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Different house types in Malaysia


Whether as an investment or for own use, there are different types of properties and houses in Malaysia for buyers to choose from. We detail the differences between terrace homes, bungalows, condominiums, studio apartments and more.

Property prices differ depending on the size, type, and location. Landed property, especially in the Klang Valley, costs more than units in a high-rise development. Traditionally, landed property in Malaysia usually comes with its individual (freehold or leasehold) title. However, due to the growing demand for gated-and-guarded communities, many new developments come with strata titles. This means that the common areas and facilities within the development are cared for by the Joint Management Body (JMB) or the Management Corporation (MC) and residents have to pay a monthly maintenance charge.

Not just that, it is also important to know and to understand the Housing Development Act (HDA), as well as the differences between a residential and a commercial title. Property buyers and owners need to be aware of the law that can protect their legal rights and interest. This is because HDA protects the buyers’ interest from future disputes between the developer and the property purchaser. On top of that, HDA will also fight on behalf of residents when the property is abandoned and help resolve conflicts between developers and buyers.

We take a look at the different types of properties and houses in Malaysia.

1. Bungalow

© Katarzyna Białasiewicz/ 123RF

Bungalows are the creams of the crop when it comes to landed property. These property types are surrounded by land without an adjacent unit. They are standalone properties that offer the luxury of privacy. Staying in a bungalow is usually a status symbol for well-to-do owners, as these properties are not cheap. As the land area for bungalows is usually relatively spacious, owners can also choose to customise their houses according to their design preferences.

The typical built-up size for a bungalow varies from 2,000 sq ft – 12,500 sq ft. Nevertheless, the built-up size can stretch, making it one of the most extensive residential options.

  • The bungalow prices vary greatly depending on location and land area. Many townships offer ready-built bungalow units in places like Country Heights in Kajang and Tropicana in Petaling Jaya.
  • You will find that most of the bungalows are unique as each is designed and built from scratch by owners on land sold by the developers.
  • A garden, parking area, and a large plot of land surround the property.

While on the higher spectrum of the price tag, bungalows are popular property types for sale. Between January 2022 and August 2022, 2,344 bungalows were sold, according to The most popular area for bungalows for sale within the time frame was Bandar Tasik Senangin in Lenggeng, Negeri Sembilan, at 20 transactions. This was followed by bungalows in Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur and bungalows in Kampung Raja, Terengganu, where 12 bungalows exchanged hands in both areas.

If you’re looking to get your own bungalow, check out the available bungalows for sale in Kuala Lumpur on iProperty.

2. Semi-D house / Detached house

© Victor Woo |

Semi-Detached Houses

Semi-detached houses, more commonly known as Semi-Ds, are identical houses that share a common wall with their neighbour. Semi-detached homes are only one step down the rank from bungalows in terms of status, luxury, and size. While they share a common wall with their neighbour, these homes also typically have large land areas and gardens.

Semi-detached properties are certainly an all-time favourite for property buyers. According to brickz. my, only between January 2022 and August 2022, a total of 3,739 semi-detached houses exchanged hands in Malaysia. The most popular area for semi-detached houses in the time frame was Batu Rakit in Terengganu, where 25 were sold. Following that were the semi-detached houses in Setia Eco Park, Shah Alam, where there were 19 transactions. Following closely at 18 transactions within the time frame is the housing area of Bandar Puteri Jaya Seksyen 3 in Sungai Petani, Kedah.

There are many brand new as well as subsale semi-detached houses for sale in Malaysia. If you’re in the market for one, check out all the available semi-detached houses for sale. To read up more on this property type, check out What is a Semi-D house and should you buy one?

Detached Houses

Detached houses are a hybrid of semi-detached homes and bungalows. Similar to semi-detached homes, they are identical to their neighbours. But detached houses don’t share a common wall with its neighbour. In this respect, they are similar to a bungalow. But unlike a bungalow which is encircled by a garden, detached houses are only surrounded by gardens on three sides of the house. On the side they share with their neighbour is usually the house’s driveway.

Aside from these slight differences, all the other characteristics of a detached home are similar to semi-detached houses:

  • The typical built-up size ranged from 2,300 sq ft – 5,600 sq ft
  • Semi-D houses have a strip of open land on one side, front and back. While not as luxurious or glamorous as a bungalow, the Semi-Ds still offer a degree of privacy and space.
  • This property type is protected by HDA due to its residential title.

