Housing in Singapore – Types of Properties

housing in singapore

Housing in Singapore may be difficult to decipher especially if you are new here; it may be difficult to figure out the differences between the various types of property.

If you are planning to rent or buy property in Singapore, simply check out our guide on housing in Singapore to jump-start your home search without any confusion.

Public Housing


This stands for Housing Development Board and is used as short-hand to describe any government housing in Singapore. The flats are hugely popular, and today more than 80% of Singaporeans live in public housing. These properties are not available for foreigners to purchase.

Public-private Housing 

These properties share both public housing characteristics and private housing qualities.

Executive condominiums

Executive condominiums are a public-private hybrid property. The executive condominium shares most of the design and facilities of a private condominium with the edge of being HDB-issued. Executive condominiums come with a 5-year Minimum Occupation Period, which means that you have to live in it for at least 5 years before you are granted the rights to sell it on the open market to Singapore Citizens and PRs. Note that foreigners can purchase 10 years after completion of construction.

Private Residential 

housing in Singapore

Private residential properties can be subdivided into two main categories: condominiums/apartments and landed property. Condominiums and apartments are really popular with private property enthusiasts. These are basically the more luxurious version of the HDB flats. If you want to buy a condo in Singapore, these do not have restrictions on foreign ownership and are the common choice for expats.


Singapore condos are one of the most common types of private estate in Singapore. Compared to public housing, condos are recognised by their provision of common facilities such as private swimming pools, tennis courts, gym and the presence of security guards on duty. Condominiums in Singapore come in the form of studio units, penthouse units, individual houses or multiple-room units.


Apartments are similar to condominiums but they are part of smaller development and are home to less generous provisions of communal and recreational facilities.


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

Landed housing

Landed properties can require really high maintenance, but they are also unrivaled in terms of size and privacy.

housing in singaporeTerrace houses

Terrace houses are properties which are part of a row of similar houses joined together by a common boundary. While joined, each terrace house is a property in its own and has its own walls and roof.

Semi-detached houses

A semi-detached house is not really a type in itself, rather it denotes a category of different houses, all of which abide by a series of criteria. For a dwelling to be semi-detached, it has to be partially attached on one side to any number of other units. Common examples are semi-detached bungalow houses and semi-detached terrace houses (also known as a corner terrace).

Detached houses (bungalows)

This is one of the larger estates, even amongst landed properties. By definition, a bungalow is also detached, in that no other estate is in some way linked to it, adding to its privacy and exclusivity.

Good class bungalows

This is perhaps the most sought-after property type by the affluent individuals in Singapore. Located in prime locations, these exquisite private properties houses offer generous amounts of land, amenities such as swimming pools as well as gorgeous architecture. What differentiates good class bungalows from other houses is that the property should be a minimum of 1,400 square meters and only two storeys high. There’s also a limited number of good glass bungalows in Singapore, fact which makes the property even more desirable.

Cluster houses

This are another hybrid, designed to combine the privacy and spaciousness of landed properties, and convenience of condo-style facilities such as swimming pools, gyms, etc; cluster houses constitute a rare yet upcoming market in Singapore.


This is a heritage property that defines Southeast Asia; shophouses were once a hybrid of a shop at the ground level with homes on the second levels. Today, most shophouses have been refurbished and transformed into homes and offices. Taking with them the richness of our historical culture and is popular among those who have a keen artistic eye.

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Also published on Medium.