When buying an HDB flat, there are myriad factors to consider beyond the neighbourhood. Oftentimes people would tell you to go for the high-floor corner units. But what if the unit that’s calling out to you is a corridor unit that sits right smack in the middle of the HDB block?
We take a look at the pros and cons of living in a corridor unit, and why you should look past the negative opinions that people usually have of them to see if they are the right fit for you.
HDB corridor unit advantages
Interior and exterior layout
Image credit: InDesignLiveAsia
Corridor units tend to have a rectangular layout, which makes them easier to plan for reno-wise. And just because the unit is located along a corridor does not mean that you will always have severe privacy issues; some HDB blocks are designed in a way that there might be only 2 or 3 corridor units on either side of the lift lobby.
This means that you choose wisely, you’re likely to only have one family walking past your corridor unit every day.
Additionally, depending on the layout of your HDB corridor, you’d also have more space outside your unit to nurture a few plants or place a shoe rack, as compared to a corner unit.
Image credit: Propertyguru
The lower prices of corridor units also make them desirable for homeseekers on a budget. This might not always translate into lower quantums compared to its peers, but when you actually compare it by price per square foot, you’d realise that you’re getting a good deal.
HDB corridor unit disadvantages
A typical HDB corridor
Image credit: @_nguan_
One of the most obvious drawbacks to living in a corridor unit is the sheer amount of noise that will travel into your apartment, be it from the foot traffic coming from your neighbours or the hubbub of your neighbourhood at rush hour.
It can be unpleasant not only to have to deal with people leaving and returning from work or school, but also to hear all the conversations and quarrels that couples or families tend to have as they walk to their door.
HDB staircases, another source of foot traffic, especially when you live on a low floor.
Image credit: @allsgstuff
It gets doubly worse if you’re located beside a staircase or even the lift lobby, since you’ll also be subject to the lift dings and the din of footsteps coming from the stairwell.
Less privacy as opening windows will open you to onlookers
If you’re able to hear your neighbours chatting or quarrelling, that means that they’re most probably able to hear your conversations as well. Worse still, natural curiosity will drive passers-by to look in.
And if you end up having the misfortune of living with intrusive neighbours, this becomes a problem as you’ll always have to keep those corridor-facing windows closed.
Be it personal moments with your family, what you’re watching on TV or even changing your clothes, you’re sadly going to have to contend with people hearing about it or even looking in. If anything, bedrooms in corridor units are more than likely to face the corridor, allowing bystanders a view into what is usually the most intimate space in a home.
Image credit: 99nanotintspecialist
Shutting the windows and using blinds are some ways that residents tend to use, but cutting your home off from what might be your only source of natural light can make your living space gloomy and depressing.
Neighbours’ personal belongings obstructing the corridor
Despite regulations that govern how HDB corridors are used, people sometimes try their luck by expanding their living space into the common area. That includes people placing bulky furniture by the corridor to big leaf plants and even laundry racks.
A particularly severe example of what neighbours can do to obstruct the corridor.
Image credit: u/justmewayne
At best you’d end up having to either consult with your local town council and create friction with your neighbour, or at worst you’d have to contend with the knowledge that if there ever was a fire or some other emergency, they will all be obstacles preventing you from making it out alive.
Potentially higher rate of crime
CCTV footage of a bike being stolen at a HDB corridor.
Image credit: Singapore Uncensored
Arguably one of the biggest issues with living in a corridor unit is that you are more likely to be a victim of criminal activities. With the increased visibility into your home spaces, would-be criminals can scout out and identify valuables as well as when you or your loved ones are at home.
This issue is arguably more severe on the lower floors, as thieves can use the staircase to make their escape, instead of lugging their ill-gotten goods into the CCTV-equipped lifts.
Having the windows facing the corridor also opens you up to people trying to break in or at least attempt to take what is within reach.
Solutions to make corridor units more liveable
Opt for higher floor corridor units
Image credit: u/ewbugs
One of the solutions to avoid the noise issue would be to live on a higher floor. It definitely will not solve most of your problems, but at the very least, you’re less likely to have neighbours stomping up and down the staircase. Similarly, choosing blocks that have fewer units on a floor will also help with your privacy issues.
Window treatments & privacy blinds
Image credit: 99nanotintspecialist
There are a wide range of solutions today that can help secure your windows and create privacy. Keeping your grills and window panes shut can help deter most thefts, but you can take it a step further and have tempered glass or even glass with a wire mesh inside.
These tempered and wired glass help to prevent would-be intruders from having access to your home even when the glass is shattered. As for privacy, specialised films exist that can tint your windows from the outside whilst still letting light in. This lets you not only have your privacy but also avoid making your room look depressing.
You can also afford to look into using blinds to achieve the same effect, such as wabi sabi blinds and combi blinds, where you can increase privacy for your home without sacrificing light.
Should you buy an HDB corridor unit?
At the end of the day, there are a lot of compromises with choosing to live in a corridor unit, which translates into their relative availability in the market and potentially lower prices.
But if you want their admittedly attractive layouts and are willing to pay a bit more for privacy and security features, then these apartments will still be just as livable as any other home.
Read more articles here:
- 10 Housing Terms Explained In Plain English
- Why Do Some HDB Blocks Have VIP Lobbies?
- Different Types Of HDB Flats In Singapore
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