Housing

Singapore may be small but not when it comes to the range of comfortable residences available.

Wide Selection of Accommodation

Condominiums are a popular choice with both locals and non-locals. The vast range of facilities, from swimming pool and gym to round-the-clock security and scenic surroundings, provide for a comfortable lifestyle, especially for families. For a listing of condominiums, click here.

Serviced apartments are a convenient alternative. Apart from the usual condominium facilities, value-added services such as a cleaning service, laundry and room service are usually included. Some serviced apartments include:

For a listing of serviced apartments available, click here.

If your preference is for landed property, you will find that there is a fair variety in Singapore. Landed property includes bungalows, semi-detached houses, terrace houses, cluster houses and townhouses. You may click here to search for landed property in Singapore.

A unique type of Singapore housing are the black and white bungalows, which were houses built during Singapore’s colonial past and are now owned by the government. These houses are very airy, roomy and sometimes come double-storied with servants’ quarters. These bungalows have no facilities but are popular with expatriates for their size and quaint feel – the catch is that they are few and far between. 

Renting a Property

There are no restrictions on non-citizens renting a residential unit. Most who are new to Singapore engage a housing agent to source for a property that meets their needs. Or if you prefer, you may like to browse the local newspapers' classifieds section which advertises a list of private apartments, condominiums and houses for rent in Singapore. However, engaging a housing agent better ensures that your interests are protected, especially with regards to the lease.

Click here for a list of registered housing agents in Singapore. (Refer to CEA's consumer guides to find out more).

The cost of renting a place depends on:

  • Location. Popular residential areas in Singapore are Districts 9, 10 and 11, which are close to the Central Business District. Areas close to MRT stations and the new waterfront along the Singapore River are quickly gaining in popularity too.
  • Size and condition of the place.
  • Amenities. Condominiums with full facilities may command a higher price. Rent also depends on whether the place is furnished, partially furnished or unfurnished.

These are the steps in renting a place:

  • Sign a lease with the owner, the terms of which are agreed between the two parties. Most landlords and housing agents ask to see your Employment Pass before agreeing to the lease.
  • Sign an inventory listing of all the items provided by the owner, including their condition.
  • Usually, a deposit or “security bond” equivalent to one month’s rent is required for leases that are over a year.
  • Rental usually excludes utility bills but includes maintenance fees.

Approximate rental costs are:

Property Estimated cost (SGD) per month
Good Class bungalow (4-bedroom, at least 1,400sqm) 28,000 – 45,000
Bungalow, penthouse 14,000 upwards
Terrace house 4,500 upwards
High-end serviced apartment 8,000 upwards
Condominium 2,500 upwards

Private residential apartments, condominiums and houses are intended for long-term stays. Current regulations do not allow these residential units to be rented on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Usually, the lease commitment has to be for a minimum period of six months.

To ensure a good living environment for residents, each occupant has to occupy at least 10sqm of the entire residential unit floor area, with the total occupancy not exceeding eight occupants per unit. This includes the owners if they are also staying at the premises.

For your own protection, be wary of renting any property that has been illegally repartitioned. Typically, a residential unit in Singapore should include basic functional amenities such as a kitchen, bathrooms, bedroom, and living and dining areas. Tell-tale signs that the property may have been illegally repartitioned include the presence of many small cubicle-like rooms (with or without their own separate utility meters) or the lack of basic functional amenities so that the premises no longer resemble a typical residential dwelling.

Buying a Property

Buying real estate is a consideration for those planning to stay in Singapore for the long-term. Under the Residential Property Act (RPA), there are no restrictions on non-citizens buying a private apartment or condominium unit, although prior approval from the government is needed for purchase of landed property.

As with rental, buying a property through an licensed estate agent is preferable (Refer to CEA's consumer guides to find out more). For more details on foreign ownership of residential properties under the RPA, visit the Singapore Land Authority website.

Short-Term Accommodation

Maybe you are just looking to stay for a while or you prefer to look for short-term accommodation, as you take your time to explore your work or residential options. There is a wide variety of short-term options to suit all budgets and personal preferences for those living in Singapore for a short period. These range from serviced apartments to world-class five-star hotels.

The Singapore Tourism Board website lists a comprehensive directory of places to stay and their estimated price range.