3. Terrace house / Link / Superlink 

Beyond Iskandar: 5 Next Boom Towns in Johor Terrace Homes
© 123rf

Terrace, Link and Superlink houses are units built side by side, thus sharing walls with units on both sides. They are residential title developments and are Hence protected under the HDA. The corner lots of terrace houses usually have a bigger land area with open land on the side, giving it the feel of a semi-detached unit.

Terrace houses are among some of the most popular types of property in Malaysia, with a recorded 19,448 units sold between January 2022 to August 2022, according to brickz. my. The housing areas of Taman Bukit Indah and Taman Kota Masai in Johor recorded the highest number of transactions at 121 transactions and 97 transactions, respectively. For the Klang Valley, Bukit Sentosa recorded the highest number of 81 transactions within the timeframe.

Terrace house

  • A terrace house has the smallest built-up size compared to the Link and Superlink houses.
  • The typical built-up size ranged from 750 sq ft – 1,600 sq ft.
  • Terrace houses are ideal for first-time homebuyers or those looking to upgrade from highrise houses to landed ones, as they often come with a lower price tag.
  • Those looking to rent out their homes should also consider terrace houses, as tenants prefer a decent rental rate and easier property maintenance.

Link House

  • Link houses are bigger than terrace houses in terms of built-up, land area and proportions.

Superlink house

  • The Superlink house has the biggest built-up size.
  • It is also the fanciest and the most expensive version of a terrace house.
  • The unit usually comes with five to six bedrooms.
  • The typical built-up size ranged from 2 083 sq ft – 2 600 sq ft.

Check out all the available terrace and link houses for sale in Kuala Lumpur.

4. Townhouse

© Sime Darby

Townhouses typically consist of two houses staggered within one-two- or three-storey buildings, looking like terrace houses from the outside. They are essentially ultra-upmarket terrace houses.

To find out everything there is to know about a townhouse, including its pros, cons, layouts, and typical designs, read our article about townhouses. But for a short version, here is a summary of a typical townhouse below:

  • The typical size ranged from 560 sq ft – 7 000 sq ft.
  • Some units share the same entrance and porch area, while some have separate entrances at the front, back or side by side.
  • Layouts may also vary.
  • Some two-storey units are separated so that each owner has one level of space, while three-storey units could be partitioned so that each owner owns a floor and a half each.
  • In more mature areas like Bangsar or Sri Hartamas, you can find townhouses within a regular landed residential area. In the newer developments, townhouses are built within a gated and guarded community with landscaping and amenities like a clubhouse.
  • These units are ideal for families who want to live together, such as young families and their parents, while still having their own private spaces. The main disadvantage of townhouses is that you might end up with a neighbour you do not like.
  • This property type is protected by HDA due to its residential title.

If you’re looking to rent a townhouse, look through all our available townhouses for rent!

5. Penthouse

© Christian Nitz / 123RF

Penthouses are bigger units located on the top floor of condominiums or serviced residences. These units are often dubbed as a bungalow in the sky due to their spacy built-up sizes. Usually, it takes up the entire floor (or even two floors) of the building.

  • The typical built-up size ranged from 1,000 sq ft and 5,000 sq ft.
  • These units offer maximum luxury and space with breathtaking views – together with breathtaking prices due to the floor space.
  • Some units would even have their private swimming pools and private lift lobbies.
  • Some of the most expensive penthouses in Klang Valley is Tijani in Bukit Tunku and Pavillion Damansara Heights.

6. Condominium / Serviced Residence

© Liyao Xie/ gettyimages

These home units are built within a high-rise building and all residents share the common areas like the lobby and swimming pool.  Each unit typically comes with a designated parking lot, with options to buy or rent more. Not just that, the property will be protected by the HDA if it falls under the residential title.


Condominiums are high-rise strata titled residential developments. All residents share common areas like the lobby and swimming pool. Each unit typically comes with its designated parking lot; depending on the developer, the bigger units may get more than one parking lot.

Should the residents wish to get additional parking spots apart from the ones that come with their unit, they can buy or rent more. A major plus side of living in a condominium is that it is protected under the housing development act (HDA) as it falls under the residential title.

