Getting value for money when renting a condo in Singapore
We know Singapore can be an expensive place, particularly when it comes to renting an apartment. The amount can seem a bit intimidating, compared to what you are used to paying at home. Here’s our quick guide to making you sure you get the best value for money when looking for properties to rent.
Location is king
Singapore is split up into districts, and some of these districts are in high demand. The ever popular districts are:
District 9 – covering Cairnhill, Kiliney, Orchard and River Valley.
District 10 – covering Ardmore, Balmoral, Bukit Timah, Grange Road, Holland Road, Orchard Boulevard, Tanglin.
District 11 – covering Chancery , Dunearn Road, Moulmein, Newton, Novena, Thomson, Watten Estate.
Of course, there’s a reason these areas are popular – they offer convenient, central locations, with great amenities nearby. However, picking condominiums in these neighbourhoods can make it harder to negotiate down the price.
Living outside of these districts, such as along the East Coast, can mean you have more room to negotiate, and whilst they are still popular and great neighbourhoods to live in, they aren’t quite as in-demand as other locations.
Find out if the unit has been empty for a while
Some units can sit on the market for a while, when there’s absolutely nothing wrong with them. In these instances, it is definitely worth your while getting your agent to explore if the landlord would be willing to accept a lower monthly rental.
Check out your nearest MRT station
In Singapore’s hot and humid climate, proximity to a MRT station definitely bumps up the price of an apartment – it cuts down the length of time you have to walk in the heat, particularly important when you are wearing your office gear! If you don’t mind a slightly longer walk between your front door, and the air-conditioned comfort of the station, consider apartments which are a bit further from the MRT, or located on a bus route. Buses here have air-conditioning, so you still get that great blast of cool relief once you step on board!
Age of the condominium
Age matters in Singapore. Expect to pay less for older blocks, more for the newer ones. Old doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be in poorer condition either. Many of the units in older blocks have been refurbished to high standards, with all the mod cons that you’d expect in newer developments. Often older blocks have larger rooms, which is a real plus, especially if you have children or pets to accommodate.
Recently there has been a lot of talk that the Singapore rental market is dropping, making it much easier to negotiate rents down. Whilst this was certainly true a few months back, prices have settled somewhat, and there is less wiggle room than there was before.
You can use the URA website to check what similar properties have rented for in the condo you are interested in, but do bear in mind that the price will depend on the floor, outlook (i.e. is there a view, or are you overlooking a carpark…), general condition and whether it has been renovated or not.
Trust your agent
It’s tempting to listen to friends, or find advice on Facebook, but your agent is the person who knows the property market the best. Friends can share their experiences, but do always remember that these are their experiences, and yours may be different. What works for a family of 4, may not work for a young couple. Bear in mind that every landlord and landlord’s agent is different, with different sets of priorities and agendas.
Look within your budget, keep an open mind, trust your agent – it’s ok to switch if you really don’t hit it off – and you’ll stand the best chance of finding that perfect place.