Difference between Flat, Apartments and Condominiums

by | i-Stories, Property Trend, Rental Trend

There are many types of properties you can find here in Malaysia. If you’re searching for a property, you should understand the various properties before making any big decisions in purchasing them. It can be difficult for home buyers and investors to decide between all the different properties, some varying in names and physical aspects.

To facilitate and help you make better property-related decisions, let’s talk about the differences between a flat, apartments and condominiums in Malaysia. We bet some of you thought a flat was the same as apartments, but let’s dive deeper to understand how it’s not!

Difference between Flats, Apartments and Condominiums

1. Use of Terms

Use of Terms

The different terms used in Malaysia for our properties can vary from how other places and countries name theirs. Hence, let’s begin by getting to the bottom of the different property terms used in Malaysia.

A flat is a term which usually relates to public housing, and also affordable housing at a lower price range. Flats are an essential part of Malaysia’s property ecosystem as there is a constant push for affordable houses in the national property marketplace.

Apartments, however, is a term that refers to middle-value range properties. Although apartments are accessible to people from many income groups, it lacks comprehensive facilities compared to a condominium. A building called “serviced apartment” is like a hotel providing many amenities and facilities, making it suitable for short-term and long-term stays. Individuals who require flexible living arrangement might benefit from this property.

Condominiums are widely seen as luxurious properties because of its private residential living space. Besides, its facilities and characteristics are more appealing than an apartment. Condominiums share non-exclusive common areas that are in the condo management’s control. Unlike an apartment, different individuals own the dwelling units in a condo, rather than a single person or corporation.

2. Land Status

Property Status

Flats are low-end residential properties that are often part of local affordable housing quotas. It is not charged with commercial rates for utilities, unlike an apartment.

Apartments or serviced apartments are built on land registered for commercial use. A single owner or corporation that holds all the building units owns the residence, which usually operates like a hotel. As serviced apartments sit on commercial land, the owners must fork out higher costs for rent, utility bills and maintenance fee.

Condominiums, however, are registered as a private residential area, with its individual units owned by different people or owners. The utility charges will not be as high as commercial rates of apartments, as condos have residential rates.

3. Facilities


Flats tend to have limited facilities compared to apartments and condominiums. As flats are more towards the economic end of Malaysia’s property market, the units are more accessible to those from the lower or middle-income groups.

Apartments range in its facilities depending on its location. In less competitive areas in Malaysia, these properties could have limited facilities than apartments located in lucrative regions. Although apartments’ facilities are slightly similar to that of a condominium, it may not be as sophisticated compared to a condo. However, that is not the case with serviced apartments too.

Condominiums in Malaysia have extensive facilities, recreational areas and multi-tier security, amongst other amenities offered. The luxury and privacy associated with it define the condos here. Hence, the facilities cater to their residence’s needs, preference and lifestyle staying in the property.

4. Privacy and Security

Privacy and Security

Flats may have little to no security measure, unlike the apartments and condominiums. For flats, there may be guardhouses with security guards monitoring the area. Other than that, flats do not have multi-tier security as it is more on the economic range in the market.

Apartments, however, provide essential and rudimentary security measures, and they are usually gated or guarded. Also, most serviced apartments may have shopping lots or retail shops located at the bottom of the development. Hence, it is important to bear in mind the privacy and security of staying at the property, with different visitors going across the area. However, it is convenient as well to have all your needs met at a short distance away.

Condominiums have more stringent security measures at the property. As individuals or families own the building units with multiple units, the higher price tag includes a more comprehensive set of security measures such as a 24-hour surveillance safeguard for its residents.

5. Cost


Flats offer affordable housing at a lower price range. It is more economical, and the upper price limit is usually much lower than for apartment type properties. You can find a minimal number of expensive flats that reach prices of around RM1 mil. Plus, since a flat doesn’t have as many facilities as apartments and condos, the maintenance and utility fees tend to be lower.

Apartments vary in its cost, considering where it is situated. You can find apartments with an offer price of less than RM100,000 in less competitive areas in Malaysia. In comparison, other apartments that are located in prominent areas can have a relatively affordable opening price of less than RM400,000. The cost of the maintenance fee, utility charges and tax rates are also higher than that of flats.

Condominiums make up a large share of new launch properties in Malaysia’s urban centres. While a few key factors influence the condominium prices, RM400,000 is arguably an affordable baseline price for a luxury condominium. Just like the apartment, the starting prices for a condo can be much higher, especially in locations that are in close proximity to hotspot areas.

Over to you!

And that concludes some of the differences between a flat, apartments and condominiums here in Malaysia. We hoped this article had shed light on some doubts in your property-related decisions. It is vital for home-buyers and investors alike to understand the different properties here before coming to a fully-informed decision.

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