Landed property – a scarce yet valuable resource. Many of us desire to live in and own a landed property in our lifetime. However, Singapore’s scarce land makes landed properties not only limited but also extremely expensive. Furthermore, as we all know, land prices have been increasing at an exorbitant pace. Why is it that so many of us still want to live in landed property? And if given the chance, what should I look out for before purchasing one?
What is landed property?
Like its name, landed property refers to properties that are directly attached to the land.
There are several types of landed properties. They include terrace houses, semi-detached, Bungalows, Good Class Bungalows, Shophouses and Cluster Housing.
Starting off with the types of landed properties.
1. Terrace House
Terrace houses consist of a row of at least 3 dwelling houses sharing common walls. There are 2 types of terrace houses – classified by setback requirements:
Type I Terrace House:
- Based on standard road buffer requirements
Type II Terrace House
- Standardised at 2m for building walls, and 1m for roof eaves
Corner terraces often yield a higher price due to its larger frontage at 8 metres, compared to terraces in the middle at 6 metres.
A semi-detached house is made up of one-half of a pair of 2 houses separated by 1 common wall between them. This wall can either be beside or behind one house.
Semi-Detached houses have a minimum plot size of 200 sqm, with a minimum plot width of 8 metres for side-to-side houses, and 10m for back-to-back semi-detached houses.
As long as the plot size and width of the property meets guidelines, terrace houses can be redeveloped into semi-detached housing.
There are 2 types of Bungalows in Singapore – Bungalows and Good Class Bungalows (GCBs).
This property type is one of the most prestigious property types anyone can own in Singapore, only falling behind Good Class Bungalows. They have a minimum plot size and width of 400 sqm and 10m, respectively.
There is a maximum site coverage of 50% imposed on Bungalows.
b. Good Class Bungalows
Good Class Bungalows (GCBs) are known as the most prestigious type of landed property in Singapore due to its prestigious nature.
Good Class Bungalows have several unique features:
- Good Class Bungalows have to have a minimum plot size of 1,400 square metres, and cannot be more than 2 storeys high (excluding attics & basements)
- GCBs can only be located within 39 areas gazetted by URA.
- Some of this include Cluny Hill, Nassim Road, Leedon Park, Caldecott Hill Estate, King Albert Park and Windsor Park
- The property must not occupy more than 40% of the overall GCB land plot, to ensure that greenery and amenities are not lost
Shophouses – one of the most unique types of landed property in Singapore. Its beautiful facade and unique interior are what charm many. Coupled with the rich history of the shophouse, many people yearn to live in one of these shophouses.
Shophouses hold much historical significance in Singapore. Here are some of its features:
- Narrow, small, terraced houses that are two to three storeys high
- Gazetted by URA as a conservation building
- A large majority of shophouses are located in central Singapore, with commercial property on the ground floor, and residential on the upper floors.
However, there are many guidelines to follow if you were to purchase one of these, given its conservation status. Some of these guidelines include:
- “3R” Principle – Maximum Retention, Sensitive Restoration and Careful Repair
- Where replacement is necessary, homeowners have to seek URA approval
- Alterations to structural elements of the shophouse should be done in the most unobtrusive way, using original methods and materials if possible
5. Cluster Housing
Cluster housing refers to a hybrid housing scheme that consists of homes with identical styles, designs and spaces. Residents get to enjoy living in a landed property with condominium-like facilities and amenities.
Many enjoy living in cluster housing due to its security, safety and the various amenities it provides. Cluster housing are mostly gated complexes with amenities such as swimming pools, gyms and even BBQ areas for its residents to use.
Some key features of cluster housing include:
- It is a form of strata-title landed house that can be built in Good Class Bungalow Areas
- You get to enjoy privacy and safety a condominium provides yet have the spaciousness of a landed facility.
However, of course, you would have to pay for maintenance fees if you were to own a cluster home. This would range from $300 to $1250 per month, depending on your strata size. Usual condominium rules would also apply to owners of cluster housing. Due to these limitations, some dislike the idea of owning a cluster home. This is the case especially if you and your family are not planning to use the facilities such as swimming pools and gyms, as you would still have to pay for maintenance fees (which can really add up!) monthly.
Owning a landed property is not cheap, given the land scarcity problem Singapore faces. However, if you have the opportunity to own a freehold landed property, it is a great investment opportunity for you. Now that you know more about the different landed property types, do you have a better idea about which type of housing would suit your lifestyle needs the best?