If you've been to a showflat, you probably noticed that developers or agents sometimes emphasize unit/development's facing direction as one of the key traits. But why? The answer's simple: the house facing direction will determine how much sun your apartment will get.
There's a reason why many homeowners feel it's a must to Google "sun direction Singapore" or "best facing for house" when they research buying a house.
So, unless you want to feel like a baked potato in your own home, the orientation of your home plays a vital role in keeping your home cool and ventilated, which helps to trim your energy bills as well.
What You Need to Know about Singapore's Weather
Singapore is a hot and humid country; it is situated a degree from the equator and experiences high uniform temperatures coupled with abundant rainfall, so much so that some areas are prone to flooding (remember the Aug 2021 flood at the Tampines-Pasir Ris junction?) These factors add to its high humidity quotient almost all year round.
The 2 monsoon seasons – the humid north-east monsoon from December to March, and the relatively dry south-west monsoon from June to September – also impact the wind speeds in mitigating the tropical heat.
Apart from that, Singapore is also heating up twice as fast as the world thanks to a combination of global warming and the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect – caused by the heat generated by human activities as well as the heat trapped in urban facilities such as buildings and roads.
Sun Direction Singapore: Not the Same Throughout the Year
Most people know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. However, contrary to popular belief, the sun's trajectory actually varies according to the different parts of the year.
From March to September, the afternoon sun is actually in the north-west direction, whilst the afternoon sun is mainly in the south-west direction from September to March. As such, people in Singapore generally avoid buying west-facing units because that's where the sun will be during large parts of the day.
Improving Indoor Ventilation: Wind Direction Matters too
Take a look at the hourly variation of surface wind speed and direction in Singapore. Source: Meteorological Service Singapore
But apart from the sun's trajectory, the wind's current is another important factor because it affects your home's natural ventilation and promotes better airflow.
From April to October, the wind's direction is from south to north, and north to south from November to March. So that means if you live in a north south facing house, you'll likely get good ventilation throughout the year.
Sun Direction Singapore: What Is the Best House Facing Direction in Singapore?
Again, the sun direction in Singapore and which way the wind blows will affect how much light and heat you'll receive in your home. Some people prefer low levels of sunlight, while others prefer much direct sunlight. Depending on your preference, pick the type of house you want.
How the sun's path and the direction of the wind affects your home's direction (this has been taken from homebaseperth.com.au and modified slightly to explain the sun’s rays on a house facing)
Here's a summary of what you can expect, depending on your house's orientation:
Which direction the house faces
Wind and sun direction Singapore: what amount of wind and sun do you get
North south facing house
Well ventilated and cool all year round, no direct sun during the day
South east facing house
Rooms facing east gets some morning sun, otherwise, house does not get afternoon sun unless your windows are west-facing
North west facing house
Can be quite hot from March to September as south west facing windows will get a lot of afternoon sun, while north west facing windows will get partial sun
South west facing house
During monsoon season from October to February, it is less humid and heat doesn’t get trapped; afternoon sun streams in south west facing windows
East west facing house
Hot sun all year round
1. North South Facing House: Well Ventilated and Cool All Year Round
Because of the directions of both the sun and wind, north-south facing homes are the most desired house facing direction in Singapore.
A north-south facing home not only avoids the direct sun during the day, but it also benefits from the wind's current. These two factors combine to make a north south facing house well ventilated and cool all year round.
If you stay on a high floor which is unblocked by other buildings, all the better!
2. South East Facing House: Enjoy Nice Morning Sun
Aside from living in a north south facing house, a south east facing house is also ideal for Singapore's weather.
House rooms or windows facing the east enjoy some nice morning sun from the months of September till March, while the south of the house will have little or no sun. If you're the kind who likes a bit of the bright morning sun, then a south east facing house will suit you.
Best yet, windows in a south east facing house are well-protected from the harsh afternoon sun, unless your rooms or windows are west-facing.
3. North West Facing House: Hot Afternoon Sun for Half of the Year
Owning a north west facing house is a bit of a mixed bag. From March till September, most of the windows and rooms facing the north west will get partial afternoon sun, whereas the south west facing areas will receive the afternoon sun from the months of September till March.
This can make for some uncomfortable living conditions, heating floors, furniture and trapping the sun’s intense rays in the concrete walls of the home. However, high buildings or tall trees facing along the west side can block or reduce the intensity of the sun and provide some shade for your home.
Tip: While choosing a north-west facing unit, consider the wind and the sun! Remember, in Singapore, ventilation is a must!
4. South West Facing House: Good During the Monsoon Season
From September to March, the afternoon sun is in its south-west direction in Singapore. Despite this, a southwest facing house could become a favourable direction for your home during the peak monsoon period from October to February.
During these months, the heat doesn’t get trapped in the house, humidity is far less and the afternoon sun can prevent things from moulding and becoming damp.
Tip: Tall ceilings and windows across the house can help in cross ventilation and keeping the home cool.
5. East West Facing House: No Escaping the Sun's Heat
East-west units are much dreaded in Singapore because they face the full force of the afternoon sun, all year long.
The east-side of the house is likely to get the morning sun, whereas the west-side of the house is likely to get the afternoon sun. Either way, there is no escaping the sun in an east-west unit.
The heat makes the house feel like a sauna, and to rub salt into your wounds, the intensity of the sun can fade the colour of the furniture and leather decor can start to peel. Wind ventilation is also almost nil. This sort of unit is a buyer’s worst nightmare!
Remember that Singapore is a small and favourably urbanized island, so it is possible to end up in an east-west unit!
If you're one of the unlucky ones who have no choice but to select an east-west unit, all we can say is invest in good window treatments that are thick enough to refract sunlight, as well as black-out curtains to help prevent natural light from seeping in. Also, invest in powerful air-conditioners and coolers to keep the heat at bay.
Finding a House with Best Sun Direction in Singapore
We hope these tips help you out in your home-buying/renting journey. If you're in the market for a new home, do remember that's it's not just about price psf, living on a high floor, or nearby amenities such as shopping malls or nature parks.
Paying attention to the unit's facing direction could make a huge difference to your home's comfort levels.
More FAQs about the Best House Facing Direction in Singapore
What is the Best Direction for a House to Face?
Depending on whether you prefer sunlight or shade, pick a north south facing house to avoid heat, or an east west facing home for strong sunlight
What's the Best House Facing Direction in Singapore?
Due to the directions of both the sun and wind, north south facing homes are usually popular as it avoids direct sun light.
Which Direction is Best for Sunlight?
If you have tons of indoor plants, you'll want a light-filled home facing an east west direction for strong sunlight.
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This article was written by Manasi Hukku. Manasi likes to cover the intersection between research and relevance to help readers find a place they'll love. She is a Medium columnist, mother of two and UX Conversation Designer.