Considering moving to Singapore and making this sunny island your new home? You’re not alone - Singapore is the 5th most popular destination for expats and is currently home to 1.64 million non-residents. Despite its size, our little red dot holds a solid reputation as a land of opportunities.
That said, Singapore’s rental rates are also one of the highest in Asia, leading many to wonder if it’d be more cost-effective to purchase a property in the long-term.
The most affordable options are the government-subsidized public housing units affectionately termed “HDB flats.” But these are typically reserved for Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents. And if you’ve got the cash to spare, there are more options within your reach.
(Read also: What Type of Property Can I Buy in Singapore?)
This is the most common type of property in Singapore and a prime choice if you want to be immersed in the local culture. You’ll get to experience a myriad of ethnic cultures and dialects in just one community.
To date, our 1.2 million HDB units house over 3.3 million residents, including an estimated 100,000 expats. The common models you’ll find are the 2-room, 3-room, 4-room, and 5-room HDB flats.
2-rooms are compact spaces for young couples or single individuals, with only a bedroom and bathroom.
3-room flats usually consist of 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. This may be a suitable choice if you’ve got a family with young children.
4-room and 5-room HDB flats offer more personal space for families with older children.
There are also lesser-known models like the maisonettes and jumbo flats built in the 1980s. These were designed for multi-generation households to help them better care for their elderly. They’re good choices if you’ve got a large family or if you love to host people — just be prepared to pay a premium for these “rarer” types.
ECs are a cross between public and private housing: they’re typically slightly cheaper than private condominiums but offer many of the same amenities. These may be the right property type for young professionals/couples who earn too much to qualify for HDBs but are unable to afford a private condominium.
The regulations on ECs change depending on the age of the unit. For the first 5 years, ECs will face the same regulations as BTOs (i.e. cannot be sold, and only Singapore citizens are eligible). In their 6th – 10th years, they face the same regulations as resale flats (i.e. only Singaporeans & Permanent Residents are eligible).
From the 11th year onwards, ECs become private property and can be sold freely in the open market. That means if you’re a foreigner, you can only buy ECs older than 10 years of age.
Private residences are good for people who prefer more serenity, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s also the type of property with the least restrictions and the only kind that foreigners can purchase in Singapore. You can even purchase multiple units if you’ve got the cash for it.
Private housing can be categorized into non-landed and landed.
Condominiums are the most common form of non-landed private housing and feature an array of shared facilities that cater to the residents’ recreational needs. You can find them as studios, multiple-bedroom units, or penthouse units. Condominiums typically have a management team maintaining the shared facilities.
(Read also: The REAL Costs of Buying Property in Singapore)
Private condominiums come with either a 99-year, 999-year, or freehold lease. Freehold lease being a perpetual term costs the most. Due to the limited land availability, most condos come with a 99-year lease today.
Landed properties are often home to those in the upper echelons of society. They offer the ultimate privacy with large spaces for personalised living quarters. Some include facilities like swimming pools, massive gardens, or even extension wings.
The common models of landed property are:
Was this article helpful? Good things must share!
Caleb is an avid adventurer. Having grown up in Singapore, he constantly looks for unconventional ways to optimize his resources and investments. He travels widely with the desire for new perspectives, opportunities, and cuisines.