This is the most popular type of expatriate housing in Singapore, as well as the most common. Most complexes include a swimming pool and 24 hour security, and often a large range of facilities: tennis and squash courts, gyms, children’s playgrounds, BBQ areas, and saunas.

The majority of apartments in Singapore are leased partially furnished which in Singapore refers to light fixtures, curtains, kitchen cabinets, wardrobes and large appliances.

The sizes of the units can vary from the smaller (and usually more modern) 900 square feet to very large 4000 square feet, to massive penthouses.


This is a free standing dwelling or house which can be single or multi-storied. There are many different influences on the styles of the housing in Singapore, so a bungalow can range from colonial to Balinese to ultra-modern.

Given the scarcity of land in Singapore, a bungalow with a large garden and a pool is expensive.


Semi-Detached Houses

Often called “Semi-Ds”, Semi-Detached housing consists of pairs of houses built side by side sharing a common wall and usually in such a way that each house’s layout is a mirror image of its twin.

Semi-Ds are usually built on a small piece of land, but can be quite spacious.

Terraced Houses

This is a style of housing where a row of identical or mirror-image houses share side walls (also referred to as a rowhouse, or townhouse).

The first and last of these houses is called an end terrace.

Cluster Houses

Cluster Houses are generally multi-leve terraced, linked or detached homes, clustered around a central courtyard, or sometimes a swimming pool. 

Cluster housing is very popular with families in Singapore, benefiting from the social aspect of the arrangement (very safe and great for children), but without the volume of homes and inhabitants of many condos.


Black & White Houses

A black and white bungalow is a white-painted bungalow with black trim of a style once commonly used to house English and colonial officers in Singapore.

Today these magnificent houses are leased out for residential and commercial purposes from the Singapore Government (although a few are privately owned) and can range in price from Singapore Dollars S$2,000 to Singapore Dollars S$30,000. There are many pockets of these homes dotted around the island.

Shophouse or Peranakan Townhouse

A shophouse is a type of building found in Singapore, predominently built to house Chinese merchants, craftsmen, and their families. Constructed during the colonial era, they are primarily two to three stories high. These served as both shop and house for their inhabitants: the shops being on the ground floor, with living quarters above. Most shophouses were built in the early 20th Century.

Shophouses are located throughout the island, with major pockets in the city centre, Chinatown, and Little India. Immediately following independence, the shophouses became dilapidated, but in the past twenty years they have undergone a revival. Many have been restored and renovated to private dwellings, upscale boutiques, hotels, and restaurants.