Singapore is known for its limited physical land and insufficient dwelling parcels. But when it comes to residential property market, you will be surprised to know that the options are in fact abundant. From the sought after landed housing to the mass-targeted executive condominiums, there are different types of properties in Singapore.
First time home buyers usually search ECs and private condominiums. But if you can stretch out your finances, why confine yourself to the usual preference where in reality, there’s actually more than that! House with a huge garden or modern apartment that can accommodate your parents? How about an exclusive home far from neighbors? Investing on a subsidized house wouldn’t hurt either. With its diverse selection of real estate properties, the choice is ultimate yours to make.
Types of Properties in Singapore
A. Public HDB
Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats are made to provide public housing to the working class citizens of Singapore. Low-cost yet high quality flats soon start to fill the region and this indeed is the ultimate answer to the growing needs of many residents – an affordable house they can own. More than 80% of the population live in HDB flats with 90% of them owning the unit.
However, since these flats are subsidized and regulated by the government, one has to meet a certain set of eligibility requirements before they can own HDB homes. There are several HDB housing types in Singapore, check them out below:
1) Studio Apartments
Studio apartments are designed to meet the needs of elderly people. Usually, they come with senior-friendly features such as non-slip tiles, bathroom support bars, pull-for-help cords, and sharp-free cabinets. Studio apartments can comfortably accommodate up to two people and they are sold on 30-year lease. Compare to other housing units, studio apartments are compact in size at 36-45 sqm.
2) 2-Room Flat
Measuring around 45 sqm, a 2-room flat might be small but they are tailored for basic families and less affluent households. Although tiny in size, these flats are equipped with bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom and storeroom. If you would be comparing them with private flats, a 2-room HDB flat is equivalent to a 1-bedroom unit.
3) 3-Room Flat
For child-rearing families and soon-to-be parent couples, a 3-room flat is a viable living option. It measures 60-65 sqm with each flat comprising of master bedroom with bathroom, extra bedroom, common bathroom, kitchen, service yard and store room. It is like a 1-room upgrade to the above 2-room HDB unit.
4) 4-Room Flat
The 4-room flat measures 90-100 sqm and it has one master bedroom, two common bedrooms, kitchen, living area and store room. Ideal for growing families and those with kids, the 4-room HDB flat is definitely more spacious whilst maintaining an affordable price tag. Different room layouts are available depending on the buyer’s preference.
5) 5-Room Flat
For those who wants a larger living space, such as extended families with more than 4 members, the 5-room HDB flat is a sensible choice. A 5-room flat approximately measures 110 sqm with each unit having one master bedroom, two common bedrooms, kitchen, living area, store room and the additional dining area which makes it bigger than the 4-room unit.
6) 3Gen Flat
With all those HDB housing types in Singapore, another variant is being introduced in the market. Called the 3Gen Flat or 3 Generation Flat, this housing unit is specifically made to cater the needs of multi-generation families. It features almost the same layout as with the 5-room flat but with it measuring approximately 115 sqm, an additional bedroom and bathroom can be fit in to the design.
7) Executive Flats
Not to be confused with Executive Condominiums, an Executive Flat is one of the biggest public housing units available in Singapore. Coming in at 130 sqm, each unit includes an extra space that you can convert into a study room, television room or guest room. Furthermore, some of the executive flats being offered are equipped with a balcony fronting a nice view.
8) DBSS Flats
Introduced in 2005, the DBSS or Design, Build and Sell Scheme flats falls somewhere in between a large HDB flat and Executive Condominium. DBSS flats are still classified under public housing but the design and planning involves well-known private developers. They are usually made with minimal finishing and looks more of a private home, less the facilities.
B. Public-Private Hybrids
For those can afford to purchase more than HDB flats but still not ready to jump into the world of private housing, there are other types of properties in Singapore called hybrids. These real estate assets are special in the way that they share public housing characteristics and private housing qualities. Hybrids are a cross between public and private properties.
1) HUDC Flats
Originally built in the 70s, HUDC or Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDC) flats are popular during the 80s until they were phased out in 1987. Although discontinued, there are still 18 estates left with HUDC flats with over 7,000 units existing. Due to the surge of privatization, these HUDC flats are either fully privatized or undergoing the process.
2) Executive Condominiums
Replacing the above flats are Executive Condominiums (EC) that first start of as public housing but after five years enters into the privatization phase. ECs are made to suit the needs of young professionals and new couples who can afford more than public housing but finds private properties still out of reach. Executive Condominium shares the same amenities and facilities as with private condos but there are restrictions one must follow. Eligibility requirements, minimum occupancy period, and 99-year leasehold are just some of the known limitations of ECs. But after 10 years, Executive Condominiums acquires “fully privatized” status.
