You cannot resist the temptation of the Island nation that promises an exciting life, great career opportunities and travel breaks to the Southeast Asian Countries, right?
We know you’re planning to move to Singapore! Welcome!
But if the fact that Singapore is one of the most expensive cities to live in the world scares you, then fret not. We are here to guide you on how to choose a house on rent in Singapore.
Understand your options: Type of accommodation
You need to analyze the options available to you based on your needs and budget. The types of accommodations available in Singapore are:
- HDB flats – More than 80% of Singapore’s population live in public housing system facilitated by the Housing Development Board of Singapore.
These are called HDB flats and are the least expensive housing option in Singapore, as it does not have amenities like a swimming pool, 24-hour security and so on.
You can either choose to live in one portion of the flat while the rest is occupied by the owners or you can lease a complete HDB unit.
- Condominiums / Apartments – Definitely much pricier than HDBs, Condominium(s) or Condo(s) as the locals say it, are private properties and often come with various amenities like swimming pool, event area, gym, security services, children play area etc.
If you prefer peaceful surroundings, far from the hustle and bustle of the city, we would recommend you explore condominiums for rent along the Tanjong Rhu stretch, such as Pebble Bay, Costa Rhu, Water Place and Sanctuary Green One. Most of these are located near the East Coast Park and has waterfront views.
However, if you prefer staying close to the heart of the business district, then opt for condominiums located in the CBD area such as The Sail at Marina Bay.
If you are a shopaholic and love mall hopping, then choose the areas surrounding the Orchard Road.
These areas are popular, so expect a premium cost for it.
- Landed Properties – If you are a family with kids or just want more space for yourself, then you can consider renting Landed houses in Singapore, which include terrace houses, semi-detached houses, and bungalows.
Popular locations for renting landed properties in Singapore include Bukit Timah, Serangoon Garden, and Telok Kurau.
Landed houses are usually spacious and they come with a front porch or garden.
- Shophouses – If you like vintage Peranakan-style shophouses, and are interested to explore the old world charm of Singapore, you can consider renting Shophouses in Emerald Hill or Joo Chiat area of Singapore.
However, it is important to note that they are fewer in number, higher in maintenance costs, in most case, one has to take two flights of stairs and the availability of such houses is low.
- Serviced Apartments – These are fully furnished apartments with all the essentials included in the rental package. Serviced Apartments often come with a variety of additional services like housekeeping, babysitting, laundry and so on.
Some popular serviced apartments are Treetops Executive Residences, LMB Great World Serviced Apartments, Lanson Place Winsland Serviced Residences, and Fraser Suites.
Most of these properties are custom designed for business travellers and are located in the country downtown.
Needless to say, your choice of accommodation will largely dictate the monthly rental cost. Although, don’t forget to factor in the spike in your recurring domestic expenses due to the location of the property, property facilities, furnished or unfurnished unit.
- Furnished units: Units furnished with white goods, furnishings in addition to being nearby amenities like popular shopping malls or hawker centre will definitely attract higher rental.
In most circumstances, as a tenant, you can negotiate what is required and what is to be removed before moving into your new house.
- Connectivity: Unlike monthly rent, connectivity has an indirect yet significant impact on the cost of living.
Singapore is very well connected and has a world-renowned public transport system. However, until you own a car, you’ll have to rely on local commuting options like the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit network of local, fast & mostly underground railway system) and the bus network.
Comparatively, buses have a longer travelling time so many prefer to commute via MRT and even stay near an MRT station, even if it means shelling out few extra dollars on rent because overall, you’ll still be saving on time and cost.
How to plan your finances?
The three recurring and upfront costs while looking to rent in Singapore are:
- Initial Deposit– You will have to shell out one month’s rent for 12-month lease and 2 months’ rent for 24-month leases.
Make sure, however, you have a diplomatic clause associated with your two-year lease.
- Agents’ fees– This one is an optional expense and depends if you hire an agent to search for accommodation. If you do, once the deal is final, you’ll have to pay half a month rent for a 1-year lease or 0.75 to 1-month rent for a 2-year lease.
With the market in favour of renters, you can easily dodge this expense these days!
