Landed public housing in Singapore? Yes, they exist! If you’re lucky enough to snag one of these HDB terrace flats for yourself, you can expect to enjoy an abundance of space spread out across two storeys and nice private garden. Read on to learn more about these gems, such as where they are found and how much they cost!
The story behind HDB terrace flats
Terrace flats came into existence before Singapore’s independence, before the Housing and Development Board (HDB) had come into the picture.
Back then, public housing was built and managed by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT), and it was the SIT who developed these terrace houses on land in Whampoa and Queenstown in the late 1950s. (Click the links to view some of the listed HDB terrace flats on sale!)
HDB took over these flats in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and issued owners with fresh 99-year leases. The 99-year lease for the HDB terraced flats in Queenstown started from 01 Jul 1968, whereas those in Whampoa started in 1 July 1972.
Unique characteristics of HDB terrace flats
So what’s the deal with these public terrace flats, and how do they differ from other landed properties? At first glance, you’ll hardly be able to distinguish them from private landed homes unless you take a closer look and spot HDB block numbers on the side walls.
And as with other public housing, these terrace flats are not freehold properties, meaning that the deed doesn’t belong to the homeowner upon the end of the lease. Essentially, the ownership of the property reverts to the HDB after a 99-year lease is up.
HDB terrace flats are also subject to HDB rules for flat owners, unlike landed homeowners who have no such rules to abide by and have maximum leeway in making additions and alterations (A&A) to their homes (e.g. rebuilding). That said, some owners of HDB terraced flats have gotten approval to redo their front wall to their liking:
By now, you might also have noticed that there are no drive-in car porch for HDB terrace flats unlike private landed homes. Residents have to park their vehicles at public car parking spaces and sign up for season parking, like other HDB residents.
Even though terrace flats aren’t freehold properties, the appeal lies in the fact that these flats are significantly larger than the average HDB flat while cheaper than landed properties of the same size. Here’s the typical floor plan of a HDB terrace home:
As you can see, the internal footprint of a HDB terrace flat is pretty small. In fact, flat owners get no more than 900 square feet of living space across two storeys. The living room itself is pretty compact:
To maximise the space, many single owners knock down the dividing walls between the two bedrooms to create one big space. The voluminous ceiling and pitched roof is another selling point of a HDB terrace house. For us, it’s like living in quaint village home in Europe!
Still, those who relish living in a landed property but can’t afford one can opt for a HDB terrace flat, owning one is a dream come true. One thing’s for sure, without the private backyard that HDB terraced flats have, there’s no chance to legally have an open-air barbecue in a regular HDB flat!
One more thing, HDB terrace flats are super rare, there are just 285 such homes in the entire Singapore.
How much does a HDB terrace flat cost?
If you’re wondering how much one of these terrace flats cost, the answer is anywhere from $800,000 to over $1,000,000. One of the most recent terrace flat sold is a unit at Jalan Mamor, Whampoa, which changed hands at $880,000 in July 2020. This was unique in that it was a corner terrace unit with an additional 480 sq ft of floor area. In 2018, a corner HDB terrace unit in the same neighbourhood sold for a record $1.185 million!
Want to keep your options open? You’ve also got jumbo HDB flats, executive maisonettes, 3Gen HDB flats and walk-up apartments to choose from. When in doubt, there’s no harm in taking more time to mull over things before making a decision; the last thing that you want to do is to rush into a property purchase!
Would you pay $800k+ for a HDB terrace home? Let us know in the comments below!
If you liked this article, check out: Paying $1.1 million for a 43-year-old Tiong Bahru HDB flat is a genius move. Here’s why
Find the home of your dreams today at Singapore’s largest property portal 99.co!