Good Class Bungalows

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Good Class Bungalows

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When you live in one of the world’s leading economic and financial giants such as Singapore, it is not uncommon to indulge in luxury living in the finest neighborhoods in town. There are various home designs, which not only give the owner comfort and belongingness but also a social status symbol. While majority of Singaporeans reside in public housing or Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats, only a small percentage can buy landed properties like terrace and semi-detached houses. Even fewer among the elite can afford the so-called good class bungalows (GCBs).

In Singapore, GCBs are considered the cream of the crop that they would make the most expensive condominiums look mediocre, although they may not be as popular to many locals because you do not see GCBs as often in city-state areas. The best bungalows are discreetly yet impressively designated in 39 bungalow enclaves, including notable GCBs in Binjai Park, Belmont Park, and Bin Tong Park.

Bungalows existed since the early 19th Century during the colonial period of World War II. Many well-off heirs have maintained them for sentimental and ancestral reasons. Astute investors regard them as long-term residences or investments. Recently, GCBs have gained tremendous public attention with multi-million, blockbuster purchases by world-renowned celebrities, including the magnificent $20 million Binjai Rise bungalow of Jet Li and his wife, former actress Nina Chi Li.

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GCB Standards

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Similar to Western-inspired bungalows, GCBs are detached, low-rise properties with a veranda and sometimes an open porch or patio. Unlike other bungalows, though, good class bungalows in Singapore are strictly regulated by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to uphold the citizen’s property rights, protect the natural environment, and maintain the aesthetic reputation of GCB locations. Owning a GCB is both a right and a privilege for Singaporeans—a right exclusive to all Singaporean citizens and a privilege to Singaporeans who can afford it.

The URA has set the following parameters that GCB owners must adhere to:

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The land cannot be subdivided unless it is at least 2,800 sq m

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Thus, the house can only occupy up to 35% of the land, and the rest is reserved for greenery

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The low-rise and relatively small structure is ideal for elderly residents since they don’t have to climb flights of stairs and walk around so much in the house

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The surrounding trees also give more privacy, warding off the prying eyes of curious neighbors

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The URA promotes environmental protection against congested Western suburban settings like patio or cluster homes

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Price and Accessibility

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GCBs have comparably the same maintenance costs as condominiums, but they are more expensive to build because of a larger foundation and roof, not to mention that the land occupied is in prime locations of the country. Out of about 1 million houses in Singapore, only 2,500 or 0.25% of the population owns good class bungalows, translating to around 1,000 Singaporeans.

The exclusivity and prestige of owning a GCB have drawn the wealthiest Singaporeans to investing an average of $10 million or $822 per square foot (psf) for the more affordable GCBs and up to $30 to $33 million for the high-end properties. It has been reported that vintage bungalows are priced higher, but the new ones have increased in price as well due to escalated demand in recent years. Oftentimes, some GCBs are featured at auctions at a 99-year lease as government-owned plots.

Although there has been rising demand for GCBs, the URA has not leaked any plans for assigning new districts for GCBs. Consider yourself extremely lucky if you get a chance to be part of the 0.25% of the population that owns GCBs.

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