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Types Of Landed Properties in Singapore You Can Buy

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The desire for more spacious dwellings due to work-from-home arrangements, less concern about accessibility by public transport, and record-breaking transaction volumes of Good Class Bungalows (GCBs) likely contributed to why prices of landed properties are trending upwards.

Only the top 5% of Singaporeans can afford a landed property, which makes owning a landed property the ultimate sign of wealth and prestige. So, if you have the resources to purchase a landed property in Singapore, this guide is for you. It will discuss the different types of landed residential property available in Singapore, whether you should invest in a landed property and how much money you need to buy one.

What is landed property in Singapore?

Landed property in Singapore refers to private residential housing attached directly to the land. Here, the owner has the title to the land. In land-scare Singapore, this is no easy feat, and only the well-off can afford to have a landed house.

Landed property can be very costly, especially near the city core, compared to most other property types. The high price tag associated with landed house properties is due to the need to have land ownership.

They also have high maintenance and property taxes. Despite the hefty prices, these landed dwellings are often ‘the dream house’ as they outclass other property types in terms of huge layouts, exclusivity, privacy and other amenities like massive gardens, swimming pools, and abode personalisation.

The basic difference between landed and non-landed residential housing is the land title. Unlike non-landed property, the plot of land on which the house stands belongs to the owner of the landed property.

Most landed properties are typically freehold, but some landed houses are available with 99- and 999-year leaseholds in the market.

What are the different types of landed property?

It is easy to get confused about the different types of landed properties in this broad residential category. Before purchasing a landed property, you must decide on which type of landed property you would like to purchase. Here, we have explained below the different landed property types.

#1 Terrace Houses

Also popular with names like a townhouse, row house or linked house, a terrace house is a type of medium density house characterised by shared side walls between the houses. In Singapore, terrace houses are usually built together with at least three units in a row and two corner units.

The intermediate units share their side walls with adjacent neighbours. The corner terrace units are usually more expensive than other rowed houses due to their slightly larger land area.

Usually more popular with first-time buyers, young families and investors, terrace houses are typically found in older areas such as Katong, Kampong Glam and Geylang. There are two types of terrace houses – Type 1 and Type 2, and this type of housing is divided into three categories:

  • Terrace House I (intermediate units)
  • Terrace House II (intermediate units)
  • Terrace House II (corner units)

All these terraced houses differ in plot width and plot size.

#2 Semi-detached Houses

Sometimes referred to as semi-ds or duplexes, semi-detached houses in Singapore comprise a pair of conjoined houses, each of which has its own land title and is separated by a common party wall or partition.

Although these houses are built identically during construction, they have different title deeds and usually different owners. Homeowners can change or renovate their semi-detached house to match their modern tastes and needs – after approval from the authorities, of course.

Semi-detached houses have a minimum plot size of 200 sq. m, or approx. 2,160 sq. ft. This type of landed house is more affordable than other landed property types

#3 Detached Houses

Detached houses are more like semi-detached landed homes but stand-alone, like a bungalow. It is independent of its neighbours – without shared walls or roof – and with its own land title.

Regarded as the top-tier landed property type in Singapore, bungalows in Singapore are usually associated with the rich and affluent. One of the attractions of a detached house is that you can style the property according to your taste.

Detached houses or bungalows are bigger than semi-detached or terrace homes. To be called a detached house, it should have a plot size no smaller than 400 sq. m. (or approx. 4,360 sq. ft.) and a minimum width of 10m. They are usually up to 2 stories high and physically detached from other houses.

In Singapore, there are two main types of bungalows – regular bungalows and Good Class Bungalows.

#4 Good Class Bungalows (GCBs)

Good Class Bungalows, commonly known as GCBs, are one of the most prestigious, expensive, yet the most sought-out housing type in Singapore by affluent foreigners and locals. Even fancier than regular bungalows, the super-luxe GCBs are freestanding detached houses with no shared wall or partition with another property.

These are usually located in prime and popular areas like Chatsworth Park, Cluny Hill and Cluny Park near the Orchard Road shopping district; Leedon Park near Holland Road; Ridley Park and Ridout Park, to name a few.

If a bungalow exceeds 1,400 sq. m. (or 15,070 sq. ft.), it is likely considered a GCB. Other requirements for a bungalow to classify as a GCB:

  • It should be in one of the 39 gazetted areas zoned for GCBs;
  • It should be no more than two storeys high (excluding an attic and a basement);
  • It should have a minimum plot width of 18.5m and a plot depth of 30m at least;
  • The site coverage can’t be more than 35% of the plot.

