Type of property in Singapore

Types of Property in Singapore

Housing and Development Board (HDB)

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) is a common feature of Singapore real estate listings in Singapore with more than 80% of Singaporeans living in public housing. Purchases of HDB flats are restricted to Singaporeans and Permanent Residents. For the HDB flat classification system, please note that the living room is counted as 1 room. Please refer to the HDB website for more information.

* 2 Rm (2 room HDB Flat). 1 bedroom with a built-in area of about 45 sq m or 485 sq ft.
* 3 Rm (3 room HDB Flat). 2 bedrooms with a built-in area of about 70 sq m or 754 sq ft.
* 4 Rm (4 room HDB Flat). 3 bedrooms with a built-in area of about 90 sq m or 969 sq ft.
* 5 Rm (5 room HDB Flat). 3 bedrooms with a built-in area of about 110 sq m or 1,184 sq ft.
* EA (Executive Apartment). 3/4 bedrooms with built-in area of about 150 sqm or 1,615 sqft.
* EM (Executive Mansionette). Same as Executive apartment, except it has two levels.
* 6 Rm (6 room HDB Flat). Jumbo flat joint by two 3 room flats

Executive Condominium

The executive condominium was introduced to cater to Singaporeans, especially young executives and professionals who can afford more than an HDB flat but find private property above their housing budget. The executive condominium is competitive in design and execution. Facilities of the executive condominium are also comparable to the private condominium, from the almost mandatory swimming pool to the adventurous children’s playground. The executive condominium is after all, conceptualised by the same private developers of the private condominium.

Pros and Cons of living in an Executive Condominium

The executive condominium is usually found right in the heartlands. Many an executive condomnium is conveniently located near the town centre. This means amenities such as schools, eateries, shops and even a supermarket can be reached within minutes from the executive condominium.

As stated, the executive condominium is much like the private condominium. The difference lies in the affordability of the executive condominium. There are however, some HDB procedures and policies to follow if you wish to purchase an executive condominium. Despite this, the executive condominium is in demand and the market for it will continue to grow. Catch the opportunity before it slips you by!


A condominium, or condo for short, is a form of housing tenure. A condominium is the legal term used in the United States, in most provinces of Canada and other major cities for a type of joint ownership of private property. In a condominium, some portions of the property are individually owned and other portions are communally owned. In the United Kingdom, the equivalent of a condominium is commonhold, but this form of ownership was only introduced in 2004 and the term so far is rarely used. Colloquially, the term, condo, is often used to refer to the individual condominium unit, instead of apartment.

The first condominium in Singapore was built in the late 1970s as rich Singaporeans continue to grow more affluent. In recent years, private property has boomed, due to the loosening of some government policies on private property ownership. This has particularly boost the sales of condominium units.

Pros and Cons of living in a Condominium

The condominium is the most common type of private property in Singapore. Anyone who does not want to live in public housing, locally known as HDB flats, will choose to purchase a condominium apartment. More affluent parties will select the prime locations for a condominium. To cater to the less affluent, more condomimium projects have been sprouting in the heartlands.

The pulling factor of a condominium lies in its prestige, as compared to public housing. In addition, developers have taken into account the various facilities they can squeeze into the project, so as to further value-add into the private property owner’s budget. It is a Great Barrier Reef of condominium developments to consider one as your own.


In the history of United Kingdom, Ireland and in several other countries, a townhouse, or a house in town, was a residence of member of the aristocracy in the capital or major city. Most such figures owned one or more country houses in which they lived for much of the year. However during the Social Season, when major balls and drawing rooms took place, and maybe when parliament was in session, these aristocrats and their servants stay in their townhouse in the capital. Hence, the townhouse was born.

Today, a townhouse is generally a house in the city, especially as distinguished from a house in the country. A townhouse is often referred to as a bungalow occupied entirely by one family. In some countries, the townhouse is one of a row of houses joined by common sidewalls, otherwise known as a terrace house.

Pros and Cons of living in a TownHouse

As a townhouse is most often located in the city, amenities are aplenty. This is inclusive of schools, eateries, shopping centres, major commercial districts, et cetera, within close distance of the townhouse. In the city, many a road network is within access to the townhouse. Convenience is at the townhouse doorstep.

In addition, as property prices are inevitably competitive due to the central location of the townhouse, the price of owning or even renting a townhouse is considerably more expensive than a bungalow or terrace house located at the outskirts. This number of factors truly justify the privilege and prestige of making the townhouse your very home.


A bungalow is a type of single-storey house. The word, bungalow, comes from the Hindi word, bangla, from 1676. The bungalow, translated literally, is a Bengal-style house.

Traditionally, a bungalow is a small single-storey house, has a thatched roof and a sweeping veranda. However today, the bungalow is a large house that is usually single-storey or two-storey, with a spacious backyard. With or without a veranda, the modern bungalow is roomy enough to house an extended family.

