Expat Living in Singapore: Some Housing Tips for New Arrivals

Singapore is a beautiful city-state and island country in the Southeast Asia. This city-state stands high in international rankings with regard to education, the standard of living, healthcare, and economic competitiveness. This small island country is a global financial center. Singapore has mainly Chinese, Malays, and Indian population. It is a crowded city and has a multicultural population of 5.5 million. This enchanting garden city has more than 50% of its area covered by greenery and with over 50 major parks and four nature reserves. As a reflection of its multi-culture population, Singapore has adopted one representative language for each of the four major ethnic groups. The four official languages in Singapore’s constitution are English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil. Malay is the national language and English is the common language used for business, government and medium of instruction in schools. Singapore is a popular holiday destination that offers a great number of attractions and quality experience.

Renting An Apartment

Rental market in Singapore:
Most of the citizens of Singapore are homeowners. People moving to Singapore are mostly temporary residents, relocated by a large company for a few years and then sent back to their countries. The majority of these expats are more interested in rental properties in Singapore, rather than ownership. House or an apartment rental in Singapore is very expensive. There are a lot of options in the rental market for foreigners such as semi-detached terrace houses, condominiums, multi-story apartments or public housing. The budget is the most important factor in deciding what type of accommodation is best for you.

A single one bedroom rental may be the economical and easier option to locate. The most difficult option is to find a condominium rental for an entire family. The cheapest option is the public housing rental which costs about $1,500 to $2,500 per month. The downtown district of Singapore, in general, is the most expensive rental area with rents ranging from $5,000 for 1300 sqft for a three bedroom apartment. Semi-detached houses or bungalows or bigger apartments cost around $8,000 to $15,000 per month to rent in Singapore.

house or apartment rental in Singapore
Steps for renting your dream house or apartment rental in Singapore!


Five steps to renting a house or apartment rental in Singapore :

1. Finding a good agent to show all the rental listings of your choice of budget and needs. As a prospective tenant, you should pay attention to all the details, like noise and traffic, commute, schools etc. Take notes of all the properties you visited.

2. If you really like a property that you visited, you can either make an offer to the landlord or give your letter of intent (LOI) to lock in your choice of rental property. LOI is usually collected with a month’s rent as a so-called good faith deposit in order to hold that property for you. It is non-refundable so unless you are totally in love with the property don’t offer the LOI.

3. The landlords can either accept or deny your offer or LOI. If they accept, both you and the landlord can sign the tenancy agreements (TA).

4. Before you can move in, pay a commission to the agent, submit a copy of your passport, work permit, with first month’s rental in advance and a month’s rent as a security deposit.

5.In order to make the TA a valid legal document, it has to be stamped by the Singapore Inland Revenue Authority(IRA). The tenant needs to pay for the “stamp duty”. This is a very important step in the housing rental process in Singapore.
Predominantly due to the expatriate population most of the rental properties in Singapore are either furnished or semi furnished. Explore as many options as you can to ensure you find the right accommodation for you.

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