Singapore rents for expat accommodation now at three-year high

Published:  28 Feb at 6 PM
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Expats heading to Singapore or thinking of upgrading their accommodation will need to pay far more rent in 2020.

Apartment rental charges in Singapore are now at a three-year high, with increased expat demand taking the blame. Local realtors are claiming the city-state’s strong appeal for expat professionals in general is the main reason for the spike in rents, but others believe the exodus of expat professionals from Hong Kong due to the protests could well be the reason behind the increased demand.

For expats living and working on the island, rentals are the only practical option, as buying an apartment outright involves paying the heavy stamp duties levied on expatriate buyers from overseas. In addition, many expats in Singapore are on short-term contracts, making leasing the easiest and most practical choice. Soaring rental charges only apply to expats as the vast majority of Singaporean citizens live in cheaper public housing and are unable to afford the high rents demanded of expats.

It has to be said the city-state still holds a strong attraction for expats, especially those in the health and tech sectors. A combination of political stability, low crime rates, plenty of green spaces and efficient infrastructure appeal to foreigners, as does Singaporeans’ ability to speak English. High standards of education are crucial for expat families, and rentals are still less expensive than in Hong Kong and New York. Even although the region is now struggling with the effects of the coronavirus, rental charges during the remainder of the year are expected to soar by another three to five per cent, again due to the recruitment of even more overseas expat professionals.
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