top of page

Property Introduction 101

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

Credits: Unsplash

Are you looking to purchase a residential property in Singapore other than a HDB flat? Before you dive into your search for luxury condominiums, hold up! Often, our first impressions of private properties include just condominiums, semi-detached houses or bungalows. Even when we hear of terms like terrace houses and cluster houses, we find ourselves scratching our heads and wondering what type of housing they are exactly. Fret not, here is a glossary of all the types of private residential properties available in Singapore, separated into 3 main categories:

  1. Public-Private Hybrids

  2. Non-Landed Properties

  3. Landed Properties

Here’s an overview of the property types:

1. Public-Private Hybrids

Public-private hybrids are first introduced by the government as a form of housing catered to buyers who are looking for a more spacious property with more facilities. In other words, they are like an upgraded version of HDB flats but priced much more affordably than condominiums.

Executive Condominiums

Credits: CDL

Also known as ECs, executive condominiums are a type of public-private housing hybrid that is subsidised by the government. They have condo-like attributes such as gyms and swimming pools which can be assessed by all residents. For the first 10 years after the Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP), ECs will be considered public housing, which means that only Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) can own them. Once the EC crosses the 10-year mark, its status will be converted to a private property.

Housing and Urban Development Company (HUDC) Flat (Discontinued)

Credits: The Business Times

Another private-public hybrid will be the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDC) flats, which were discontinued back in 1987. HUDC flats are well known for their spacious interiors, which range between 139 and 158 sqm. As compared to ECs, HUDC flats are also commonly located in mature estates such as Bishan and Marine Parade. Currently, there are still 18 estates left with HUDC flats with over 7,000 units. As of now, all HUDC flats have already been privatised.

2. Non-Landed Properties

Non-landed properties are strata properties where homeowners do not have ownership over the land under the development. They include condominiums and apartments which usually share common facilities and amenities.


Credits: Parc Esta

Condominiums are large property complexes (minimum 4000sqm) that consist of individual units, with recreational facilities such as gyms and swimming pools shared by all residents. Other than individual apartments, condominiums may also consist of landed properties. For instance, new condominium developments such as Affinity at Serangoon and Parc Clematis both consist of strata landed properties. One thing to take note for strata landed properties is that the owner does not own the land.


Credits: Haus on Handy/CDL

Compared to condominiums, apartments are typically part of smaller developments and come with fewer recreational facilities. Price wise, apartments are usually at a price range between private condos/landed housing and HDB flats.


Credits: Google Maps

Walk-up apartments are low-rise residential buildings with no lifts but only staircases. They typically have 2-6 floors, although some buildings might have more floors.

Cluster Houses

Credits: Parkwood Collection

Clustered together, these residences are exactly what their names suggest. They are similar to condominium projects but can consist of terraced houses, semi-detached, and bungalows. Like condominiums, all residents have access to communal facilities such as gyms and swimming pools.


Credits: Kingsford Development

Not to be confused with cluster houses, townhouses are hybrids between condominiums and landed terrace houses that enjoy shared access to condo-like amenities. Townhouses can form an entire estate or be part of a larger condominium establishment.

3. Landed Properties

In Singapore, landed properties refer to properties that are attached directly to the land that you purchase. This means that you own the land where your property stands. Landed properties are therefore among the most expensive residential properties here and are considered symbols of status and wealth.


Credits: VisitSingapore

Shophouses are built with a terraced layout that is two to three storeys high, serving both as a residence (upper floors) and a commercial (first floor) building. They are usually narrow and small with a sheltered five-foot walkway, which is an important feature of the first floor. Constructed between the 1840s and the 1960s, they are rich in history and symbols of Singapore’s cultural heritage.

Semi-Detached Houses

Credits: Brighthill Residences

Semi-detached houses are a pair of adjoining dwelling houses sharing a boundary wall. Each one of the pairs is regarded as a separate property from the other, and they can have several levels, spanning up to 3 or 4 storeys. Like many landed properties, semi-detached houses usually have their own garden, personal patio and car porch.

Terrace Houses

Credits: Ming Architects

Similar to semi-detached houses, terrace houses are part of a row of houses that share walls and have their own roofs. To qualify as a terrace house, each house must be part of a row of at least 3 dwelling houses. Terrace houses, especially corner terraces, have spacious gardens that are suitable for those who prefer larger open living spaces.

Detached Houses

Detached houses refer to free-standing structures that are completely independent of its neighbours. In Singapore, detached houses are usually referred to as bungalows.


Credits: Ming Architects

Bungalows are independent low-rise houses which are up to 2 storeys high and with a minimum land size of 400sqm. It is common for bungalows to have their own private swimming pools and spacious gardens.

Good-Class Bungalows

Credits: Albert Lim

Only allowed to be built in 39 gazetted prime areas, Good Class Bungalows (GCBs) are the most exclusive and prestigious landed housing in Singapore. To classify as a GCB, the house needs to have a minimum plot size of 1,400 sqm or 15,070 sqft. With such large plot sizes, it is not surprising that GCBs can house their own carparks, gardens and luxury swimming pools.

Now that you have plenty of options…

Now that we have given you a brief introduction to the different types of properties in Singapore, we hope you are now well-equipped to make the most suitable decision for your next home or investment choice. Remember, each property type comes with its own merits and functions, so choose the one that best caters to your needs!

65 views0 comments


bottom of page