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How to find accommodation in Singapore for Expats

Renting in Singapore: An Introduction

The single most important thing when moving to Singapore is to find a great place to call home for a while, and specifically those looking at renting in Singapore. We want to help you find that as this was so important to those of us who have already made the big move. If you already know the terminology then you might want to know where to live in Singapore or the know more about short term accommodation in Singapore.

Renting in Singapore: Decoded

Singapore has its own local language when it comes to property and renting. To avoid confusion when looking for an apartment, we have laid it out plain and simple for you.

Condominiums are what a substantial proportion of the expat population will end up renting in Singapore. Condominiums often come with facilities such as swimming pools, barbecue pits, gyms, tennis and/or others. A two-bed condominium in a popular area will cost between $4,000 and $5,000 per month.

HDB (Housing Development Board) flats are government-built flats that cover much of the Singapore cityscape, and 80% of Singaporeans live in one. Don’t be scared off by the name: there are some very plush HDB options out there with some flats going for over S$1m (€575k) near Chinatown. Renting a HDB flat in Singapore will greatly reduce yours rental costs and may present the option of living closer to where you work, or where you desire to live.

Landed property refers to any property where the ground on which the property stands is owned by the landlord (not the state). Bungalows are usually a type landed property, and here bungalows refer to any detached or semi-detached property.

Price is relative

Land in Singapore is priced according to convenience and prestige. Certain areas are just down right expensive but the general rule is that the further away your home is from the central business district (CBD), the cheaper it gets. Though with that said, do note that any far away homes that are situated nearby an MRT station with a direct route to CBD is pretty pricey too. The rule of convenience apply, the lesser the time spent to get to town, the more you will have to pay. If you have to stay near to CBD and still want a cheap solution, you can try share an apartment and share the cost. To find room mates and compare the costs, visit EasyRoomMate. Occasionally, there will be good deals up for grabs (desperate landlords), but most of the time, price, land and convenience is always a trade off.

However, if you land yourself a job at the Tampines/Expo Business district instead of the CBD, you will be happy to know that you can easily get a place close to your workplace at half the price.

Taking care when finding a place to live in Singapore

When using an agent to find a place to rent in Singapore, be sure to be prudent when it comes to the pricing. Remember that no matter what the agent says, the house in front of you is NOT the last in Singapore at that price, or in that area. In rare cases, agents have been known to use these arguments to push newcomers to take accommodation in awkward situations and on the wrong side of Singapore.


2 Responses to Renting in Singapore: An Introduction

  1. Patrick November 26, 2012 at 2:31 am #

    Had that exact problem yesterday when looking for a place to live… Singapore has got to deal with this problem.

  2. James K December 1, 2012 at 2:12 am #

    Great summary of finding living quarters in Singapore…

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