firstly congrats on your move. Singapore is a fantastic place for families (I personally believe). We also debated bw areas and dwelling types and I have to say unless you have a big budget to get a house with pool, condos
can be a fantastic place for families. Access to a playground, pool, tennis etc is great. We use the pool and playground every day. Not all apts are large though and it will depend what you are used to. I suggest seeing a range of dwellings (condo vs house vs cluster house) to see what the right balance of space and facilities is for you.
If moving to a condo
, take a look around to see whether there's lots of expats...depending on your preferences that could be a good or bad thing. Our condo has all nationalities but we tend to gravitate toward other aussies, english, europeans and americans. Our condo social circle has become very important to us an our kids. Other friends in condos have not made one friend and this would feel quite isolating.
If you get a house with no pool, you may want to consider joining a 'country club'. If you can get in, several offer $4K+ per year membership.
We selected River Valley to live because of the proximity to cafes / restaurants / shops and the city (for a short commute). There are kindys nearby as well as many activities for kids (ballet, art etc)
We can see the casino from our condo.
In addition to East Coast (which would probably also be good for your husband's commute), lots of expats live around Holland Village, Tanglin, Bukit Timah which are all lovely but further from the city (longer commute) and the Marina.
In terms of houses, unless you live out or pay rent > $10K per month (although it;s coming down!!) I get the sense that most of them have a courtyard sized outdoor space unless you have a good budget.
So, with housing, invest several days getting driven around to different areas and get a feel for access to parks, playgrounds, cafes (etc, whatever is important to you) kids activities (like gym, swimming etc). See some different housing options (condo vs house) and of course check out the public transport. SMRT website has a journey planner tool to let you check the commute. Think about what's important. For us for instance, although cabs are cheap, we wanted walking access to cafes/wine bars/shops/park.
We live in condo called Aspen Heights and while what we live in is small (1800 SF) we use the facilities all the time with our little kids. We sacrifice space for convenience.
Anyway, one last tip is that rents have fallen because of the recession. Some agents and landlords are in denial about this because of rents being high for some time and also because this thing called 'saving face' where they do not want to cave in negotiations. Be prepared to bargain hard or walk away. For instance, if it's listed for $10K, offer 7-8K and see where it goes. I think there's plenty of stock so don't be fooled into signing.
Also, if you aren't certain about your choice, ask for a 1 year lease (most are 2). You may have to pay a little more for it but gee it's nice to have a year to work out where you really want to live instead of 2. Lastly, and most importantly, make sure your lease (if 2 year) includes a 'diplomatic clause' that allows you to get out of it if your/your husband is transfered away/loses job etc.
Hope this helps. Best of luck.