Finding your perfect home? These are the 10 different types of houses you should know!
Photo: Unsplash (@deborah_cortelazzi)
Most first-time homebuyers usually know about condominiums, bungalows, semi-Ds, but are those the only housing options we have?
Think of landed property with a huge backyard, a modern open concept apartment that’s cosy for single individuals or couples, or what about an exclusive home at the top of a highrise residential building with private swimming pools – what are those types of property called?
With a diverse selection of real estate properties in the market, the choice is ultimately yours to make.
From bungalows to semi-Ds, apartments to condominiums – in this guide, we’ll be exploring the different types of housing in Malaysia and what each category has to offer. Check it out now!
Bungalow / Mansion / Zero Lot Bungalow / Cluster
A bungalow is a style of house or cottage that is typically either a single story or has a second, or partial story that is built into a sloped roof. Basically, this type of property is a house built in the middle of a plot of land, where no other estate is in some way linked to it, adding to its privacy and exclusivity.
Bungalows are still one of the larger estates amongst landed properties in Malaysia. The typical built-up size for a bungalow varies from 2,470 sf – 12, 500 sf. The property is typically surrounded by a garden, parking area, and a large plot of land.
Adding to that, there are 3 other similarly built homes in Malaysia with few distinctive differences – namely the Mansion, Zero Lot Bungalow, and Cluster Homes.
Photo: Tatler Malaysia
A mansion is typically larger than a bungalow, usually built for the wealthy.
Photo: GTM Property
Zero Lot Bungalow
A Zero Lot Bungalow is similar to a bungalow except for the smaller size of its land. Distinctively, one side of the home’s structure comes up to or lies on the home’s property line as opposed to the centre of the land. As one side of the property has no room between the house and the boundary line, this, in turn, maximises the compound space on the other side.
Photo: Sunway Property
Most cluster homes are built with four houses linked together where each house has a vacant land at the side, but without the empty land at the back of the house. Cluster houses are well-regarded in the market because this design offers more windows and side doors thus better lighting and view compared with conventional terraced houses.
Photo: House Plans
Also known as homes that are in 2’s. A popular type of residential property in Malaysia, a semi-detached house is linked to another neighbouring house on one wall, and the other side of the house is usually a large garden / open space, spanning across the front and the back of the house. Their layouts are typically mirrored.
The typical built-up size range from 2,300 sf – 5,600 sf. While not as luxurious as bungalows, semi-detached houses offer a good compromise between affordability and privacy.
Terrace / Link / Superlink
This is probably the most common type of home in Malaysia. Terrace houses are basically homes that are built in rows, side-by-side to each other. Each unit shares two common walls with the neighbour on the right and on the left, in a way sandwiched in between. The typical built-up size range from 630 sf – 1,830 sf.
Storey heights can also vary from single-storey, double-storey, three-storey, and sometimes beyond three-storey. For the end-lot and corner-lot, they only have to share one common wall and have another side with an open garden all to themselves – which is why it usually comes with a higher price tag.
The only difference between terrace, link, and superlink houses is basically their sizes.
Link Houses have the same characteristics as Terrace houses but are bigger in terms of built-up, land area, and proportions.
Photo: GTM Property
Superlink comes with a width of at least 24 feet. Usually, this term refers to a more premium and expensive version of terrace houses as the width of the homes usually comes with five to six bedrooms with a typical built-up size range from 2, 083 sf – 2, 600 sf.
Townhouse / Co-Living
Photo: Sunway Property
Essentially, townhouses are two-storey high residential buildings that are divided and sold as two units – where each floor is a different home. These are two homes in one, where one of them is built on top of the other, either in full or partially. The ground-floor unit shares half of the driveway, and the upper-floor unit takes the other half of the driveway with a stairway that leads to their unit above.
As developers come up with newer ways to make townhouse living cool and modern – some townhouses now come with 3 to 4-storey so each unit is essentially two-storey. For example, one unit will cover the ground and third floor, while the other unit will be on the first and second floor.
Condominiums are multi-unit high-rise buildings with individual unit ownerships, typically posher than an apartment. The typical built-up size ranged from 2,110-4,175 sf.
They come with a bigger space, modern interiors, high security, and more facilities such as tennis courts, multi-purpose halls, gyms, BBQ pits, landscaped greenery, swimming pools, and indoor parking bays. These luxurious high-rise properties are built with trendier materials to hold a moderate density of residents in a comfortable living space.
Photo: Trivago International
Serviced Residence / Serviced Apartment
Serviced Residences, also known as Serviced Apartments / Serviced Suites are essentially high-end, fully-furnished apartments that are rented out either short or long term to those who want a flexible living arrangement, rather than being sold on a strata title basis to individual unit owners like condos. They tend to have a single owner who owns all units in the building and are often part of an integrated or mixed development.
The big difference between serviced residences and condominiums is their land status, whereby condos are considered residential properties, and serviced apartments are commercially titled as they are built on land registered for commercial use.
