Expat Guide – All you need to know about renting a home in Singapore in 2021
Living in Singapore is wonderful. It is no wonder that top consulting firm, Mercer, has ranked the country as the nicest city to live in Asia for expatriates for 3 consecutive years, since 2017. However, renting a home in Singapore isn’t an easy task. There are several factors you need to consider when choosing a home. After all, you have to make a decision that best suits you and your family. Thus, in this article, we’ve gathered everything you’ll need to know when finding a home in Singapore!
Factors to Note When Renting A Home
There are a number of factors you have to consider when browsing for a property to rent in Singapore, namely:
Most expats choose to rent a home in Singapore. However, the cost of living in Singapore is high. You must ensure that you allocate enough budget to rent a home. We’ll delve more into the price range of the different rental options later.
Location is very important as it determines the level of convenience for you and your family. Before you decide on a home, consider the distance to your workplace, as well as the various amenities surrounding your home. Property prices in Singapore vary by district, so be sure to amend your rental budget accordingly.
These are the districts in Singapore that are popular among expatriates:
|District||Where||What it offers|
|10, Central Region (Tanglin)||Bukit Timah, Holland Village, Balmoral, Orchard Boulevard, Tanglin Road||- Home to high-end properties
- Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, which preserves much of Singapore’s flora and fauna
- Pricey cafes, contemporary European cuisine
|11, Central Region (Newton)||Novena, Newton, Dunearn Road, Thomson Road||- Residential areas with neighbourhood malls - two famous malls: Velocity & United Square
- Family friendly area
- No HDB flats here
- Prices are generally higher
- Newton is home to the famous Newton Hawker Centre, that offers a lot of good food.
|12, Central Region (Toa Payoh)||Toa Payoh, Serangoon, Balestier||- One of the oldest neighbourhoods in Singapore
- Malls, eateries and entertainment outlets
- The Toa Payoh town garden - one of the most elaborate in Singapore - with a 27m tall viewing deck
|15, East Coast (Katong)||Joo Chiat, Marine Parade, Katong||- Colonial era architecture - Joo Chiat used to be a Peranakan area in the past
- Hipster cafes
- Malls, with the biggest and most famous, being Parkway Parade
- Enrichment Centres
|16, Upper East Coast||Bedok, Bayshore, Chai Chee||- East Coast Beach
- Bedok has a range of markets, coffee shops and two small malls
Refer to URA’s list of postal districts in Singapore
When choosing where to live, be sure to take note of the facilities offered in the residential property. Do you want a swimming pool? A gym? A tennis court? These will eventually affect your level of satisfaction towards your home.
There are many different housing options in Singapore, ranging from public housing to private homes.
HDB flats are subsidised public housing for Singaporeans. Compared with Condominiums, HDBs are a cheaper option. Average rental prices of a room range from $600 – $1000, depending on the size and the location. However, this is not to say that HDBs do not match with the value of private condominiums.
There are HDB flats that fall under the Design, Build, and Sell Scheme (DBSS), which have interiors that match the quality of private housing. Another class of HDB flats are Executive Condominiums (ECs), which are built by private developers and have the amenities of a private condo.
Private housing options include condominiums and apartments, as well as landed property. Condominiums are, essentially, the more luxurious version of HDB flats and offer facilities such as swimming pools, security, gyms, tennis courts and gardens. However, do take note that rental prices are relatively higher than HDBs, and start from S$1000 for a studio apartment. Prices can skyrocket up to S$7000 for a 3-bedroom apartment in the city core.
Apartments are similar to condominiums, but are smaller developments. They are generally more affordable than both landed property and condominiums, but more expensive than the subsidised HDB flats. Most expatriates in Singapore rent either condominiums or apartments.
Landed Property is viewed as the housing equivalent of those belonging to the upper echelons of society. While it is tough to maintain landed properties, they are unrivalled in terms of their sheer size, spacious living quarters and privacy.
Where to browse when renting a home?
