When searching for a home in Malaysia, renters can pick from a variety of housing options. One of the most common types of residential buildings is a high-rise, which is often located in prime locations across the country, typically near if not in the city centre. If you’re renting in a high-rise building, you would want to know in detail about what the different types of property entail as it can not only impact you financially but also the lifestyle you pursue.

In this article, we will take a look at different renal properties in Malaysia and its advantages - so you can decide better which one is for you!

To put it simply, high-rise residences have its own characteristics that we can summarize as follows:

But to find out more about each property individually and understand the differences between these different types - carry on reading!


While this one may seem self-evident, the term "apartment" in Malaysia might mean something entirely different. Apartments are multi-story buildings that may be found throughout Malaysia's major towns and cities. They're a long-standing favorite among homeowners and landlords, predominantly mid-sized apartment.

Apartments have greater living space than flats, which are smaller in size. Middle-income individuals may afford apartments, which come with gated entrances and guards, as well as common areas such as playgrounds, landscaping, and multi-level parking. The average property has 2-3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and an indoor parking spot.

Built-up size range: 550-1,200 sq. ft

Advantages of renting apartments:

  • Relatively secure
  • Affordable option
  • Have basic facilities like lifts and guard house


The word “flat” is commonly known as synonymous to the word “apartment”, with the former being distinguished as the English dialect used in the UK and the latter in the US. However, in the Malaysian housing context, the phrase generally refers to a lower-end residential property.

Flats are often smaller, with an average of five stories and no elevators. Their relatively basic amenities don't often include gated/guard protection, which is a trade-off for the lower price tag. Designed for low- and middle-income families, they often have simple interiors so that they would be more affordable.

Built-up size range: 400-1,000 sq. ft

Advantages of renting flats:

  • Reasonable housing solution for those looking for highly affordable homes
  • No elevator means not having to wait for an elevator (or getting stuck in it, yikes)!
  • Provides community living


The term 'condominium' is definitely your best pick if you're looking for a high-security house with fancy amenities like tennis courts, multi-purpose halls, gyms, BBQ, greenery, and swimming pools. A modest number of people may be accommodated in these high-rise residences, which are usually the fancier version of apartments.

Condominium units are typically owned by private individuals and managed by the condo community's homeowner association. This allows homeowners and landlords a lot more flexibility when it comes to upgrading the inside and outside of their property. The landlord is still the condo owner, and they are responsible for any repairs.

Built-up size range: 2,110-4,175 sq. ft

Advantages of renting condominiums:

  • Higher securities
  • Indoor parking is generally guaranteed with these units
  • Access to common areas

Serviced Residence

The land status of serviced apartments and condominiums is a significant distinction.

Condominiums are classified as residential properties, whereas serviced residences are classified as commercial properties, with the latter being handled more like a hotel rather than being sold under a strata title and are rented out either for a short or long-term basis.

Serviced homes are essentially high-end, fully furnished apartments that are most suitable for individuals looking for a more flexible living situation. Security services and hotel-like amenities such as front desk concierge, main lobby, housekeeping, parking, towels are included in the rent. So, a serviced residence is basically a homey version of a hotel.

As most serviced apartments are linked to malls, you can expect a mixed populations density of residents and non-residents around the area. This would make the place merrier - if you’re into a vibrant atmosphere.

Built-up size range: 600-1,130 sq. ft

Advantages of serviced residences:

  • Comes equipped with parking facility
  • Ideal for commercial use, eg: work from home
  • More convenient for food and grocery purchase

Studio Apartment

This property unit is a novel concept in Malaysia, however it is quickly gaining popularity due to its convenience. A studio apartment is described as a self-contained single-room dwelling with its own kitchen and bathroom. The bathroom is the only 'room' that is within and separate from the entire apartment.

If you just landed a job for the first time or are a couple looking to rent a home without having to share it with outsiders, a studio apartment is an ideal and affordable option for you. Unlike a three-bedroom apartment, you are only renting a single living space, thus, keeping the rental fees lower.

When it comes to housekeeping, it becomes significantly easier compared to the previous units mentioned as the typical size of a studio apartment is less than 1000 square feet. These units are also more likely to be located near amenities such as hypermarkets, retail malls and transit hubs such as LRT stations.