Pros and Cons of living in a Bungalow

The single-storey bungalow is very convenient for the homeowner who needs wheelchair-accessibility in all living areas as there are no stairs. A neighbourhood dotted with many a bungalow offers more privacy than one with terrace houses. Trees or shrubs planted along the borders of the yard adds more privacy and green relief to your bungalow, providing a splendid retreat from a buzzing schedule.

When it comes to per unit area, a single-storey bungalow is more expensive to construct than a two-storey bungalow because a larger foundation and roof is required for a living area of the same size. A larger foundation requires a larger lot size. Hence, a bungalow is usually fully detached from other houses, it does not share a common foundation or common wall.


A semi-detached house, referred to as ’semi-d’ for short, is a pair of houses joint side by side. A semi-detached house shares a common wall and fence. Very often, each house layout of a semi-detached house is a mirror-image of the other.

Pros and Cons of living in a Semi-Detached house

A semi-detached house is a different type of private property from a bungalow which is fully detached. A semi-detached house only consists of two houses, any more and the semi-detached house has become a terrace house. Despite this, both houses of a semi-detached house can have a continuous front to rear backyard on either side.

As the two houses in a semi-detached house share a common wall, friendly neighbour relations is essential for a happy semi-detached house owner. HDB owners who often find themselves living too closely with strangers, may find a semi-detached house desirable. This is especially so when comparing the price difference of a semi-detached house to a bungalow.

Terrace House

The terrace house is a style of housing since the late 17th century, where a row of identical or mirror-image houses share side walls. The first and last unit of the terrace house is called an end-terrace house or corner-terrace house. The one in between is called an Intermediate Terrace House or Inter-terrace house for short.

Pros and Cons of living in a Terrace House

Imagine you turn into the road home. A terrace house on both sides. Palm trees, blooming shrubs, a squirrel or two and sky above. Living in a terrace house is a perfect picture to come home to.

Sometimes a group of terrace houses, built in the same style, is designed as a community dwelling. This is also known as a Cluster House. There would be a big front gate on the private road leading into your neighbourhood, and into your terrace house. Some of these terrace house neighbourhoods are so friendly that there is no need of fences or partitions.

Cheaper than a semi-detached house, the terrace house is the second most common type of private property after the condominium.

Intermediate Terrace

An intermediate terrace, inter-terrace for short, is a house in between a row of terrace houses. The intermediate terrace is one of many houses joint side by side. Unlike the corner terrace house, there can be one to many intermediate terrace houses in a row of houses.

Pros and Cons of living in an Intermediate Terrace House

As there are more intermediate terrace houses as compared to the corner terrace, if you are looking for a terrace house, the intermediate terrace is more readily available.

As the intermediate terrace is in between two houses, some noise may filter through the common walls it shares with them.

A group of terrace houses can form cluster houses. In this case, the intermediate terrace shares a small or wide array of facilities with her neighbours. Depending on the development behind these cluster houses, the most common facilities the intermediate terrace can enjoy are a communal pool, gym and playground.

Despite the price difference, the size of the living area of an intermediate terrace is comparable to the corner terrace. If you are not a big gardening fan, the intermediate terrace has a smaller backyard, hence, less time and cost spent on maintenance.

Cheaper than a corner terrace, the intermediate terrace house may just be the house you are looking for.


A Corner-terrace house is the last house of a row of houses. For every row of houses, there is two of such corner-terrace house.

Pros and Cons of living in a Corner-Terrace house

A corner-terrace house is very much preferred to an inter-terrace house. This is so because a corner-terrace has a bigger backyard for landscaping and other recreation purposes. Most of the time, a corner-terrace has a bigger living area as compared to an inter-terrace. It is not surprising then that a corner-terrace is more expensive than the one next door.

On the other hand, many a corner-terrace house are situated nearer to busy roads. Although spotted easily by first-time visitors, this particular corner-terrace has less privacy and less peace than her neighbours.

A corner-terrace house is similar to a semi-detached house because it only shares one common wall with her neighbour. A corner-terrace house also has a continuous front to rear backyard on one side, like a semi-detached house. HDB owners who often find themselves living too closely with strangers, may find a corner-terrace house desirable.


A shophouse is a type of building that is both native and unique to Southeast Asia, especially in the urban areas. A shophouse is a hybrid building of duo-functionality: shop and house, hence, the shophouse. The shophouse is a common feature of the historical centres of most towns and cities in this region.

Pros and Cons of living in a ShopHouse

A shophouse can consist of two to three storeys. A shophouse usually has a shop area on the ground floor with living areas on the upper floor. The ground floor of this shophouse contains a semi-public function. In more recent times, this shop area of the shophouse could easily be a food and beverage outlet, a service provider, an industrial activity or a community place.