Outside the GCB gazetted areas, you can buy a landed property like a semi-detached or terrace house, and then redevelop it into a bungalow.

Please note that GCBs can be sold to Singapore Citizens only. But you can apply for a purchase if you have been a permanent resident for at least five years. The applications are evaluated on a case-by-case basis after considering several factors.

#5 Shophouses

A slightly rarer housing option in Singapore, shophouses are known to be hybrid buildings that combine a place of residence and a commercial shop. Usually, the shop is on the ground level for business activities, while the residence is on the second or third storey.

Built between the 1840s and 1960s, shophouses are spacious and stand out with their high ceilings and multiple storeys. Due to their commercial nature, shophouses are located in the central locations of Singapore, surrounded by amenities. They often have vintage architectural features and have been protected by URA Singapore for their heritage and historical significance.

Today, you can also find shophouses converted into homes and office spaces. If you want to see shophouses in Singapore, you can find them in older locations like Chinatown, Amoy Street, Tanjong Pagar and Telok Ayer.

Here’s a summary of minimum plot widths and plot sizes for each property type.

Property TypePlot Width (min)Plot Size (min)Site Coverage
Good class bungalow18.5m1400 sqmMax 40%
Regular bungalow10m400 sqmMax 50%
Semi-detached house8m200 sqmNo control
Back-to-back semi-detached house10m200 sqm 
Terrace house I (intermediate units)6m150 sqmNo control
Terrace house II (intermediate units)6m80 sqmNo control
Terrace house II (corner units)8m80 sqmNo control

#6 Cluster Houses

Also known as strata landed housing, a cluster house is a hybrid landed residence where different types of landed properties are grouped together. They can be a mix of terrace houses, bungalows, GCBs and semi-detached houses.

Cluster houses come with the convenience of condo-like facilities such as a swimming pool, gym, designated parking area, playground, and BBQ pit, as well as the exclusiveness and spaciousness associated with landed housing. Please note that residents of cluster houses also have to pay monthly maintenance fees.

The strata-titled cluster houses can be built within GCB estates with a 40% site coverage. For outside GCB estates, the maximum site coverage is 50%.

Is landed property a good investment?

In addition to other perks like space and privacy, landed properties have been a great investment vehicle among Singaporeans (and eligible foreigners). The competitive rental market of Singapore and long-term capital appreciation make the landed property an attractive choice for investment by Singaporeans and foreigners alike.

Even in a period of economic turmoil, the prices of landed properties do not fluctuate as much as other property types.

Due to supply chain delays and labour shortages caused by the pandemic, properties, including landed ones, have faced higher labour and construction costs.

Moreover, there is a crunch in GLS (Government land sales), and developers faced higher costs due to the recent cooling measures. The landed properties are facing a dwindling supply, but demand is stronger than ever as there exists a genuine need from homeowners.

Due to the exclusivity and popularity of landed properties amongst homeowners and developers, their prices are expected to stay high and potentially rise with time.

Other benefits of buying a landed property in Singapore

One of the biggest attractions of landed properties is the land space that you will own. Investing in real estate in Singapore offers a wonderful opportunity to multiply your profits in future.

With the extra space, a landed property works well for a multi-family home. If three generations of a family are looking to live under one roof without feeling space-suffocated all the time, a landed property will make a good option for your family (of course, if you can afford it).

The level of privacy you get with landed properties is unrivalled. You can do whatever you want without worrying about neighbours sneaking around.

When you have the flexibility to modify the design of your new house, there is nothing like it! With landed properties, homeowners have the flexibility and control over the layout and maintenance of their homes. Please note that homeowners are not allowed to change the design and frontage of the building in strata-titled houses.

Also, large landed homes are perfect for aspiring dog owners since some bigger breed dogs are only allowed in private condos and landed properties. A large land area will give canine friends ample room to play and run.

Can I buy a landed property in Singapore?

All Singapore citizens are eligible to buy a landed property in Singapore. However, the supply of landed property is limited and hence the costs are high. Let’s discuss below how much you need to buy a landed home and the salary you need to earn.

How much does a landed house cost in Singapore?

If you are considering venturing into landed property investment, you might want to know how much it will cost. The cost of the landed property will depend mainly on two factors: location and size.

On average, a terrace house costs above $3 million, a semi-detached house has a price tag close to $5 million, and a bungalow can cost about $14 million.

