Singapore: Housing for Expats
Before you can settle in and enjoy expat life in Singapore, there is rarely a way around the housing search, unless you are among the happy few for whom their new employer provides company accommodation. To start with, you should know in which part of the rather small island nation you want or need to live. While Singapore is usually divided into five regions for administrative or planning purposes, it is the 28 former postal districts that come in handy during the property search. They are still used by real estate agents or property websites to indicate the location of an apartment or a residential area. We’ll give you a succinct overview of these districts and their place on the map of Singapore. Moreover, the guide introduces a variety of neighborhoods in Singapore which are especially popular among expatriates, families with children, or local residents, from the high-end estates of River Valley to suburban Woodlands.
Once you have got your bearings in Singapore and know your way around, you should gather more information on the housing market than just the location of various residential districts. Unfortunately, expat housing in Singapore tends to be on the expensive side. Although the Singaporean government has introduced several measures to avoid a property bubble, the local market is still characterized by fairly high prices. There is government-subsidized housing as well, but temporary residents may not apply directly to the Housing Development Board. The InterNations guide explains the distinction between the public market and privately rented accommodation in greater detail, giving you an idea of the costs involved in housing as well utilities in Singapore.
Renting vs. Buying Property
Most temporary residents who have come to Singapore on an intra-company transfer or as an expat spouse prefer renting their new home to purchasing property. Our article on renting in Singapore mentions some of the most common resources for finding rentals, serviced apartments, and flatshares in the city-state. It also lists what you ought to keep in mind when you choose rental housing in Singapore, and we guide through the process of becoming a tenant. From the “letter of intent” expressing your interest to the landlord to ending a rental agreement, InterNations includes helpful information on every step. Considering the state of Singapore’s property market, only the affluent among the many expats moving to Singapore will be willing and able to invest in housing there. If you are interested in buying property in Singapore, our guide may not give you detailed advice on mortgages (since they depend on your personal finances), but it does sketch the framework relevant for foreign buyers. We keep you informed on legal restrictions for non-local homeowners, the entire process of purchasing property in Singapore, and the costs involved in the property transfer and your annual tax burden.