The Ultimate Guide For Renting a Place In Singapore Part 1 of 9

Table of Contents

Part 1 of 9, Singapore, The Place

Part 2 of 9, Public Housing Of Singapore, HDB

Part 3 of 9, The Selection Process and Residential Localities

Part 4 of 9, The HDB Township

Part 5 of 9, Localities Preferred by Expatriates

Part 6 of 9, The Districts of Singapore

Part 7 of 9, Rental Levels and Prerequisites For Rental

Part 8 of 9, Procedures For Renting Accomodation

Part 9 of 9, The Process of Engaging a Realtor

If you are a local Singaporean wanting to rent a place to stay – a room, an apartment or an expatriate looking for a place to rent in Singapore then you have come to the right place. This 9 part series will provide you with all you need to know about renting rooms and property in Singapore.


Singapore – The Place

Singapore is a beautiful, independent city country that ranks as one of the cleanest places in the world. Exuding a charm of its own, making living so easy with its well-planned and organized systems, it has become one of the most sought after destinations for tourism and living. This modern, cosmopolitan and highly advanced, industrialized nation has been re-planned, re-furbished and re-organized while still retaining some part of its historical past. It is today comprised of industrial estates like Jurong, Kallang Park and Tiong Bahru, to name just a few.

Singapore has 28 districts and numerous residential estates in each. The local population has 3 distinct ethnic groups with the Chinese forming 75% of the population, followed by the Malays who form13.6 %, the Indians forming 8.8% and the remaining 2.4% are Eurasians and others. They are either citizens or are those with the status of Permanent Residents.

Singapore is also one of the most expensive cities for expatriates to live in, ranking number 10 in a worldwide survey of 300 cities, conducted in February 2009, by Mercer. Last year, in September 2008, it had been the 9th most expensive city, but with the global recession and the ten per cent decline in real estate prices and rentals in the central core region, it has slipped to tenth place. The slide in rents and rates continues and they are expected to decline further with a shrinking demand. This can be attributed to the cutbacks initiated by global companies, giving preference to a localized staff, reducing the phenomenal rentals paid to expatriates and instead encouraging them to shift to lower cost alternatives.

Moreover, the recession had not been foreseen a couple of years ago, and construction projects that had begun at that time have now been completed. Thus the number of apartments and grounded properties available for the same or reduced demand is much more. This enhanced supply will naturally bring down prices.

Various types of accommodations are available in Singapore. Thus depending on a series of factors one has a choice to take one of the following on rent:

Service apartment/penthouse-  these are the most comfortable and convenient places to stay, providing a home away from home. Fully furnished apartments of varying sizes, with amenities like electrical conveniences including, refrigerators, washing machines, cooking ranges and basic kitchen crockery and utensils. Housekeeping staff is available for simple chores required for maintaining the place. One step below star-rated hotels, they are expensive but convenient for staying for a limited period of time. These are available in every district in the city.

Apartment in HDB/condominium– The vast majority of residences available fall in this category. HDB is the name used for Singapore’s public housing constructed by the Housing and Development Board for the local people, providing them with low cost housing, encouraging them to save to be able to buy them, and provide all the amenities necessary to make living easy and hassle free.

Condominiums, on the other hand, are more expensive and luxurious, constructed by private builders, with up market facilities, better finish and additional frills. Apartments could be located in low or high rise buildings, with or without amenities, and those without lifts are called walk-up apartments that are lower in terms of rent. Every district has a string of condominiums while HDB flats are confined to New Townships developed in specific districts. Occasionally, one comes across a condominium within an HDB township. An example of this is Asia Garden located in the HDB township of Tanjong Pagar on Everton Road in District 02.

Landed properties are of various types referring typically to homes built on the ground opposed to multi-storied apartments.

1.Bungalows/mansions– this refers to all low constructions, which are available in all sizes and various price levels. Singapore offers large mansions spread on big pieces of land in very elite localities where prices are commensurate with the level of luxury provided. Mansions or bungalows are also called detached houses since each house is encircled with open space. The majority of bungalows found in Singapore have been constructed in the pre-World War-II era, and are part of the country’s heritage. Districts with these constructions include District 10, 11, 14,15, 19,21, 22, 23, 25, and 26, though other districts also have some on offer.

2.Semi-detached bungalows are those, which are joined with the next house with one common wall. The other sides are open so they appear to be pairs of houses. These can be found on Adam Road, in Ang Mo Kio, Arab Street, Balestier, Bedok, Bukit, Timah, Bukit Panjang, Clementi, Dover, Fort Road, Holland Road, Hougang, Jurong and a few others.

3.Terrace houses or row houses are houses constructed in a straight line joined together that is, having sidewalls common with neighboring houses. Those located in the corner will have land on one side while the intermediate ones will have free land in the front and back. These can be found in Bedok, Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang, Bukit Timah, Chai Chee, Clementi, Choa Chu Kang, Dhobi Ghaut, Fort Road, Geylang, Hougang, Little India, Loyang and a few other places.

4.Colonial houses stand as a memory of colonial times long gone but not forgotten. These Tudor style black and white homes are either single or double storied and often come with a green patch for outdoor fun. They are available in Admiralty, Yishun, Sembawang, Woodlands, Boon Lay, Tuas, Hillview, Clementi, Bukit Timah, Pasir Ris, Tampines, Bedok, Siglap, Marine Parade, Katong, Paya Lebar and some other areas.

5. Shop houses – These are a unique style of homes available in certain parts of Singapore. Constructed during the pre-war years they have been refurbished and have the old world cultural charm with Peranakan leanings. Typically with a tiled exterior, spiral staircase leading to the first floor, timber flooring and high ceilings, they are preferred by locals and now being increasingly sought by expatriates as well. They are available in Clarke Quay, Club Street, Dempsey Road, China Town, Geylang, Dhobi Ghaut, City Hall, Bukit Merah, Bugis, Bishan, Bendemeer and many other areas.

Read Next : Public Housing Of Singapore, HDB