However, the landed housing price is dependent on the property’s location. The Core Central Region (CCR) is the most expensive region for landed property purchase, while the Outside Central Region (OCR) is the most affordable.

The salary you need to earn to buy a landed home in Singapore

Here are some assumptions we have made to simplify our salary calculations:

A home loan tenure of 25 years with an interest rate of 1.6% to establish the monthly repayments; a TDSR rate of 55%; MSR rate of 30%; a minimum downpayment of 25% and no consideration of expenses such as stamp duty, legal fees, agent fees, renovation costs, etc.

Housing TypeMedian Resale Housing PriceMin. Down paymentMonthly RepaymentsAverage Salary per Spouse
Terrace house$3,150,000*$787,500$9,560$8,691
Semi-detached house$4,600,000*$1,150,000$13,960$12,691
Bungalow$9,700,000*$2,425,000$29,438$26,762
Good Class Bungalow (GCB)$30,303,000#$7,575,750$91,966$83,606

*Figures are grounded on the URA transactions documented from Jan to Dec 21.

#The number represents the avg. price of a GCB for 2021.

The average salary each spouse must earn to buy their “dream” landed property falls between $8,691 and $26,762, while it goes as high as $83,606 per spouse for a coveted GCB in Singapore.

Landed housing areas in Singapore

The URA of Singapore has designated certain areas as landed property estates, and each such area must follow the planning guidelines laid out by the URA for that area.

In Singapore, there are four types of landing housing areas, as per the Landed Housing Area Plan:

  • GCB areas (only for GCBs and bungalows)
  • Bungalow areas
  • Semi-detached housing areas
  • Mixed-landed housing areas

You can build pretty much everything in mixed-landed housing areas, like detached, semi-detached, and terrace houses (type 1 and type 2). Semi-detached housing areas allow building detached bungalows and semi-detached houses. GCB areas and bungalow areas allow only detached bungalows.

Some of the most popular districts for landed properties include Singapore Districts 9, 10, 11 and 21. Apart from them, Districts 15 and 16 on the East Coast are also quite popular amongst landed property buyers.

Can I use CPF to buy a landed property?

Since landed property comes under private housing in Singapore, homebuyers can use their CPF savings to purchase their landed property. They can also finance their home purchase by getting a bank loan, provided they meet the required mortgage loan criteria.

If a buyer wants to buy a private landed property using CPF, they must meet the following criteria:

  • The property should have a remaining lease of more than 20 years.
  • The amount of CPF that can be used is prorated based on the buyer’s age and remaining lease.
  • The remaining lease must cover the youngest buyer using CPF for property purchase till age 95 and beyond.

If you don’t already meet the Basic Retirement Sum (BRS), the maximum amount of CPF you can use is up to the property’s valuation price or purchase price, whichever is lower, at the time of purchase.

If you meet the BRS, the maximum CPF amount you can use is an additional 20% of the lower of the property’s valuation price or the purchase price at the time of purchase.

Please note that you must also pay the property stamp duties such as buyer’s stamp duty (BSD) and if applicable, the additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD)

Can foreigners buy landed property in Singapore?

According to the Residential Property Act, foreign individuals and entities (including Singapore PRs) are not entitled to buy a landed residential property in Singapore since 1973.

If a foreigner intends to purchase a landed house in Singapore, they must obtain special approval from the Land Dealings Approval Unit (LDAU). The application to LDAU under the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) takes about 30 days to issue a verdict. If approved, the buyer may only purchase the landed property for their residence and not for any other form of investment.

Usually, only Singapore PRs (permanent residents) may be granted permission for landed property purchase in Singapore. For this, they consider two factors: their qualifications and economic contributions to the Singapore economy. Each application is judged on a case-to-case basis.

Foreigners, who are not PRs, can be granted approval for purchasing landed properties only in Sentosa Cove – the highly exclusive “made for the rich” island situated on the eastern part of Sentosa. Due to the upscale nature of the Sentosa property, the application is processed within 48 hours. Once approved, they can acquire the services of a licensed real estate agent.

Final Thoughts

We believe purchasing and financing a property in Singapore doesn’t have to be complicated. If you intend to buy a landed residential property in Singapore, we can help. At Dollarback Mortgage, our team of skilled and experienced mortgage consultants help aspiring homebuyers get the best mortgage loan that meets their unique requirements while staying on top of trends in the property market.

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