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Public Housing

old public housing

The most common Singapore Property will be the Public housing flats being managed and publicly governed by the Housing and Development Board (HDB), a statutory board under the Ministry of National Development. About 85% of Singaporeans, or 17 in 20 of the resident population live in such public flats and these Singapore properties are usually located in designated housing estates. Some of the bigger housing estates are very well self contained satellite towns with abundant of amenities.

There are a large variety of such public housing flat types and layouts which cater to various household budgets. While the older HDB flats were built primarily to provide affordable housing for the masses, there are more stylish design public housing developments in recent decade e.g Pinnacle Duxton at a higher premium pricing. The high ownership of public housing flats is possible due to the popular HDB policy for the installment payment scheme via Central Provident Fund (CPF), CPF grant for eligible first timers as well as the default financing source for the eligible Singaporeans.

Public housing in Singapore does not imply it is a sign of poverty or sub standard of living as compared to other social housing in other countries. The highest resale record in the entire Singapore HDB resale history was actually S$1.05 million for a masionette located at Bishan Street 13.  Majority of Singaporeans live in public housing but very few are poor actually. Many of Singaporeans living in public housing are asset rich but cash poor.

Do note that purchases of HDB flats are restricted to Singaporeans and Permanent Residents. In the context of our Property Investment Singapore, we shall not drill further than the above for the sake of our target audiences, i.e. Singapore property investors. The primary reason is property investment in public housing may seem good from the surface but savvy property investors will prefer to invest in private Singapore properties for the intention of building passive income and wealth accumulation. It is also a lot more easier to get special refinancing or equity loan or interest loan from the bank if you have owned private properties than to do the same with a public housing flat.

       modern public housing  Pinnacle Duxton, Modern Public Housing


Condominiums or private apartments come in various sizes. Each condominium apartment is part of a development not managed by the HDB.  The units in private residential property projects range from studio, 1, 2, 3 and 4-bedroom units to penthouses. Condominiums are mainly mid to high-rise buildings that are more luxurious with their full facilities (covered parking, 24-hr security, clubhouse facilities; e.g. function rooms, swimming pools, tennis court, gym and etc.).

Private property developers in Singapore build its stylish exterior and attractive facilities make it a popular choice for expatriates and this can be often seen even from how the showrooms are designed. Condominiums in private housing estates on average cost now to purchase between S$1.0 million to more than S$3 million. Rentals can range up from S$3,000 to as high as S$15,000 or more for the more luxurious ones.


While newer and more modern condo’s may cost more and are generally easier to maintain, and older condo’s (above 8 yrs old) tend to be bigger in size with larger pools and gardens. Savvy property investors will go for smaller condominium units rather than larger units for easy rental and resale if necessary.


Due to this investment phenomenon and also increasing property and land prices, property developers tend to build more condominium units in smaller sizes known as shoe box apartments and also try to differentiate from their competitors by introducing unique living themes such as retirement theme concept and etc. One of the most recent example of such is The Hillford. It was a very well received and 100% sold out property project. While this project looks more “affordable” and good on the surface to entice fellow Singaporeans to bet on it, it never encounter to us that this is something that we wish to invest in. The reason is simple. We only look at per square feet pricing while many Singaporeans only look at the entire quantum amount. Personally, i will not want to live in as small as 394 sq ft unit for retirement purpose. I would certainly deserve more than that.


Apart from private condominiums, we have other type of condominiums called the Executive Condominiums (ECs). It refers to a strata-titled Singpore property, with comparable designs and facilities to other condominiums. Eligibility conditions and restrictions are imposed by the HDB for a period of time. All Executive Condominiums are classified here regardless of whether the HDB’s restrictions are in force. Residents share a common compound and facilities such as clubhouses, playgrounds, gymnasiums, swimming pools, tennis courts and BBQ pits.


Landed Properties

Landed property on Singapore property listings refer to houses which come with private garden compounds and/or garages. This is a broad residential category encompassing terrace houses, semi-detached houses, landed propertydetached houses, good class bungalows. Singapore landed property tenure is tied to the land title and most landed properties are typically freehold although there are some 99 and 999-year leaseholds in the market as well. Do note that Singapore Government has imposed restrictions on foreign ownership of private residential property in Singapore.

Terrace houses are also known as terrace, row house or townhouse and are a type of medium density house where a row of identical houses share side walls.  It refers to a landed house in a row of three or more houses, joined side by side together. There are no other separate dwellings either above or below it. This also includes strata or cluster terrace house with common areas and facilities shared by units in the development. Rentals for such terrace can range from S$4,000 to S$10,000 per month

Semi-detached houses also known as a Semi-D or duplex in certain parts of the world consists of pairs of houses built side by side and separated by a party wall or partition. The houses are usually built in such a way that each house’s layout is a mirror opposite of its twin. This refers to a free standing landed house standing on its own without sharing any common wall or roofing with other separate dwellings.  There are no facilities provided here except for a personal patio, car porch and garden area.

Detached houses are like Semi-detached but instead of being built next to another house, detached houses are stand alone. This refers to a free standing landed house standing on its own without sharing any common wall or roofing with other separate dwellings. This also includes strata or cluster bungalow/detached house with common areas and facilities shared by units in the development.

Good class bungalows or GCBs are considered the highest and most prestigious type of landed housing in Singapore because of the planning constraints imposed by the authorities. They are also the most sought out property type in Singapore by extremely affluent foreigners and locals.  GCBs must have a plot size of at least 15,070 sqft (1,400 sqm) and a building height of 2-storeys only to be located in one of the gazetted areas around Singapore.  There are approximately 39 residential areas designated as Good Class Bungalow areas. GCBs are big enough to accommodate many family members and are known to have space for 4 cars or more. Some are renovated to include swimming pools and gardens. Prices can range from S$1.5 million to S$8 million or even higher depending on location and size of land. Prices are relatively high due to large space being valued in land scare Singapore. Rentals for such homes, can range from S$4,500 to about S$35,000 per month.

Townhouses are for those who prefer more privacy, townhouses’ are an ideal form of living in Singapore. They either form entire estates, or are part of a larger condominium establishment. Combined with facilities such as swimming pools, gyms and other recreational facilities, these landed terrace houses provide occupants with convenience and spacious living. Rentals range between S$5,000 to about S$16,000 per month.

Shop Houses were constructed between 1840 and 1960 and are more commonly found in Singapore. It is like a hybrid building consists of a shop on the ground level and the owner can live on the second or third storey. There is another similar type called shop office which shares the same layout as a shop house but is used wholly for commercial purposes on the ground floors and floors above.



serviced apartments

Serviced Apartments refer to non-strata titled furnished apartments designed for temporary accomodation. These Singapore properties have facilities and amenities similar to those found in hotels. They provide an cheaper alternative to hotel accommodation for travellers or persons who are relocating, or any groups of individuals who stay for at least a minimum duration required of serviced apartment operations as prescribed by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

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