  • The typical size ranges from  650 sq ft – 1,500 sq ft.
  • The condominium unit layout varies from three to four bedrooms.
  • This type of house is popular among homebuyers because of the round-the-clock security and amenities like a swimming pool, gymnasium, children’s playground, and event spaces.
  • Residents are required to pay monthly maintenance fees, service charges and sinking funds.
  • Taller buildings may offer a better view, but it also means that the property has a higher density (more units and occupants).
  • Residents can apply for a strata title.
  • Check out the top condominiums for sale in Kuala Lumpur

Condominiums are, in fact, some of the most popular types of property for sale in the Klang Valley. According to, 2,953 condominium units exchanged hands between January 2022 to August 2022. The top-selling condominium units within the timeframe were Venice Hill in Cheras at 40 transactions, Seni Mont Kiara in Mont Kiara at 21 transactions, and Mutiara Heights in Kajang at 20 transactions.

Serviced residence

Serviced residences are higher-end versions of condominiums. The residents also share common areas, and the units also come with parking lots and the protection of HDA. But what makes serviced residences different is the services that they come with.

Living in a serviced residence is like living in a hotel. There is a proper reception area with a receptionist, just like a hotel, and there are room services such as ordering meals and cleaning the room. Some service apartments also come with bellboys, depending on the development. The only slack part about living in a serviced apartment is that their maintenance fees are usually much higher due to the number of personalised services they provide.

  • While condominiums are usually residential titles, serviced residences are upscale commercial units managed like hotels.
  • Residents typically pay higher utility bills, rent, and maintenance fees since they are usually sited on commercial title land — unless the developer successfully applies for residential utility rates
  • These residential units are essentially fancier compared to condominiums.
  • The units are fully furnished and suitable for short- and long-term rental.
  • The rental fee covers all facilities and amenities like housekeeping, the main lobby, the front desk concierge and security.
  • Serviced residences are not eligible for Syabas water tariff migration programme.
  • Some serviced residences are attached to malls.
  • Check out the top serviced residence for sale in Kuala Lumpur

If you’re unsure which is a better fit for you, a condominium or serviced apartment, read our article on condominiums versus serviced apartments in Malaysia. But in the meantime, here are some bite-sized info on both types of development.

7. Studio apartments / Duplex condos

© alekskend |123rf

These units are suitable for young individuals who enjoy complete privacy. Their proximity to the city and major transportation links makes them ideal for regular commuters. Due to their layouts, these properties are more suitable for single individuals or couples rather than families.

Studio apartments

  • It is a single-room residential unit.
  • The bedroom, kitchen and living room are spread over a single floor.
  • The design is usually an open layout.
  • These residential properties are often located in a central location.

There is currently a good number of new studio apartments up for rent. Check out our listings for some of the best studio apartments in Klang Valley for rent.

Duplex condos

  • A duplex condo also known as a Loft is a double-storey home within a single high-rise unit. Duplexes typically contain high ceilings that extend to the upper floor, which is connected via stairs within the unit itself.
  • The single bedroom will be on the second floor and typically the upper floor is half the size of the lower floor.
  • A duplex’s typical size ranges from 450 sq ft to 950 sq ft.

Take a look at the Top duplex condos to rent in KL and Selangor.

8. Apartment / Flat

© 123RF

Apartments often referred to as flats in Malaysia, are considered the more affordable versions of condominiums and serviced apartments. They are high-rise residential developments but are also higher in density and have fewer facilities.

Apartments or flats usually come with open-air parking lots, a playground, and some shops within the apartment grounds, such as a launderette and mini-mart. Sizes of the units are also smaller at typically 800 sq ft — but they generally all have three bedrooms and two bathrooms.


  • Apartments are usually high rises and come with elevators.
  • There are basic facilities like parking spaces and 24-hour security.
  • Apartments make for good starter homes because of their affordable selling prices. The maintenance fees and service charges are also lower than that of condominiums.
  • Apartments or along the MRT stations are good options for the rental market.
  • The typical build-up size ranged from 550 sq ft – 1,200 sq ft.


