Image credit: ArchDaily
Residing enviously on the higher end of Singapore’s real estate market, bungalows are widely regarded as a status symbol of wealth, and are increasingly being snapped up by the young and the rich.
Known as the home of choice for ‘crazy rich Asians’, what exactly is a bungalow? What is the difference between a house and a bungalow? How much does a bungalow cost? We’ll answer your burning questions — and more — so read on to find out!
What is a bungalow?
According to the Urban Development Authority (URA), a bungalow must be located on a site with a minimum plot size of 400 square metres, with a minimum width of 10 metres. The site coverage cannot be larger than 50%.
Typically, bungalows in Singapore are low-rise, usually rising up to 2 storeys in height. They are often surrounded by a wide veranda, sometimes containing lofts, attics, or basements.
Because of their exclusive nature and high price tags, bungalows are often synonymous with the affluent. Prices range approximately from $2.3 million to an eye-watering $78 million!
Initially constructed during the colonial era, bungalows originated as housing for British officers, high court judges, and others of high social standing who were able to afford luxurious homes.
Today, we recognise that bungalows are standalone landed houses. They are detached homes that are not physically connected to other estates, adding to their exclusive and private nature. This is the main difference between standard HDB apartments and a bungalow – the exclusive privacy you get by having the whole building to yourself.
Be sure not to confuse a regular bungalow with Good Class Bungalows (GCB), the ‘older brother’ of regular bungalows. Essentially, Good Class Bungalows are like an ultra-deluxe upgrade of the regular bungalow.
However, Good Class Bungalows are not just bigger bungalows; there are a whole set of planning restrictions they must abide by to qualify as such. To find out more about these uber-wealthy homes, you can check out the article below on Good Class Bungalows to read all about them.
Why are bungalows so popular?
For one, the privacy and exclusivity bungalows afford their owners is already a big draw. Not being attached to any other estate or house means one has the entire site to themselves.
With Singapore’s limited land space, having an entire estate to oneself is an appealing proposition. Not to mention the freedom of land use; since the bungalow and entire property is self-owned, one has the freedom to expand with amenities and renovations as they please.
The ground space as well (remember, a maximum of 50% can be covered by the bungalow itself) is another plus point, for prospective buyers who feel cooped up and want some space in our tiny island.
Where are popular bungalow neighbourhoods in Singapore?
A bungalow is unique compared to other landed properties in that they can be built in all areas of Singapore, whereas other property types (such as terrace or semi-detached houses) are restricted to certain areas. Nevertheless, here are the 7 most popular bungalow areas in Singapore to help you narrow down the search.
How much does a bungalow cost?
Bungalow prices typically fall in the millions, but often vary based on many factors (e.g. how big their plot size is, which area they’re located in, what amenities they offer, etc). If you’re looking into purchasing a bungalow, you can check out recent bungalow transactions on URA to make sure you’re getting your bang for your buck.
If you want a general idea, however, here are some of the cheaper bungalows you can find online. This is merely a general approximation, so do be prepared for price fluctuations.
Data credit: PropertyGuru
If this still isn’t enough, and you’re looking for a more long-term general picture, you can check out this article where we’ve analysed the past 5 years of landed property growth for you to get an overall birds-eye view of how different districts have grown economically. You can check it out below!
What should I know when buying a bungalow in Singapore?
There are heaps of factors you must consider when looking to purchase landed property in Singapore, so don’t underestimate the process! If you’re a first time buyer and newly dipping your toes into the water of landed housing, you can check out our article that walks you through the process in the hopes of making it all less intimidating.
Below, we highlight some extra regulations and/or restrictions you should take note of before signing that lease.
Citizenship Eligibility Criteria
Only Singapore citizens can purchase and own a bungalow (this applies for all landed housing) – this is probably to prevent undue speculation from foreigners and thus a large spike in property prices.
However, if you are a Singapore Permanent Resident, however, you can apply to the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) for purchase.
Do note that applications are evaluated on a case by case basis, so there isn’t a guarantee you’ll get a bungalow after you submit an application.
Word on the street, however, is that the success rate of this application is largely determined by two factors: if you have held your Permanent Resident status for at least five years, and if you have made an exceptional economic contribution to Singapore.
This is typically due to the employment income assessable for tax in Singapore, which explains why non-Singaporeans like James Dyson and Robert Kuok’s daughter have acquired landed property.
Redeveloping Other Landed Housing into Bungalows
Outside of Good Class Bungalow areas, if you’re keen on purchasing a terrace or semi-detached house to redevelop into a bungalow house, you may be able to. However, there are a number of considerations to take into account.
According to the URA, a terrace or semi-detached house can be redeveloped into a bungalow if it follows the minimum bungalow plot size of 400 square metres (or 4305.56 square foot) and plot width of 10 metres. With regards to semi-detached houses, the previously attached house must also meet this required plot size and width so that it can be redeveloped into a bungalow as well.
As for terrace houses, the adjoining terrace must be big enough to become a corner terrace unit in the future, with a plot size of at least 200 square metres (or 2152.78 square foot) and a plot width of 8 metres.
For those who have purchased property before, remember that you have to account for Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD) taxes. Widely disparaged by second and third-home buyers (and understandably so), ABSD rates were increased from 7% to 12% after 2018 property cooling measures were amped up to full gear.
In recent news, the ABSD rates have increased to 17% after the 2021 property cooling measures went into full gear.
First-time landed homeowners, you’ll still be affected – you’ll have to pay up ABSD temporarily, and the amount will only be refunded to you once you’ve sold your previous property within a 6-month window.
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