HDB is a term used in Singapore, referring to public housing that is managed by the Housing and Development Board (HDB). More than 80% of Singaporeans live in HDB flats, ranging from studio apartments – where the living room, bedroom, and kitchenette are combined into a single room – to executive maisonettes – which are 2 level apartments with the bedrooms on the second storey.
In the term “X-room HDB flat”, X refers to the number of bedrooms in the flat, and also includes the living room. Hence a 2-room HDB flat has 1 bedroom and a living room, while a 4-room HDB flat would have 3 bedrooms and a living room. Within the flat, there can be a Master room which is the biggest room in the property, and is usually connected to a dedicated bathroom. The common room is smaller than the master room and a property may have more than one common room.
HDB flats are located in self-contained towns with self-sufficient amenities like schools, supermarkets, clinics, food courts, and sports/recreational facilities. With the well-established transport network in Singapore, there are bus stops and train stations found near every HDB estate, hence making travel convenient regardless of where you stay.
Condo or Condominium is a term used for housing buildings developed by private companies, such as Far East Organization or Keppel. Condos generally include some special amenities and services such as 24-hour security, gyms, swimming pools, tennis courts and spas, hence a monthly maintenance fee has to be paid for enjoying these perks as compared to a HDB estate that does not offer these. Due to these luxurious features, condo units also tend to be more on the pricey side, and would certainly cost more than a HDB unit of the same size.
You might also have seen the term TOP (Temporary Occupation Permit) in some ads for condos – this actually refers to the year when building work for the condo was completed. Once the TOP is issued, the developer will hand over the keys to the owner.
This term refers to housing that has been built primarily for the purpose of rental, such as the service apartments (a.k.a. apts) and student dormitories/hostels. The hostels offer highly affordable accommodation prices for students, hence being an attractive option to those here with student passes. These hostels often have facilities such as common dining/laundry areas and lounges. On the other hand, service apartments are targeted towards executives or families taking longer vacations, who might prefer a more luxurious residence similar to that of hotels. Majority of these apartments have kitchens, separate dining and living areas.
They also range from small studios to bigger three bedroom units. These service residences offer services such as laundry and room cleaning, and even provide various get-togethers and events for guests from time to time to help them get accustomed to the environment.
Houses are generally classifeid under landed property in Singapore. Due to the limited land available, there are restrictions of foreign ownership of landed properties (except Sentosa Cove). These houses are mostly 1-3 storey properties that may include features such as pools, gardens or garages, and are not managed by the HDB. They may be located in areas that are relatively less accessible as compared to the other types of housing, but the environment is hence more serene as well.
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.
Good Class Bungalow
- There are about 2,700 GCBs located within Singapore’s 39 gazetted GCB areas.
- To be classed as a GCB, the property must have a land area of at least 15,000 sq ft and be situated in those areas zoned for GCBs.
- Some of the more popular GCB areas are Cluny Road near the Orchard Road shopping belt, Ridley Park off Tanglin Road, Leedon Park near Holland Road, and King Albert Park off Bukit Timah Road.
- URA’s guidelines stipulate that GCBs cannot be built more than two-storeys high (plus an attic and a basement) and this is to preserve the exclusivity and character of such neighbourhoods.
- The scarcity factor and strong status symbol make GCBs one of the most sought after properties here and ensures strong capital appreciation.
- Depending on land size and facilities, GCBs can be priced up to $10 million and above. Bungalows with bigger plots and swimming pools can fetch higher prices.
- GCB transactions have slowed in recent years due to the government’s cooling measures, particularly the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) and Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD).
- A total of 26 GCBs were sold in 2014 amounting to $587.75 million. The record stands at 133 deals worth $2.38 billion in 2010.
- Sales of GCBs are indicative of the health of the property market since investing in multi-million dollar homes means investor confidence is up.
- Since 2012 only Singaporeans can buy in GCB areas. Foreigners were previously allowed to purchase such homes subject to permission from the Land Dealings (Approval) Unit, but only if the land area didn’t exceed 15,000 sq ft.