Built-up size range: 400-600 sq. ft

Advantages of renting studio apartments:

  • Small space means less upkeep
  • Rent is relatively cheaper
  • Multitasking is easier in a studio apartment (can watch a TV while cooking or from bed)


A duplex is a relatively new adaptation to deal with the problem of reducing built-up space, with the goal to use up as much space as possible, while still remaining within one unit. The concept is incredibly urban, and it is most popular in densely populated areas.

To put it simply, a duplex is a two-story apartment in a high-rise structure. This relatively new concept, often known as a loft, is becoming popular due to the shortage of double-storey landed properties in high-density locations. The benefit of these high-end properties is that they all feature communal facilities, such as a garden and a grilling area. They also have a high level of security. So, if you’re a young couple or someone who values a more spacious unit than a studio apartment, you might want to look into duplexes.

However, as you probably already know, because it's a higher-end high-rise property, the maintenance costs are substantially greater than for most other high-rise residential apartments. Therefore, in comparison to, for instance, a condominium, the rent set by the landlord is likewise much greater. Aside from that, someone with mobility issues might not be able to live in this double-storey unit since they would have to climb up and down the stairs.

Built-up size range: 300-900 sq. ft

Advantages of renting duplexes/lofts:

  • A double-storey accommodation solution within a condo unit
  • Comparatively more spacious
  • Luxurious and unique alternatives to regular condominiums

Newer names: SoHo, SoFo & SoVo

Some of the newest types of properties on the market are SoHo, SoFo, SoVo, and VOS. The commercial land title is the most significant distinction between SoHo, SoVo, and SoFo apartments and conventional residential constructions. These developments are all on commercial property. This is why the condos in SoHo, SoVo, and SoFo are in such ideal positions.

They first appeared on the market when the Housing Development Act (HDA) required developers to build just 70 units of housing on a 1-acre plot of land. A developer with a commercial title, on the other hand, may build 100 apartments on the same 1-acre plot of property. As a result, such advances arose as a result of the additional profit they provide.


SoHo, which stands for 'Small office, Home office,' is a unique idea in which the residence includes a small office area. The office areas are frequently separated from the living sections by a separate entrance or are built on a different level than the residential flats.

SoHo units are designed for those who work from home, such as freelancers and startup enterprises, and often have a living area, bedrooms, and fully equipped bathrooms. They have a commercial title but are utilized for residential purposes, thus the Housing Development Act protects them (HDA). The normal built-up size of these units, which range from 400-800 sq. ft, is smaller than that of ordinary residential buildings.


SoFo should not be confused with SoHo, which stands for "Small Office, Flexible Office." These are tiny units with internal barriers that let owners to customize their space, such as placing an additional couch in one room or an extra office desk in another. They are frequently outfitted with condominium-style amenities and services within their buildings.

Owners have more freedom in terms of how they want to arrange their space and may adapt to various layouts based on their preferences. In rare circumstances, owners are able to combine two contiguous apartments to create a larger area. Their built-up area usually varies from 400-1,300 sq. ft.


Another similar name in this category is SoVo, which stands for "Small office, Virtual office." These modest offices, which are strictly for commercial use, are fully equipped with communications and infrastructural capabilities, which are critical for company start-ups to get off the ground quickly.

Similar to SoFo, these units have the commercial title as they are solely for office use. And just like SoHo and Sofo, the built-up space of these units range from 400-800 sq. ft.

The commercial land title distinguishes SoHo, SoVo, and SoFo apartments from other residential projects, as these developments are often built on commercial land. As a result, they can be sold for a greater price if they are near public transit, such as MRTs or LRTs, or close to a retail centre. Commercial properties, on the other hand, have greater utilities and maintenance expenditures.

So, which one is for you?

Now that you have taken a look at what are the most common and popular high-rise residences are, you can now decide which one is best suited for you in terms of your lifestyle and financial flexibility. Different people have different preferences; maybe you’re into the homey hotel atmosphere as offered by serviced residences, or you look forward to living in a close-knit community like a flat would offer, or you just don’t like having to clean up a big space, hence, a studio would suffice for you.

Whichever it is for you, Instahome has all the options ready for you. What’s more? You don’t have to physically visit any of these homes to see if it passes the ‘vibe check’. That’s because Instahome provides you with 360 virtual tours for you to digitally step into these homes and take a look around. Want to try it out?