Different Types of Housing in Singapore

There are various types of residential housing in Singapore, whether for living or investing in. Without further ado, let's dive into the main types of properties in Singapore.

As we transition into adulthood, you may start to have questions like, “What is the best type of housing in Singapore to stay in?” or “What type of property is best for investment?” Alternatively, you may just be curious about what all the different types of housing in Singapore are.

Fret not, this article is here to provide you with answers to these questions and more. In fact, we have listed different types of housing in Singapore that have their own distinct features. Read on to find out more about these properties!

HDB Flats

An important thing to know about HDB flats is that they are on a 99-year lease. After that, the property goes back to the State and the government redevelops the land to make way for new flats. Therefore, unlike freehold private properties, your HDB flat will be rendered worthless after the 99 years are up. Despite this drawback, approximately 80% of Singaporeans currently live in HDBs due to its affordability and location.

There are two key types of HDB flats, build-to-order (“BTO”) and resale flats.

BTO flats are the most popular option among young married couples because they are generally cheaper due to the various grants available. However, there are several requirements to meet before you can qualify for a BTO. Should you exceed the income ceiling for this type of housing, you would not be able to purchase it. Instead, you can get a resale HDB flat if you wish to, which you will take over from the previous flat owner.

If you’re on the fence on whether to get a HDB BTO flat or resale flat, here are some considerations to consider.

2-room HDB Flats

It is known that 2-room HDB flats are occupied mainly by senior citizens who live alone. In fact, HDB prices this type of housing most affordably to ensure that elderly Singaporeans have a roof over their heads. Such a flat comprises of a living room, bedroom and bathroom. In Singapore, 2-room flats are also disabled-friendly as they have built-in features such as safety rails and emergency alarms installed in the bathrooms. This prevents accidents from happening, and also alerts others in the event that accidents do occur. They even come with ramps that to allow those who are wheelchair-bound to travel with ease.

3-room HDB Flats

A 3-room HDB flat consists of a living room, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. This makes it a total of 2 bedrooms – one master bedroom and one common room. The presence of 2 bathrooms is because there would likely be more occupants in a 3-room flat. In a typical 3-room flat, one of the bathrooms is attached to the kitchen while the other to the master bedroom.

4-room HDB Flats

4-room flats incorporate a living room, and three bedrooms. There is one master bedroom, and two common bedrooms which are usually occupied by the children in the family. This may be suitable for those who are in their late twenties to mid thirties looking to have more children and expand their family.

5-room HDB Flats

A 5-room HDB flat has the same number of bedrooms and configuration as a 4-room HDB flat. 5-room flats, however, are much more spacious. Let’s compare the two types of flats at Punggol Waterway Terraces, a relatively new housing project in Punggol. For a 4-room flat there, its floor area is approximately 92 square metres (“sqm”). On the other hand, a 5-room flat at Punggol Waterway Terraces has a floor area of 112 sqm.

Unsurprisingly, this extra floor space comes with a higher price tag, where some 5-room flats may be significantly more expensive than 4-room flats.

Executive Maisonettes

Executive Masionettes are essentially HDB flats with 2 separate levels. They are highly sought after because these units are no longer being developed. The Executive Condominium scheme replaced them decades ago. They comprise of a living room, 3 bedrooms, and 3 bathrooms – suitable for big families possibly with three generations. Interestingly, their floor area can range from 850 sqm to a whopping 2067 sqm!

Maisonettes also come with a store room and balcony, which is a huge advantage over normal 4 or 5-room HDB flats. Besides this, as maisonettes are high-rise, owners can expect to enjoy nice sceneries and have less pest control issues. All of these features make the property a worthy asset to own.


Private Condominiums

As Singaporeans are becoming more affluent, they are increasingly buying private condominium properties. Yet, condomiums are generally more expensive than HDBs and sometimes even less spacious than HDBs. This is especially with the emergence of shoebox units. So, what makes individuals want to purchase condominiums over HDB flats?

Greater Accessibility

This type of housing has the benefit of accessibility. Not just in terms of its location, but also its unique facilities.

Condominiums may be found near the city, making it highly convenient for working adults to commute to and fro work every day. Condominiums usually also have a broad range of amenities. This could range from gyms to swimming pools, as well as function rooms to hold larger gatherings and events. The ease of access to these exclusive private facilities is a key advantage of living in condominiums.

Better Security

Generally speaking, condomiums have better security than HDBs. Firstly, residents are only allowed to access the premises using a special security access card. Further, security posts manned by security guards make sure that visitors register their particulars and have a valid purpose before being granted entry.

Freedom to Own Pets

This is important to keep in mind, especially if you’re a pet lover!

For condominiums, you are generally free to own whatever pet that you want. This is unlike HDBs, where you are restricted from owning dogs beyond a certain size. Thus, if you are thinking of buying a big husky, do check the regulations beforehand lest you risk losing your beloved pet and getting a hefty fine!

Executive Condominiums

Executive condominiums (“ECs”) are somewhat in between private condominiums and HDBs in the housing spectrum. This type of property may be suited for people who can’t quite afford private housing, yet wish for something more than a HDB flat. Amazingly, the executive condominium magically becomes private after a 10 year period.

Another key benefit of executive condominiums is its affordability. You can make use of grants to support your purchase, unlike private condominiums where there are no subsidies available.

If you decide on buying a condo, here are some things to look out for.

Landed Homes

Landed houses are prized for their exclusivity and land size. In fact, according to Singstat, only about 5% of Singapore resident households live in a landed property. This is in part due to the land scarcity in Singapore, such that there aren’t that many landed properties locally. Moreover, these houses are usually bigger, and are more expensive to buy.

Semi-Detached Houses

Semi-detached houses are developed side by side, where they share a common wall with another house. This type of housing can have several levels, spanning up to 3 or 4 storeys. They also typically contain a living room, bedrooms, and an attic. In some cases, these types of property have open balconies, perfect for having barbeques or star gazing sessions.

Terraced Homes

Terrace houses in Singapore are quite similar to semi-detached houses. They are also separated from other houses by a common boundary. However, to qualify as a terrace house, the property must form part of a row of at least 3 dwelling houses.

Good Class Bungalow

Good class bungalows (“GCBs”) are one of the most prestigious types of properties in Singapore. These rare properties can be found at designated GCB areas in Singapore such as Cluny Hill and Queen Astrid Park. They usually feature a large driveway, and a minimum plot size of 1,400 sqm. Currently, there are a little over 2,000 good class bungalows in Singapore. Given this scarcity, it’s no surprise that Singaporeans are given priority in purchasing GCBs. In fact, PRs have to seek special approval from the Singapore Land Authority to own this type of housing in Singapore.


We have listed some key types of housing in Singapore. We hope that by reading this article, you have a newfound appreciation of the different kinds of property in Singapore. This may even help you decide on your next property purchase!

If you like what you read, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Telegram to get the latest updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Back to top button