size requirement and can only be located within the prime gazetted zones in Singapore.

6) Conclusion

Singapore offers a plethora of housing options to cater to different needs and budgets. Understanding the different types of properties will help you in your search to buy or rent a property. Whether it is a HDB flat, condominium or landed property, you should spend some time to familiarise yourself with the neighbourhood and amenities. With the right knowledge and information, you will be able to discern and select the type of property most suited for your lifestyle and family. 

Do you intend to buy or sell your property?

You may be thinking what is the next step for you and if it is worth going through the necessary work to buy or sell your property.

When is the best time to sell and can I sell for a better price than my neighbours? 

What are my options for buying a property and how can I get the best deal?

Here at The Landed Collective, we specialise in residential properties and that means, HDB flats, Condos, Landed Houses and New Developer Sales. 

Before you start anything, speak to us for a complimentary consultation as we will provide you with comprehensive advice, run through the essentials on the property market and answer any questions you may have.