Once you’ve decided what you want, it’s time to do your research and see what’s out there. Singapore offers various property websites for you to shortlist the homes you’re interested in. Here are a five property websites for you to check out:
Property Guru comprises a comprehensive database of properties in Singapore. Many browse the website when searching for a property to rent. Property Guru has an extensive collection of property listings and pricing information. Each listing page offers detailed information about the property, and updated prices, with a window to contact the property agent. Property Guru also partners with other value-added services, such as lifestyle, legal, and international relocation companies to cater to your needs, when settling down in Singapore.
99.co allows you to filter property listings by district, area, or HDB towns. You can search properties based on the proximity and accessibility to MRT stations or nearby amenities.
Upon clicking on a property, you will see a rundown of information, including amenities and pricing trends.
ST Property adds a star rating to each of their listings, saving you the time from browsing homes that are less-than-ideal. You can type in specific keywords into their search function or set up filters to only show listings that suit what you are looking for.
Using SRX’s advanced search function, you can take a 360-degree virtual tour of your desired home and its surrounding areas. SRX also offers financing rate comparisons and exclusive personal property services. You can subscribe to mySG Home to keep track of your home’s sale and rental value, and X-Value to calculate the valuation of your home.
iProperty is unique because of the simplicity of its search function. You only need to set the basic filters, hit search, before seeing results that are sorted to show the most recent posts. iProperty Singapore provides the most extensive international property listings in the country. They also provide handy lifestyle solutions for home design, decor, moving, storage, and maintenance.
Co-Living in Singapore
A recent trend in Singapore that has gained traction is co-living, which means that you share a house with two or three other housemates. In general, it costs about $1200 – $1500 to rent a common bedroom in a flat.
While co-living spaces are more expensive than renting a room in a HDB flat, it is still a value-for-money option, considering you’re living in condo apartments with full amenities, nice furniture, utilities and cleaning services.
We’ve rounded up some of the most well-known co-living spaces in Singapore for you
Hmlet is one of the most famous co-living spaces in Singapore. Hmlet offers beautifully curated homes all around Singapore, tailored to fit your budget, staying duration, and your personal needs. Whether you need a single room or a large apartment, Hmlet’s accommodation options are move-in ready, with easy access to public transport and communal facilities.
At the same time, Hmlet offers communal spaces, giving you the opportunity to interact with people from all walks of life. You can forge friendships, expand your career network, and even start a new romantic relationship! Also, you can meet the wider Hmlet community, through participating in exclusive Hmlet events that range from cross-country marathons to yoga sessions.
COVE consists of over 200 stylishly furnished homes across Singapore, many of which have a central location. COVE prides itself in offering flexibility and convenience in the entire property rental process. You can browse room listings and virtual reality tours at any time and from anywhere. After which, book a free viewing (whether real or virtual) at a time that best suits you, no strings attached! Once you’ve decided on your home, you’ll just need to sign your digital contract, and pay your 1 month deposit, before moving into your new home.
Like Hmlet, COVE organises several community events and has special perks exclusive to its members. Participate in these events to meet more people or expand your network!
If you tire of condominium options, Figment provides you with a fresh take on boutique living in Singapore. Figment offers you fully furnished shophouses suites that come with flexible leases in prime central locations.
The shophouses are specially handpicked to pay tribute to local art, design and architecture, allowing you to live like a local, and celebrate Singapore’s history. You also get your own suite, bathroom, and your very own floor! Weekly cleaning and maintenance services are included in your contract with Figment.
Metro Residences has close to 300 serviced apartments and residential rentals in Singapore. Each apartment is furnished in a fanciful and cosy way, ensuring you get the highest standards of modern living.
There are several accommodation options available for you to choose from, depending on your needs. You can live in a studio apartment, two-bedroom or even three-bedroom apartments. Simply type in your preferences in the search function provided, and you’ll be led to a variety of rental options.
Commontown offers co-living spaces in over 57 homes, furnished in a manner that mirrors IKEA. All apartments in Singapore are located in prime and central estates, giving you access to a wide range of amenities.
Also, the co-living space welcomes pets. However, do make sure you inform your housemates in advance and seek their approval in having a pet live with them.
Commontown also bespoke community events, which allow you to network and gain new friends.
Now that you have all this information at your fingertips, renting a home in Singapore will become a breeze. To discover more about Singapore, check out our local guide.
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