- Utility charges– Unless you rent a shared space, apart from the basic utilities like Water, Gas and Electricity, the phone, internet and cable TV setup is not included in your rent. There is an initial deposit and contracting charges in the first month, thereafter a monthly recurring cost.
Based on your requirements, you do need to factor in these expenses in your monthly payable bills as well.
- Paperwork expenses – Last but not the least, you will also have to pay stamp duty while drawing up your legal agreement (mostly taken care by your or landlord’s agent) which is 0.4% of total rent for the period of the lease (up to 4 years).
Once, you know the cost of rent, you can analyze the other indirect expenses that are substantial and will affect your budget. This will help you plan your finances better and will also aid in informed decision-making.
Estimated area wise budget to rent in Singapore:
The long-term sustainability of property prices still remains uncertain and price fluctuation will impact the rent as well.
However, the impact can be curtailed in the case of a price rise by choosing the property wisely. The below number is an estimate for a family of four with two adults and two kids:
Budget: $3,000 and below
Current Singapore market is pro-tenant, and you’ll find a list of fully furnished 4-room HDB apartments for $2000 per month if you are ready to explore suburban areas such as Punggol, Choa Chu Kang, and Woodlands to get good deals.
However, if you prefer staying in a central location, then opt for the smaller 3-room unit in Redhill, Ang Mo Kio, and Bishan. You’ll easily get suitable options for $3000 per month.
Although rare, if you plan in advance, you have a higher chance of being able to rent a 2-storey HDB Executive Maisonettes at the same cost.
If you are looking for options in private estate, consider studio or 1-bedroom condominium in District 9 and 10 but you will definitely get a much bigger place to rent if you are ready to venture out to District 14 and 15 (a short and convenient commute from the central region).
The following heat-map shows Condo, HDB and Landed Property prices by District. This might give a fair idea of Singapore geography and help you consider a suitable area to rent.
Budget: $3,000 – $5,000
In this budget, you can book a 4-room HDB unit in Toa Payoh, Marine Parade and Bukit Merah areas and can go for a 3-bedroom condo located in District 14 or District 19.
If you prefer a spacious terrace house, you can look for options in District 25 to 28.
However, if you work in the CBD area, ideally you should choose the Downtown area – Raffles Place, City Hall, and Marina Bay; But these areas are considerably expensive, and you might have to go for a 1-bedroom apartment if you don’t want to exceed your budget.
Budget: $5,001 – $10,000
You can enjoy a luxurious stay in this budget range. You can easily go for centrally located, 3-bedroom or 4-bedroom condos in Orchard, Marina Bay, Raffles Place, and River Valley.
You can also opt for residential units in Sentosa Cove or can pick a 5-bedroom penthouse in a suburban condominium of District 19.
Additionally, landed properties can also be considered at Changi, Braddell, Macpherson, Tampines, and Potong Pasir.
Budget: Above $10,000
This is a complete royal range, where you can indulge in luxurious serviced apartments, condominiums like St Regis Residences and The Club Residences by Capella Singapore.
Alternatively, you can go for high-end bungalows located in the prime areas of District 10 and 11.
If your range goes beyond $15000, you can also upgrade to upmarket bungalows in Holland Road, River Valley, Tanglin Road, or even around Orchard road.
All these information can be a bit too much to digest if you are new to this region. As always there are hidden gems that remain unnoticed in the crowd of hundreds of property listings and you end up frustrated searching for that perfect place to rent.
A new generation prop-tech platform like Truuue Tenant (also known as TRUrental Tenant) can make finding a home on rent in Singapore as easy and painless as possible by providing the best match based on your need and budget.
Creative add-ons like the concierge service provide assistance ranging from managing the lease agreement to physically moving into the new place and even helping you get the furnishing done or fixing the utilities.
The company plans to partner with insurance companies to cover the tenant from any associated risks so that you have your peace of mind and focus on things that are more important to you.
The best part – all these perks are absolutely free for the tenant!
Let’s now find you a tailored unit to make your stay in Singapore memorable!
**Please note that these are the estimates and prices can vary depending upon the market conditions in 2019.