The upper floor of the shophouse is meant to accommodate one or more families. Popular belief holds that the shophouse was initially occupied by a single family unit, with their private living areas above and the more public family business running below. As time passes by, the family grows to an extended family, with all living in the shophouse, under one roof. However, it is possible that both spaces of the shophouse can be used by unrelated persons or groups, who may be tenants or resident owners.

One of the most unique features of the shophouse is the use of open spaces to allow natural sunlight as well as fresh air into these long and otherwise tenebrous and stuffy building. These open spaces may be backyards, small airwells or most commonly, internal courtyards. These couryards make great landscaped spaces for quiet reflection, places to dry laundry, family gatherings and children play areas.

Colonial House

A colonial house is a house that is built in the pre-war British colonial times. A colonial house is usually a single-storey house. The colonial house was originally built for British officials attached to Singapore for a long period of time, hence, bringing along their families to stay with them.

Pros and Cons of living in a Colonial House

As a colonial house is built in British colonial times, a colonial house is easily more than 60 years old. Despite this, Singaporeans who live in a colonial house find themselves owning a little piece of Singapore History. Consisting of mainly two or three bedrooms, a colonial house has a spacious living hall and a medium-size kitchen.

The colonial house is often without any fences in her backyard. British colonial families often mingle outside their colonial house, throwing parties or just sitting on the lawn chatting till twilight. Indeed, in a colonial-house-neighbourhood, the feel is immediately one of fuzzy warm feeling. The colonial house is much like a modern-day kampung house.

Cluster Houses

Cluster houses may be a group of terrace houses, semi-detached houses or bungalows. Cluster houses share a small or wide array of facilities, depending on the development behind these cluster houses. The most common facilities cluster houses enjoy are a communal pool, gym and playground.

Pros and Cons of living in Cluster Houses

As cluster houses are a group of houses, neighbours live in regular contact, day in, day out. Such communal living is conducive in making cluster houses residents a vibrant social network.

Neighbours do look out for one another in cluster houses. Everyone knows everybody in these cluster houses. As cluster houses residents are sizeably smaller, compared to that of a condominium development, it is easier to recognise a neighbour.

So consider living among cluster houses, let the warmth of a community brighten your home. In these cluster houses, you can own a little dream come true.

Black and White House

A black and white house is a white-painted bungalow of a distinguished style. White external walls with wood support painted in black, hence called the black and white house or the black and white bungalow. The black and white house was once commonly used to house European expatriates and colonial families in tropical colonies like Singapore. These families who live in a black and white house are most often from the British Empire, in the nineteenth century.

Pros and Cons of living in a Black And White House

As a black and white house is built for these British colonial families, it is easily more than a hundred years old. This means a higher level of maintenance for the black and white house. The black and white house still exist in Singapore and other former colonies. The image of the black and white house still suffer from some stigma owing to their association with colonialism. However, the black and white house can be modernised with renovations, equipped with modern sanitary facilities and air conditioning, and still serve as residences.

Due to its unique history, the black and white house retains a certain character. A traditional western restaurant, for example, might reside in a black and white house, as it provides a nostalgic atmosphere.

Conservation House

A conservation house is a house or a shophouse that is marked for conservation. The conservation house is commonly built in pre-war British colonial times, hence the need to conserve it.

Pros and Cons of living in a Conservation House

The thing about the conservation house is its facade and history. The conservation house is usually a shophouse with finely carved motifs and a fresh coat of paint. The conservation house layout and structure seldom changes, retaining the conservation house’s uniqueness in texture and nostalgic feel.

Modern needs add on air-conditioning comforts to the conservation house. For all the conservation house’s rich and artistic qualities, the conservation house make a great museum, art gallery or even an inspired advertising agency.

Sometimes, a conservation house can be so celebrated that the conservation house undergoes a face-lift before being showcased as a masterpiece on its own. Truly, the conservation house is a place we can embrace the past and the present.

Heritage House

A heritage house is a house constructed with a touch of Asian heritage and culture. Derived from Balinese concepts, the heritage house is well-loved by locals as well as expatriates.

Pros and Cons of living in a Heritage House

The heritage house usually consists of two storeys. Designed for big families or single families that have grown to extended families, big living areas are a common feature in the heritage house.

The first storey of a heritage house contains a spacious living and dining hall. Many heritage house owners have these areas partitioned with delicately-carved wooden screens. The courtyard of the heritage house, though small, provides a space for quiet reflection, reading the Sunday Paper or a cosy get-together for two.

The second storey of a heritage house usually contains three bedrooms. The master room of a heritage house is usually smaller than that of a shophouse. The other two bedrooms of the heritage house are rarely small and share a common bathroom. For nostalgic and spacious qualities, the heritage house may be the house for your very needs.

Last updated by Florence Zheng on 1 jan, 2010.

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