C. Private Housing
There are different types of properties in Singapore, aside from Public HDB and Hybrids, of course there are private housing. Private properties don’t have a leasehold, but instead comes on a “freehold” status with some exceptions. Although, bear in mind that not all private housing is sold with a land title. Singapore’s private housing is divided into two major categories, Non-Landed and Landed.
Being private properties, they don’t have restrictions or limitations. Additionally, they don’t have a specified leasehold status. Although non-landed properties don’t come with a land title, many buyers dubbed this as owning an “air space” rather than a land space.
Simply put private condominiums as a luxurious and unrestricted counterpart of ECs. Unit types vary accordingly from 2-BR suite to a stunning Penthouse. This type of private housing is equipped with common recreational facilities like swimming pool, 24/7 security, concierge, gyms, gardens, function rooms, BBQ pits, etc. Condominiums with their first few floors made as commercial spaces are called Mixed Development.
If a private housing is built on a smaller plot of land, less than 4,000 sqm, then it is called an apartment. They are medium to high-rise residential developments with fewer provisions and less generous recreational facilities. Private apartments are more affordable than private condominiums but definitely more expensive than HDB flats.
c. Walk Ups
Another breed of private housing is entering the market – the Walk Ups. Walk Ups are apartments or condominiums with no lift or elevator. They are low rise buildings so that home owners can still reach their units without having to climb the stairs extensively.
The ultimate dream house of every citizen, the top tier of the social ladder, one of the most wanted housing types in Singapore. Landed properties exemplifies ultimate privacy, spacious living quarters, personalized abode, massive garden, own car parks and unrestricted developments right in your own land.
a. Conservation Houses
This type of property is not commonly seen on the ads because conservation houses are protected by the law. They share a significant piece of history in Singapore and conserved to its fullest state retaining most of its original part.
b. Terrace Houses
Also called linked house or row house, terrace houses are medium density private properties joined together by a common boundary – the shared side walls on both sides. Each identical house has its own roof and the end unit on the linked is often referred to as the “End Terrace”.
c. Shop Houses
A special type of terrace house that is often two or three stories high, shop houses are rows of low rise buildings with narrow frontages but deep rears. Most of the time, the ground floor serves as a commercial space with shops in them while the upper floors are used for residential living. Shop houses are regarded as a conserved terrace house due to their distinctive layout and historical significance.
d. Town House
A hybrid between condominium and a landed terrace property, a town house shares common recreational facilities with other units. This can be from swimming pools, gyms, gardens, club house etc. Town house is commonly seen inside a larger condominium-style establishment within a private estate.
e. Cluster House
The different types of properties in Singapore is indeed evolving, there’s another variety of hybrid on the rise – cluster homes. These are condo-style homes but set in a landed property. What makes this different amongst others is that cluster homes can be a mixture of terrace, bungalows, or semi-detached.
f. Semi-Detached Houses
Sharing one wall in common with the neighbor, semi-detached houses are pairs of properties built side by side and separated with a wall partition. Each house is an exact mirror of its twin unit having the same measurement as well as layout. They are also called Semi-Ds or Duplex to other countries.
g. Detached Houses
Commonly referred to as “Bungalows”, each piece of land measures approximately 400 sqm and the house itself should be standing on its own with no walls or other parts of it linked to other properties. Depending on the size of the land, from 400 sqm up to 1,400 sqm, detached houses or bungalows offers utmost privacy and exclusivity.
h. Good Class Bungalow
If a standalone house sits on a parcel larger than 1,400 sqm, it is considered as a good class bungalow. It is the most sought after landed property in Singapore where sheer size doesn’t only speak on itself but the prime location as well. Good class bungalow properties are known to have at least 4 car parks, huge gardens, swimming pools, private cinemas and even basketball/tennis courts as long as there is a land to be built. In a country where land is limited, there are only 1,000 known Good Class Bungalows spread throughout the region.
It might be limited in terms of physical land but the various types of properties in Singapore proves that shortage of available resources is not an issue to supply comfortable living spaces for its residents. From the basic public housing meant for seniors, acceptable good-sized HDB flats for families, to the most wanted semi-Ds, up to the affluent good class bungalows, the real estate market in Singapore without a doubt demonstrates supreme diversity.