Recess area: a guide to 'free' space when buying a HDB or condo

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
Recess area: a guide to 'free' space when buying a HDB or condo
In most HDB flats or private condo developments, there tends to be a handful of units with “additional free space” just outside the unit (usually the front door). The so-called free space is typically an enlarged common area that is ‘recessed’ into a space, the effect of which is the creation of a ‘mini porch’ or landing area for the unit. This area is also commonly known as a recess area.
Although considered communal and legally not belonging to the owner, recess areas do not typically receive any foot traffic unless someone is specifically going to that particular unit. Hence, many owners have no qualms about placing items like shoe cabinets, plants and bicycles as permanent or semi-permanent fixtures in these areas. Some owners even go to the extent of demarcating the space with ‘fencing’, such as the linear placement of planter boxes, as if the space is exclusively theirs.
free space floor plan area condo hdb
So, if you’re looking for a home (be it choosing a BTO, resale HDB or condo unit), pay attention to extra common space/recess area just outside the main door for some “free” square footage. If you’ve set your eyes on a particular newly launched project with a lot of units to pick from, you might want to take this ‘free space’ into consideration, although condo developers are savvy enough nowadays to minimise such spaces.

Recessed space elevates the appeal of HDB corner units

This is why corner units are especially sought after in HDB flats as well as in condos. Besides the privacy you get from not having any passers-by, you can also make use of the recess area outside your front door without fear of being complained by neighbours (unless they really harbour a grudge against you or the object you place outside is excessive or poses a danger to others).
HDB corner units are also typically slightly larger and cost more than corridor units (they sell for more, too). Because of its limited nature, corner units are usually snapped up more quickly once listed on the market. If you want to buy a corner HDB resale unit with a decent recess area, it may be advisable to enlist the services of a property agent representing you, the buyer.
That said, when it comes to choosing your home, the attributes within the unit itself should always be of the priority; little point forsaking a good view or internal layout for some extra concrete that’s not actually yours!

Recess area: the reason for buying resale HDB flats?

HDB actually sells such spaces to owners, so you can rightfully claim the space as part of your unit. It’s called the Sale of Recess Areas and only certain flats (e.g. those built before 1996) and units qualify for it. Some blocks in particular have units with recess areas that enable the owner to knock down walls and completely transform the interior of the home!
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