In 2016, the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey released a report ranking Singapore as the most expensive city to live in. An honor it has held for 4 consecutive previous years. Staving off competition from other cities such as Hong Kong, San Francisco and London. The reason the costs are so high isn’t because of everyday meals and commodities. If you look hard enough, you can find any food at a reasonable price. Of course this means staying away from tourist traps and fancy restaurants.
The reasons that contribute to the extreme rates most come from the larger stuff, such as housing and cars. But in this article we’re going to focus exclusively on housing. More specifically, the different types of housing, their different regulations, prices, and the suitability for you as a foreigner. This is so you can decide what’s best for you.
Cost of Housing
Depending on where you live, the rent per month can be anywhere from $500 to $20,000 per month. The factors that go into determining how much the houses costs include distance from the city centre, size, commodities available (swimming pools, bars, gyms etc.), and of course–your own appetite for extravagance.
There are a wide range of housing options available to suit every budget. But before you decide to move into a specific place as an expat, be sure to look at the regulations and a detailed explanation that each type of housing possesses regarding foreign inhabitants here.
Also called cluster houses, these are buildings or complexes of multiple individual houses that are within a confined space.
Many expats live in such complexes because of the amenities that they bring with them: swimming pools, playgrounds, tennis courts, and other expats as within close proximity. They are also much cheaper alternatives to renting out other types of landed residences such as bungalows.
The rental prices for condos vary according to where they are located, how old the building is, and its size.
A three-bedroom house near the city-centre starts at around $7,000 per month and can go up to $20,000 depending on the furnishings, finish, and the other aforementioned factors. The high-end luxury apartments such as the waterfront properties at Sentosa and Keppel Bay range anywhere between $8,300 and 13,000. While those in the city-center are less expensive, costing around $3,300 – $5,000.
These are similar to condos, but lack many of the luxuries such as the swimming pool. They also are older, since most of the newer construction is in the form of condos. Renting a 3-bedroom apartment in CBD is around $5 – 7,000 while those in the outskirts are around $4,000.
They also have sub categories such as walk in Apartments. They are call this because they do not have elevators, but are build low enough that this won’t be a problem.
3. HDB Apartments
Housing and Development Board houses (HDB) are government constructed flats, which are the perfect option for someone on a tight budget, such as college graduates(which is actually who they were specifically designed for). Around 80% of Singaporeans live in this type of housing. They offer many other benefits as they are usually in close proximity to other places amenities like schools, gyms, and shopping centres.
4. Rent a Room as a guest
This involves you renting out / sub leasing a free room from an owner of an apartment within their house. Prices for these range from $500 – $800. They are the cheapest options for housing available by a huge margin.
5. Serviced Apartments
Some expats and more elderly people would prefer to reside in serviced apartments that are almost hotel-like in their facilities. They may be staying in Singapore for a short time and want a flexible lease. Serviced apartments in Singapore come fully furnished with a pool and gym. They are mostly 1-2 bedrooms but larger ones are available on request. Lease terms are flexible and can be negotiated for a per-day, week, or month basis.
6. Landed Property
There are different types of landed properties, and just to give a brief overview of each type
These are houses that are a part of a row or join together by a common boundary. They are usually two or three stories high and share a wall on each side with a neighbour to save space.
These are not a type itself, but they are a category of different houses which fit a certain criteria. They are similar to terrace houses in that they share walls with neighbours. But semi detach houses only share one wall and can generally be describe as one house being split down the middle.
With a minimum plot size of 400 square metres, these are one of the more spacious types of housing in Singapore. They, by definition, are not attached to any other house and are stand alone, making them desirable for the people who are more exclusive and private.
There are four classes of bungalow which are denoted by the size of their plot of land: class 1, which is from 400 sq metres to 550 sq metres, class 2 is 550 to 700, class 3 is 700 to 1000, and class 4 is 1000 sq m to 1400 square metres. Above this size is reserved for the most affluent people and often have swimming pools, large gardens and other luxury facilities
Because of Singapore’s limited land and large population, this type of housing is very rare and therefore very expensive. The average rent for bungalows is close to $18,000 per month. A high end bungalow can go for as much as $35,000 /month!
Housing is the fundamental part of life anywhere, and there are many different types of houses in Singapore, and each type caters to a specific type of person and comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. In the end it all comes down to you as a person to decide on your wants and needs, and choose accordingly.
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