Singapore expats look to rent cuts as salaries shrink

Published:  8 May at 6 PM
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As Singaporean employers are tightening their money bags and cutting expat salaries, landlords are receiving rent cut requests.

Once known as a hub for sky-high expat salaries, the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on Singapore’s economy is forcing employers to cut wages across the board. As a result, affected expatriate professionals are petitioning their landlords for a rent cut. Real estate agents in the city state are reporting a number of such requests, although only four were successful.

One female expat originally from the USA said she’d just received notification of a 20 per cent cut in her salary, starting last week and ending on July 31, a which point her employer would consider his options as regards the business’s financial health. Her rent for a one- bedroomed apartment close by the financial district was $3,400 per month, and she won a rent reduction of $250 a month.

The city state is expected to dive into a recession due to its extension of a partial lockdown which began five weeks ago. Businesses are desperate to cut costs and wages are set to take a harder hit than jobs. The majority of government support is being aimed at Singaporean citizens, with over $7 billion grated to employers as a wage co-fund strategy covering 1.9 million local employees. Singapore’s real estate market is one of the planet’s most expensive, with rentals soaring last year to a three-year high, boosted by demand from overseas.

The vast majority of Singaporean nationals are housed in Housing Board apartments and local home ownership is high. Not all landlords are playing fair as regards rent reductions, with one telling local media his rental income is put towards the mortgage on his own property, whilst many others in the same situation are accepting a reduced income rather than losing a reliable tenant at a time when expats are repatriating due to the pandemic.
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