  • Flats have straightforward designs and often do not have balconies.
  • Flats are often only four to five storeys tall and do not come with elevators. For this reason, they are occasionally referred to as walk-up apartments
  • Car parks in flats are usually not designated and often insufficient, resulting in cars double-parked within the compound and along surrounding roads.
  • Most government-owned flats in Malaysia are meant for the lower-income group. Buyers must meet specific requirements, usually a monthly household income of less than RM 2,500, if they want to apply to purchase the flats.
  • The People’s Housing Project (PPR, or Program Perumahan Rakyat), under the purview of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, costs between RM30,000 and RM35,000.
  • These units measure around 700 sq ft and typically consist of three-bedroom homes.

There are many flats in unique locations within the Klang Valley. If you’re looking to rent a flat, check out the many flats for rent on iProperty.

9. SoHo / SoVo / SoFo

© Katarzyna Białasiewicz/ 123RF

These high-rise properties integrate offices into residential homes. Of the three property types, SoHo is the only one with a residential title. This means that SoHo developments are protected under the HDA. These properties also have residential utility rates.

SoVos and SoFos are commercial titled developments and are, therefore, not protected under the HDA. Tenants usually also pay commercial tariff utility rates unless the developer successfully applies for residential rates. Commercial tariff rates for utility bills are typically 30% higher than residential properties.

Read the complete guide to the differences between SoHo, SoVo, and SoFo for a clear idea of the differences between these three property types.


  • SoHo or Small office Home office is a one- or two-room unit within a strata building.
  • It can be used as a home, an office or both.
  • Most SoHo also has typical condominium facilities like swimming pools and gyms.
  • The units comprise a living room, bedroom, and a fully-fitted bathroom.
  • The typical built-up size ranged from 500 sq ft – 1 200 sq ft.
  • SoHo is protected by the HDA as it fits the definition of a housing accommodation.
  • The owners are also entitled to the RPGT exemption.


  • SoVo stands for Small office Versatile office
  • SoVo units are usually equipped with business facilities.
  • The units are usually favoured by start-up companies.
  • SoVo’s layout is similar to SoFo, but it can only be used for commercial purposes.
  • It falls under the commercial title and is not protected by the HDA jurisdiction.
  • The size is ranged from 400 sq ft – 800 sq ft.


  • SoFo stands for Small office Flexible office.
  • The units offer flexibility as the layout does not have partitions.
  • The owners or tenants can modify the units according to their preferences.
  • It falls under the commercial title and is not protected by the HDA jurisdiction.

Many newly completed SoHo units for rent in the Klang Valley boast amazing locations and beautiful interior designs. Check out the SoHo units for rent in Kuala Lumpur.

10. Mixed Development or Integrated Developments

© Chee Gin Tan/ gettyimages

A mixed development integrates residential and commercial purposes under one roof. The building consists of residential units, a business area, and office spaces.

  • The typical mix places residential units on the upper levels and retail or offices at lower and street levels.
  • Some mixed developments are connected to an underground train station or via a walkway.
  • This concept has already mushroomed across the Klang Valley and Selangor area. KL Gateway and Solaris Dutamas are some examples of mixed development.
  • The mixed development often falls under the commercial title. Thus, it is beyond the HDA jurisdiction.

11. Shophouse

Shophouses are single units of two- or three-storey shops within a commercial area. The ground floor units are often used as restaurants, banks or retail outlets. The upper floors are sometimes used as residential homes, usually by the owners of the businesses downstairs or as dormitories for their workers. Shophouses in busy areas like Bangsar or SS2 in Petaling Jaya can command higher rents. This property usually carries a commercial title and is not protected by the HDA jurisdiction. Are you looking for a shophouse to rent? Check out some of the available shops for rent.

With so many options to choose from, many factors come into play when deciding the type of property to buy. Location and size will be the main concerns if it is for your own stay. If it is for rental, the primary consideration would be the rental returns. To help you get started, use’s search function to browse available properties based on your preferred location, size and price range.

Disclaimer: The information is provided for general information only. Malaysia Sdn Bhd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information, including but not limited to any representation or warranty as to the fitness for any particular purpose of the information to the fullest extent permitted by law. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate, reliable, and complete as of the time of writing, the information provided in this article should not be relied upon to make any financial, investment, real estate or legal decisions. Additionally, the information should not substitute advice from a trained professional who can take into account your personal facts and circumstances, and we accept no liability if you use the information to form decisions.

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