House Hunting Tips For Expats


Singapore is well known for its high salary, low crime country, good education system and amazing local delicacies. It is no wonder that many expats from all over the world would choose Singapore to live in. One of the most important things that expats will do once they move over to a new country is to look for the right place to move in. Although there are many properties in Singapore available for sale, most expats do not buy properties in Singapore as they are unsure of how long they will stay in Singapore. Therefore, renting a place definitely seem like a better option for them. This article will guide you through some house hunting tips for expats.

  1. HDB flats
HDB flats are the most common type of public housing expats notice when they are in Singapore. Approximately 80% of the residential properties are consist of HDB flats in Singapore. Unlike other public housing available in other countries where it is built for the low income class citizens, the HDB flats in Singapore are built for the middle class and upper class income Singaporeans.

Most HDB flats are sized between 700 square feet to approximately 1,300 square feet. They would also typically have 2 to 4 bedrooms, living area, dining area, kitchen and 2 toilets, where one is attached to the master bedroom and another one situated at the common area.

HDB flats generally have a more affordable rental as compared to staying in a condominium or landed properties or private condominiums as they do not come with facilities such as swimming pool or gymnasium. However rental for HDB flats located in the Central Business District (CBD) such as Orchard road or other prime areas such as Tiong Bahru would naturally cost more than HDB flats located further away from the city centre. The bright side of staying in a HDB flat is that most HDB flats are located near to the MRT stations and bus stations, hence making commuting to work easy.

A 3 bedrooms HDB flat that is close to the CBD will cost approximately $33,000 a month whereas rental for HDB flat further from the CBD area will cost approximately $2,200 to $2,700 a month.

Do bear in mind that foreigners are not allowed to own a HDB flat as it is only catered for Singapore citizens and permanent residents.

2.                  Condominiums
Condominiums in Singapore are privately owned and they are in a gated compound. As Singapore is already a safe country to reside in, staying in a condominium unit is more of an exclusiveness for those who choose to stay in a condominium.

Most expats working in Singapore would prefer staying in condominiums due to the facilities available, such as swimming pool, gymnasium, playground, tennis court, security, BBQ area for you to hold parties  and so on. Furthermore, rental for staying in a condominium unit is relatively cheaper than the rental of staying in a landed property.

In the recent years, new condominium developments focus on having smaller condominium units such as studio units or 1-bedroom units that are below 500 square feet. This is suitable for expats who are still single and wish to enjoy the facilities available in the condominium.

As for condominiums, expats are allowed to buy if they wish to.

3.                  Landed properties
As Singapore is considered a small country with limited lands available, therefore there are not many landed properties available. If you are an expat coming to Singapore with your family and prefer having a bigger space for your family, landed property will be more a more suitable option for you.

The 3 most common types of landed properties available in Singapore are: terrace houses, semi detached houses and bungalows. There is also another type of landed property available - Good Class Bungalow, where it is considered an exclusive type of property in Singapore, as it is typically located in prime areas and have a land area of approximately 15,00 square feet, at least.

Due to the limited availability of landed properties in Singapore, the rental for a landed property will naturally be more expensive than rental for a HDB flat or private condominium. The rental for a detached bungalow that is located in a prime location is approximately $18,000 a month and can go up to as high as $35,000 a month for a luxurious bungalow that comes with 4 bedrooms and a garden. As for terraced house or semi detached house, the rental is slightly cheaper at approximately $8,000 to $13,000 per month.

However, landed properties are only available for sale to Singapore citizens, except for those landed properties located at Sentosa island.

In conclusion, go with what you can afford and what you prefer. Most importantly, stay within your budget. The rental of housing depends on various factors such as the age of property, and distance to the city. Therefore, it is advisable that you think thoroughly before you decide which property to choose.

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