There are 3 main categories you need to get familiar with:
- Public: consists of government-subsidized homes known as HDB
- Public-Private Hybrid: Executive Condos
- Private (Landed) – More about this below
- Private (Non-Landed) – Apartments & Condominiums
In this article, we will focus mainly on Private (Landed / Non-Landed) and the subcategories in each one.
Public housing in Singapore is managed by the state’s Housing and Development Board (HDB), hence their flats are commonly termed ‘HDBs. This category makes up the bulk of the residential properties in Singapore with over 80% of Singapore’s population living in an HDB flat. There are a lot of restrictions on HDB which are usually reserved for citizens and permanent residents.
Having a landed house means owning the land on which the property stands. In land-scarce Singapore, this is no easy feat as such homes are among the most expensive residential properties here and only the well-off can afford them. Despite their high maintenance and property tax, these dwellings boast huge layouts, in addition to their exclusivity and privacy. Foreigners are not eligible to purchase landed properties in Singapore.
In this category, you’ll find two sub-categories. Apartments are typically part of a smaller residential project and come with fever amenities and Condominiums (Condos) typically come with many amenities like gated security, gyms, swimming pools, and sports facilities, among others. Private houses are significantly more expensive than HDB flats but come with fewer restrictions.
The two most common modes of holding property in Singapore are leasehold, which is also known as 99 years. This means the person only holds the title for the duration of the tenure. The other mode is ‘Fee Simple’ or Freehold which allows the person to own the land indefinitely, without conditions. These 2 modes of holding only matter for home ownership and not rental.
Here is what you need to know about the different housing types for Private-Landed properties.
This is the most luxurious landed house in Singapore. There are only 39 designated areas where a minimum land size of at least 1,400 m² (approx. 15,070 ft²) and they’re priced in the tens of millions each.
Detached Houses, commonly known as Bungalows, is a free standing structure within a plot of land. It doesn’t share a common wall or roof with its neighbors. The detached houses must have a minimum land size of 400 m² or 4306 ft² and they can be found in any part of Singapore except in the GCB area.
Semi-Detached houses or Semi-D, in short, are a pair of houses built side by side, sharing a common wall called a party wally. Typically, they are attached by the sides but they can also be attached back to back. Semi-detached houses and corner terraces must have a land size of at least 200 m² or 2153 ft²
Lastly is terrace houses. A terrace house forms part of a row of at least 3 houses sharing a common party and boundary walls in between them. The land size of a terrace house is approximately 150 m² which translates to 1615 ft².
One final Landed house type is the Shophouse. Shophouses are simply mixed-use terrace houses where the ground level is used for commercial purposes, such as a cafe, retail outlet or office, and the upper levels are used as residences. These terrace houses became known as shophouses because the ground level was, historically, a shop.