You’re all set for your big move to Singapore, and you’re planning to go house hunting as soon as you can.
But you still don’t know your way around very well, and you may find yourself encountering a few surprises, or end up wasting your time looking at properties that simply won’t meet your needs.
We give you the skinny on what’s going down in the Singapore rental property market – and provide you with some tips that might lead you to the right home a whole lot sooner. We’ll kick off with some general comments and the narrow things down to a few specifics.
It can take you a month or in some cases two months to find the right apartment for your needs in Singapore. In order to make sure you are comfortable and can hit the ground running we advise you to book a Serviced Apartment in Singapore for at least the first month.
Don’t forget your (and your kids’) commute!
Getting around in Singapore is usually easy thanks to high-speed trains and an excellent bus service, but you will want to keep those commuting times reasonable. A property agent will have this information at his or her fingertips, or you can do your own research using an online calculator, but do keep this factor in mind when you choose an area in Singapore to target your house hunting efforts at. Those with kids will want to find an international school in Singapore first, and once that’s sorted, you know where you stand.
Condos can offer gracious living
Expats from countries like Australia are likely to be used to living in a house with a garden, and may feel that living in a rented condo will be cramped and depressing. But Singapore condos could make you adjust your mind-set. Many of them have fantastic facilities including swimming pools, tennis courts, residents’ clubs and gyms plus a lot of other mod-cons you might never have expected.
Plus, you will probably find condos less cramped than their floor-space seems to indicate. There are airy, well-designed Singapore apartments that can give you a feeling of space even if the square meter age isn’t all that large. After all, Singapore is one of the design capitals of the world, particularly when it comes to architecture!
Used to a garden? Settling for a park may not be so bad
Even if you choose a condo minutes from CBD or the Central Business District, you’ll never be far from greenery, a park or a garden. And let’s not forget the world-famous, 74 hectare botanical gardens in all its futuristic yet natural splendour! You’re sure to need at least a few weeks just to explore that! Wherever you may choose to rent a house in Singapore, you’ll find yourself within easy reach of nature’s bounties. And if you want to get your hands dirty, living in a Singapore condo needn’t stop you – there are plenty of community gardens and gardeners’ clubs that you can join.
Do you like nature untamed? No problem! Consider living in Upper Bukit Timah where you can enjoy tropical rainforests and an abundance of monkeys in the nearby Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. From the East Coast to the West, there are some beautifully preserved natural areas for you to enjoy a break away from the hustle and bustle.
Houses may be smaller than you’re used to
Singapore supports a population of close to 5.4 million people, and at just over 719 square km area, it’s a small country. As a result, government has encouraged developers to build ‘up’ rather than ‘out’, and the high cost of land has led to the construction of houses that are smaller on average than those that expats who come from more spacious countries like the United States and Australia will be used to. Of course, there are also large houses – but these will come at a premium cost.
City properties are pretty pricey
Most expats who live in the city will be staying in an apartment or condo. There are houses available, but expect them to come with a hefty price-tag. If you’re keen on a central location and can afford the high rents that even an apartment commands, it’s worth taking a look around before you dismiss this option altogether – after all, it’s a vibey location with plenty of activities to keep you entertained during your free time.
Making yourself at home outside the CBD
Moving your focus just out of the CBD can be something of an eye-opener. You’ll definitely get more space for your money, and the commute may be less arduous than you feared. For example, Thomson may seem a bit off the beaten track, but it’s literally minutes away from the CBD, and although Woodlands isn’t central, it’s an easy distance from the American school and offers spacious houses for a relatively low price. If you’ve a yen for seaside living, you’ll be happy to know that many expats have settled along the East Coast, and if you want to ‘live the dream’ Sentosa is a favourite.
Getting down to the facts: what should you expect form a Singapore rental property?
Too much information already? Alright, let’s sum up the basics!
First and foremost, expect rental property in Singapore to be rather expensive. It goes with the territory. To put it bluntly: Singapore is a great place to do business and make money, but your housing will be costly – at the same time, the opportunities you will enjoy should more than make up for that.
Secondly, if you want more space for your buck and don’t mind a bit of a commute, it’s worth looking around outside of the CBD. Public transport and a great roads system make this a practical option, but do check out your family’s commuting needs.
Thirdly, there’s an upside to all this. Classy accommodation with beautiful interior finishes and fantastic facilities are pretty much the norm – and the surroundings are beautiful and well cared for.
Last but not least: Looking for rental housing in Singapore can be confusing. Having someone with local knowledge around to advise you is a definite advantage.
You might also be interested in reading our detailed post on moving to Singapore.