Therefore, this type of property usually serves as an alternative to hotels, typically geared towards expats, tourists, and business travellers with hotel-like amenities and facilities including round-the-clock security, front desk concierge, main lobby, housekeeping, and parking bays. They’re also usually attached right above, or next to, shopping malls. Serviced Residences typically range from 600-1,130 sf.
Flat / Apartment
A flat is a low-cost highrise building that does not come with added amenities, such as guarded gates, a swimming pool, and gyms. Flats tend to be lower, with an average of five-storey high, and often lack lifts. Built with more practicality in mind, they usually come with plain interiors so that they are affordable for low-income and middle-income earners.
Flats typically range from 400-1,000 sf. They are rather high density and the space of each unit is rather limited.
Photo: Malay Mail
Apartments come with more space to live in compared to flats. Apartments are suitable for middle-income earners and they usually come with gates and guards and basic facilities like playgrounds, landscaping, multilevel parking, and, sometimes, very basic sports facilities.
The typical built-up size range from 550-1,200 sf. One main difference between an apartment from a flat is that it has a management body that facilitates the upkeep of the building.
Penthouse / Duplex / Loft
Penthouses are bigger units located on the highest floor of condominiums or serviced residences. These units are often luxuriously fitted, furnished, and takes up the entire floor or even two floors of the apartment building. Some even come with cantilevered balconies, private pools, a sky garden, or given private access to the roof space above the apartment.
As penthouses are usually located at the centre of urban areas and cities, they command a premium price tag given their exclusive features and limited availability, as there is usually only a single penthouse within a single block of a high-rise building. Their built-up size typically ranged from 5,443 sf to 10,000 sf.
Duplex / Loft
Duplexes, or also known as Loft, are double-storey units combined into a large spacious house within a residential high rise.
These types of high-rise properties are more suitable for high-income earners with a growing family since they offer premium quality of living as compared to condominiums and apartments. The floors are usually connected through a staircase, while both floors could have their own separate entry points.
Studio apartments are basically one large room without any separate walls for your living room, kitchen, or bedroom area – except the bathroom. The built-up size for this type of home ranges from 400 sf to 600 sf.
With a more compact design and smallest floor size as compared to a condo / serviced residence unit, it is a more affordable option suited for bachelors, students, retired individuals, and those who spend a lot of time away from home.
SoHo / SoFo / SoVo
Photo: YTL Land
SoHo, ‘Small office, Home office’, is a unique concept whereby the apartment is fitted with a small office space. These office areas usually have a separate entrance from the living space or are designed on a different level as to the living apartments.
SoHo units can be used either for office or home, which typically comes with a living room, bedrooms, and fully fitted bathrooms – built for people who usually work from homes, such as freelancers and startup companies.
They are commercially titled but are used for residential purposes and are thus protected by the Housing Development Act (HDA). The typical built-up size of these units tends to be smaller than regular residential developments, ranging from 400 sf to 800 sf.
Photo: New Straits Times
SoFo is not to be confused with SoHo, which stands for ‘Small office, Flexible office’. Usually equipped with condominium-style amenities and facilities within their buildings, these are small units that usually come with internal partitions for owners to customise their space – such as adding an extra sofa in one room, or an extra office desk in another.
Owners have greater flexibility in terms of how they plan to design their space and adapt to different types of layouts according to their preferences. In some cases, owners are also allowed to enlarge a space by combining two adjoining units together. Their built-up size typically ranges from 400 sf to 1,300 sf.
Another different term to note in this category would be SoVo, which stands for ‘Small office, Virtual office’. Built for commercial purposes only, these small offices come fully equipped with telecommunication and infrastructural facilities, which are crucial for business start-ups to take off immediately.
It is important to note that these units are strictly for office use only, and not for residential purposes, which applies to SoFo as well – hence the commercial title. The built-up area for this type of concept ranges from 400 sf to 800 sf.
One big difference between SoHo, SoVo, and SoFo units compared to other residential developments is its commercial land title, because these developments are usually built on commercial land. Hence, they can be sold with a higher price tag having located in prime hotspots, near public transportations such as the MRTs / LRTs, or next to a shopping mall. However, commercial titled properties also come with higher utility and maintenance costs.
Photo: Townhouse Center
A shophouse is a type of single-unit property serving both as a residence and a commercial business that is two or three-storey high within a commercial area. They are usually built in a row in adjacent order, side by side along a street.
The ground floor units are often used for mercantile activities such as for F&B or retail outlets. The upper floors are often used as the shop owner’s residence or as dormitories for their staff.
So, those above are the types of housing for you to choose in Malaysia. Familiarising yourself with the different types of houses can be a useful first step in the search for your new home. Tailoring your search according to property type is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to separate the grain from the chaff.
At Properly, we provide price-matching support so you would not need to waste a lot of time checking the prices on every property you’re interested in! If you want to know how much buying a condo costs compared to an apartment, it’s just as simple as a few clicks of a button.
Are housing options still too much for you to handle? Feel free to drop us a line in the comment section below!
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