Understanding a property is the most essential and earliest step when one makes any property-related decisions. The popular residential properties in Malaysia are bungalows, terraces, apartments, and condominiums. In recent years, there appear to be more new types of properties that can confuse buyers and investors. Some examples include SoFo, penthouses, and townhouses.
In Malaysia, most of the residential properties are protected by the Housing Development Act (HDA). The purpose of HDA is to encourage property trading by preserving the interests of property buyers. Some of the services of HDA include:
- Assist and resolve disputes between potential buyers and developers
- Preserve the interests of buyers when they encounter abandoned developments
- Establish rules and regulations on buyers’ payment commencement date
The different types of properties, although vary slightly in their names and physical aspects, can possess distinct implications for buyers and investors. That being said, it can be challenging for many property buyers and investors to make the best property-related decisions, especially for first-timers and foreigners. Therefore, to facilitate the property-related decision makings of buyers and investors, this article outlines the different types of properties in Malaysia.
A bungalow is a standalone landed property which is usually surrounded by a garden and can be of any size. The prices of these homes vary by locations and sizes. The typical bungalow with 4 to 5 bedrooms costs around RM3.5 to 6 million.
A bungalow is not to be confused with a mansion. Although similar, a mansion is usually bigger than a bungalow in terms of square foot and land. Mansions typically refer to abodes that have vast parcel lands.
Some other properties similar to a bungalow are zero-lot bungalows, cluster homes, and villas. A zero lot bungalow has a smaller land than a typical bungalow. Usually, to take maximum advantage of the land, the house in a zero lot bungalow is built at the corner of the residential area.
Cluster homes are built relatively close together in groupings, which can come in the form of bungalows, semi-detached houses, and terraced houses. It is common to have shared walls and exteriors among the different units of a cluster home. Meanwhile, villas are fancier version of cluster homes, which are usually rented for tourists.
These types of properties carry residential titles and are protected by HDA.
2. Semi-Detached and Detached Houses
These houses are ideal choices for residential purposes. Semi-detached houses, also known as Semi-D, have two homes sharing a wall. The designs and layouts of the two houses are usually mirroring each other.
Detached homes do not adjoin at all and stand alone on their respective lands. While detached homes share the same structure as bungalows, it is common to classify Good Class Bungalows (GCB) as detached homes.
These homes usually possess a residential title and have protection from HDA.
Terraced houses share walls with their neighbouring homes on both sides, except for the first and last houses of the row. Depending on the houses’ width, each row can accommodate 10 to 12 houses. These houses are usually 1 to 3 storeys high.
The term “terrace” is often used interchangeably with “link” and “superlink” houses. Though not entirely wrong, these houses do vary in sizes. The smallest among the three is the terrace house, which is usually 22 ft x 75ft. The largest being superlink houses, which are typically 34 ft x 80 ft. Link houses are bigger than terrace houses but smaller than superlink houses.
Typically have residential titles, these houses enjoy protection from HDA.
Townhouse appears as a 2 to 3 storeys house, which has 2 homes on top of one another. It is divided into 2 units, which are the lower unit and the upper unit. The lower unit is usually smaller in size but has a larger ground floor compartment. On the other hand, the top unit is larger and typically has its entrance on the first floor instead of the ground floor.
Each unit is about 1.5 storeys tall. Since entering the upper unit often requires stairs, the lower unit with a ground floor entrance is especially suitable for families with elderlies. Both lower and upper units have their respective parking lots.
Like many other properties, townhouses usually possess a residential title and have protection from HDA.
5. Apartment and Flat
Apartments have multiple low-end units in high-rise developments which are over 5 storeys tall and are usually gated and guarded. Some necessary facilities of apartments are lifts, outdoor parking spaces, playgrounds, and landscaping areas.
Similar to an apartment, a flat is shorter, smaller, and has fewer facilities. Flats are usually 5 storeys tall and come with only outdoor parking spaces, without lifts, playgrounds, and landscaping areas. They are also non-gated and guarded.
Both apartment and flat come with residential titles and protection from HDA.
6. Condominium and Serviced Apartment
Not to be confused by apartments, condominiums consist of high-end units in high rises that offer a wide array of facilities. A condominium has to be built in a land with at least 4,000 square metres. Besides, condos often have high security and quality facilities, such as indoor parking bays, lifts, gyms, pools, playgrounds, and landscaping areas.
Another property that is similar to the condominium is called the “serviced apartment”, “serviced residences”, or “serviced suits”. Like a hotel, a serviced apartment offers amenities such as room services, housekeeping facilities, and bellboy services. The fully furnished units are suitable for both short-term and long-term stays, especially for individuals who require flexible living arrangements.
The two types of properties come with a residential and commercial title. However, HDA only protects these properties with a commercial title, which makes this title a popular choice among buyers and investors.
7. Penthouse and Duplexes
A penthouse is a single storey unit at the topmost floor of a residential high rise. The size of a penthouse ranges from half of the storey to the entire storey. Recent designing trends have penthouses constructed as double-storey units. There can be merely one or two penthouses on a residential high rise. Due to its scarcity, a penthouse makes one of the most expensive property units in Malaysia.
Instead of the topmost floor, duplexes or lofts have double-storey units within residential high rises. Both penthouse and duplex are luxuriously fitted, and provide a wide range of private facilities, such as private lifts, lobbies, swimming pools, and gymnasiums.
Depending on the Land Title, penthouses and duplexes can carry either a commercial title or a residential title.
8. SoHo, SoFo, and SoVo
These types of properties emerge when HDA limits developers to build a certain number of units within a 1-arc land. With a residential title, developers can produce no more than 70 units on the 1-arc land. However, developers who have commercial titles can build up to 100 units in the lands of the same size.
SoHo, short for “Small Office Home Office”, has small units that can either be offices or homes. These units possess residential titles and protection from HDA.
Small Office Flexible Office (SoFo) contains office units that have breaking points on selected walls to maximize the office space. SoFo can possess either a residential or a commercial title, or both. Meanwhile, Small Office Versatile Office (SoVo), also coined as Versatile Office Suites (Vos), is similar to SoFo but can solely carry a commercial title. Both SoFo and SoVo have no protection from HDA.
As suggested by its name, a shophouse has a residential area above a shop. While it is common for the shops to carry commercial titles, there are possibilities in which the shophouses possess residential areas.
However, the title of the shophouse is dependent entirely on the developers. Shophouses will only enjoy the protection of HDA if they carry residential titles.
10. Shop Lot
Shop lots consist of shops that are located in commercial areas. The shops usually have 1 to 3 storeys and are arranged in the form of terraces. This type of property is not to be confused with retail lots or retail units. Retail lots are the units in shopping malls that vary in sizes and storeys.
Both shop lot and retail lot possess commercial titles and are not under the protection of HDA.
11. Integrated Developments
Also termed as mixed-used developments, this type of property is made up of different components, such as commercial, residential, entertainment, and so forth. Some famous examples of integrated developments are theme parks, shopping malls, and offices.
To enjoy the protection of HDA, developers can apply residential titles for their residential compartments. Otherwise, all compartments of the integrated developments carry commercial titles and do not possess HDA’s protection.
These are the 11 types of properties that are commonly found in Malaysia. Before making any property-related decisions, all property buyers and investors need to obtain thorough understandings regarding the different properties. By identifying and mastering the marketing jargons within the property fields, buyers and investors can make fully-informed decisions.
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