Walk down Dunlop Street. Next, skip through Figaro Street. Then wander through Toh Heights. Then lastly, stroll down Queen Astrid Park. What do these places have in common? They all have landed property! But these landed residences come in different shapes and sizes. It’s easy to confuse the different types, even if you were born and raised in Singapore.
The three agencies regulating landed properties in Singapore – The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Building and Construction Authority (BCA), and Singapore Statistics (Singstat) – classifies landed properties under three broad categories – namely: Detached House, Semi-Detached House, and Terrace House. Property Guru, on the other hand, categorizes them slightly further into 5 different categories, namely: Good Class Bungalows, Detached Houses, Semi-Detached Houses, Terrace Houses, and Shophouses.
Shopping for landed property but unsure of what to look out for? Read on to find out more!
Landed Property: Good Class Bungalows
Did you know? In most countries, bungalows are known as single storey detached houses. In Singapore, it’s a little different. Good Class Bungalow, or GCB, is the most opulent type of landed residences in Singapore. However, for a detached house to qualify as a GCB, the house needs to sit on a minimum of 1,400 sqm or 15,070 sqft of land area (also known as plot size). Built-up size is usually 10,000 sqft, with a car porch out front for about 3-4 cars, a swimming pool, and a garden.
When they said birds of the same feather flock together, they meant it for GCBs too, since they can be found within prime residential districts. For instance, Sixth Avenue and Cluny Road on District 10, and Eng Neo Avenue and Swiss Club Road on District 11.
Here’s where it can get a little confusing. In Singapore, a detached house is commonly called a bungalow, no matter the number of storeys in the house. In other countries, however, a detached house consists of a single level. Detached houses in Singapore are basically a free-standing structure found within the plot of land. It is completely independent of its neighbors, with the absence of a common wall or roof. They have to have a minimum land size of 400 sqm or 4306 sqft, roughly a third of a GCB.
The bigger the space, the more freedom you have (to play around with the style of the house)! The biggest appeal of detached houses is the ability to style the house exactly to your taste. Colonial houses, or more commonly known as black and white houses, are a great example. Though their limited size and their location (outside of designated GCB districts) prevent them from being classified as GCBs.
Semi-detached houses, or ‘semi-ds’ as the locals call it, are a set of two houses sharing a boundary wall. The pair of houses built are basically identical during construction, as they were similar in terms of structure and interior. Of course, the residents of the house can choose to change it and renovate their house however they like. With the approval from the authorities, of course. Corner terrace houses can also be labeled as semi-detached, due to the presence of a boundary wall. These houses are at least 200 sqm or 2153 sqft. That’s half of a small bungalow!
To begin, terrace houses are often referred to as row houses or townhouses. In Singapore, URA has specified that terrace houses should form a row of at least three units. Middle units share both of their borders with their adjacent neighbors while corner terraces only share one of their borders with another unit. URA has also further categorized terrace houses into two subgroups, which is dependent on their front setbacks from the road. Terrace houses minimally have a land size of about 150 sqm or 1615 sqft. Do note that these numbers represent the minimum, so these numbers can only grow!
Terrace houses are stereotyped to have bad lighting and poor ventilation, as they have limited windows only on their narrow ends. Hence, when considering a terrace house it is important to install air wells, an inner courtyard, or other measures to minimize said drawbacks.
Landed Property: Shophouses
Conserved to pay homage to our history, shophouses are a classically significant form of housing in Singapore. The remaining shophouses in Singapore are under preservation, regardless of whether shops are operating on the ground level have people residing on the upper levels. It is an important fact to consider for homeowners who may want to consider changing the external appearance of their house. Additionally, the five-foot-way is a distinguishing factor between shophouses and terrace houses.
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