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Wednesday 31 May 2017

[Guest Post] How To Decide The Best Property For You To Stay In Singapore

I live in JB, and it's really near Singapore - so its no surprise that we are constantly compared to each other, especially in terms of home ownership. For a city with limited land resources, it is essential that you make the right decision when it comes to which property to buy. Learn how to make the right decision with this post:


Home ownership is a common aspiration for many Singaporeans. However, most people have a hard time selecting from the different properties available. When making the decision on what property to buy/rent, there are many considerations that need to be factored including lifestyle choice, eligibility and of course, the potential for capital appreciation should one hope to sell that property later. Here, we take you through the various property types to help you decide the best one for you:

Housing and Development Board (HDB) Properties
The Singapore housing system was designed to ensure that housing remains affordable for Singaporean citizens thereby encouraging home ownership. Thus, the Housing & Development Board of Singapore was established to develop subsidized public housing estates for its citizens. These public properties are commonly known as “HDB flats”. 

HDB flats are the most inexpensive (due to governmental subsidies) form of public housing, and are used by 80% of locals. Clean and modern, this dwelling solution appears to cater for the needs of Singaporeans with modest incomes who can't afford private housing. However, they may not be as nicely appointed as private housing (e.g. Ceramic tiles in the bathrooms rather than marble or granite – though some HDB flats do have the latter).

HDB flats tend to be located within self-sustained towns with well-integrated transport hubs, shopping malls and medical facilities, which make for very convenient living. As the HDB has been building flats since the 1960s and continues to build more flats even today, you will find a wide range of HDB flats available for rent, each varying in architecture, layout, interior designs and amenities. 

New HDB flats are sold either during Build-To-Order (BTO) sales launches or Sale of Balance Flats (SBF) sales launches. Citizens that meet HDB eligibility conditions can also purchase HDB flats in the resale market. The resale market is quite popular owing to stable HDB resaleprices and subsidies from the Government.

Types of HDB flats
·        2-Room HDB Flat – 1 bedroom with a built-in area of about 45 sq. m or 485 sq. ft.
·        3-Room HDB Flat – 2 bedrooms with a built-in area of about 70 sq. m or 754 sq. ft.
·        4-Room HDB Flat – 3 bedrooms with a built-in area of about 90 sq. m or 969 sq. ft.
·        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 sq. m or 1,615 sq. ft. 
·     EM (Executive Mansionette) - Same as Executive apartment, except it has two levels. 
·        6 room HDB - Flat Jumbo flat joint by two 3-room flats.
·      Three-Generation flats - these are designed to meet the needs of multi-generation families. They are about 115 sq. m and are slightly bigger than a five-room HDB flat. They are meant only for Singapore couples living with their parents. 
·     Studio Apartment (HDB) - Stylish one bedroom flat (36 or 45 m²) designed for elderly citizens who prefer living separately; it's equipped with pull-for-help devices and support bars.
·       Executive Flats-This mammoth of an HDB flat has an estimated 130 sq. of floor area. The highlights include an extra space, ideal for a study room or alternative television corner. Additionally, some of the executive flats come adorned with a balcony. 
·     DBSS Flats- HDB introduced the Design, Build and Sell Scheme in 2005. While put under review in 2011, a total of 13 DBSS sites were launched. 

Public-Private Hybrids.

HUDC Flats

HUDC flats were built in the 70s and 80s as a housing option for middle-income citizen families. HDB phased out the building of HUDC flats in 1987 as their demand declined. They were built in four phases. The first two phases comprising 6 estates with 2,596 residential units were sold by HUDC Private Limited. The last two phases comprising 12 estates with 5,135 residential units were sold by HDB. 

Executive Condominiums (ECs)
ECs are comparable to private condominiums in terms of design and facilities. Built and sold by private developers, they are attractive options for higher-income Singaporeans. 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.

Private Residential Properties (Non 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.

Condominiums in Singapore are usually developed by private developers. These flats usually come with basic facilities like a gym and swimming pool. Most condos have security and offer more privacy. There is no restriction in foreigners owning condos in Singapore. There are also very minimal restrictions on expats renting a condo. This is why it’s the most popular type of rental properties among the expats. Monthly rental costs typically range between $2,500 and $10,000.

Apartments are specially catered for students and working professionals. Choosing to live in an apartment can prove out to be expensive, but at the same time, it offers you individual space, quality living, and furniture. If you can afford to live in an apartment, then this is among the best properties you can have in Singapore.

Service apartments
This type usually comes with gyms, cafes, business centers and cleaning services. The monthly rental prices for these typically range from $2,500 to $6,000 for a one-bedroom apartment, and $5,000 to $10,000 for a two-bedroom apartment.

Townhouses are a blend of terrace houses with the recreational facilities of condominiums. Townhouses can form entire estates, or can be part of a larger condominium establishment. Either way, occupants of townhouses have access to common recreational facilities.

 This is a condo or apartment that doesn’t include a lift. It's low built so that it's convenient to reach one’s unit.

Private Residential Properties (Landed)
Conventional landed properties on Singapore real estate listings refer to houses that come with private garden compounds and/or garages. Please note that the Singapore Government has imposed restrictions on foreign ownership of private residential property in Singapore. Unlike other big countries, Singapore’s small size doesn't allow for many landed properties being built. On estimate, these properties account for just 5% of the homes in Singapore. 

Depending upon the location and the size of the house, rental price for landed property can vary from $10,000 to $30,000 per month. There are several types of landed rental property:

Free standing house with no shared wall with others except the fence. Bungalows are for the almost top-tier of Singapore’s well-to-do. They are built on a minimum 400sqm block of land. There are various classes: class 1 on block size 400-450sqm, class 2 for 550-700sqm, class 3 for 700-1,000sqm, and a class 4 bungalow on block size 1,000-1,4000sqm.

Good Class Bungalows
GCBs are considered the most exclusive residential properties in Singapore. These bungalows have a land area of at least 15,000 square feet, and are located in specifically designated areas.

Semi Detached
A pair of houses, two houses joint side by side. Semi-detached units only share one wall with a neighbor.

A row of houses joint side by side. Terraces share common walls with neighbors, unless they’re at the end of a row (in that case, they only have one neighbor).
Cluster houses.

This is an hybrid that combines the spaciousness and privacy of landed properties with the convenience of condo style facilities such as gyms, swimming pools, etc. Cluster houses are a rare yet upcoming market in Singapore.

Other Housing Units
·    Black and White: These gracious houses were built in the pre-war British colonial times. They are government owned, heritage protected, and usually rented to foreigners through an auction process. These houses vary in size from single-storey to two-storey buildings, and often come with a generous plot of grassy land perfect for kids and pets. They usually have white external walls with wood support painted in black.
·       Conservation House: Houses that are marked for conservation. 
·     Shop houses: Terraced rows of low rise buildings with narrow frontages and deep rears. They usually consist of shops on the bottom and living units on the top.
·     Heritage House: House constructed with a touch of Singapore heritage and culture, Balinese concept and loved by expatriates.


Ok, I know it's a little wordy, but buying a house is no easy feat and requires a lot of time and effort put into research. Hope this post has helped to ease your research process a little and help you to make a decision on which property to buy. All the best! :) 

Disclaimer: This article is published in partnership with PropertyGuru Malaysia.

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