Architecture & Real Estate | June 5, 2022 6:00 am

What Makes For Desirable Real Estate in Singapore? Land.

Inside the world of "good class bungalows"

Singapore
A view of Singapore at night.
Mike Enerio/Unsplash

There’s a bit of investment advice that’s often attributed to Mark Twain, and it’s relatively straightforward: “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” Unless he had access to a time machine, Twain was probably not thinking of Singapore in the year 2022 when he made his comments. Nonetheless, the country’s real estate market makes for an almost perfect illustration of the adage in question.

Singapore is, you’ll remember, one of the most densely populated countries in the world. A 2011 BBC report noted that it’s second only to Monaco in terms of crowded city-states — and when you have 5.3 million people living in a finite amount of space, there are bound to be some effects on urban planning and real estate.

A recent Insider article describes the phenomenon of “good class bungalows” — an expression used to describe the most in-demand properties in the country. As the article describes, living in such a densely populated city means that very few people live on homes with land surrounding it — and thus, having land is a status symbol unto itself.

The article quotes Steve Tay of Sotheby’s International Realty on the appeal of good class bungalows. “For the ultra-high-net-worth, it is a milestone to achieve,” Tay said. Tay went on to note that the land on which these homes are situated rarely goes above 30,000 square feet.

One that’s currently on the market for over $64 million includes eight bedrooms and 20 bathrooms — all situated on a sprawling 38,000 square foot estate. Based on the Insider article, that’s something of a rarity. Keep in mind that an acre translates to 43,560 square feet — meaning that a sprawling estate in Singapore and a sprawling estate in, say, California could look very different.