Rental Market Singapore:

House and Apartment Rentals: how and what to rent

Current Situation: Residential Rental Market in 2013

According to the Mercer survey from 2012 Singapore ranks 6 and has again climbed the list of the world’s top 10 most expensive cities. Therefore, it is highly recommended to make yourself familiar with the various residential areas usually preferred by expatriates and their supply before agreeing to your housing allowance. In Singapore cost of accommodation accounts for 40% of cost of living expenses.You can do so by visiting the property directory which lists over 50,000 homes for sale and rent in Singapore and by directly contacting the various registered agents of the individual property listings.

Rentals of private residential properties increased by 0.9% in 3rd Quarter 2012, compared with 0.3% in the previous quarter. The rental market is impacted by the current surge in supply of both HDB and private apartments.

As at the end of 3rd Quarter 2012, there was a total supply of 83,975 uncompleted private residential units from projects in the pipeline3, higher than the 83,251 units in 2nd Quarter 2012. Of the supply in the pipeline, 36,606 units remained unsold as at 3rd Quarter 2012.

There was an additional supply of 9,824 EC units in the pipeline. In total, the pipeline supply of 93,799 units, including ECs, was the highest ever recorded since such data were first available in 2001.

Source: Urban Redevelopment Authority


Photo:Cityscoops Media




Districts and Sections

You may be offered homes either by district or sector numbers. Sector numbers are corresponding to the postcode and have been introduced a couple of years ago but district numbers are still in use. See Locations for more info on selecting the right district and visit the local town portals.

Proceed to the section Education and view a map of all international schools in Singapore or visit the section residential areas for detailed info on where to live and why.


Several housing developments further out are very popular for American and French expatriate families since some international schools have moved out of the town center.

The following Town Portals are a valuable source of information on courses, shopping, services, events and much more in your new neighborhood:



Estate Agents and Home Search Services

Along a booming economy estate agents have been mushrooming in Singapore. Many however are only part time agents and the Singapore government only recently introduced laws to regulate the industry. Licensed property agents passed one of eight state-recognised industry examinations and are registered with the Council of Estate Agencies (CEA). Visit the CEA website for confirmation on a property agent's license.

Agents are paid a pro rate commission being a portion of the monthly rental by the landlords.

If your monthly housing allowance is lower than either S$ 2500 for two years rental or S$ 5000 for one year rental many agents would not like to search for a house for you as their commission will be too low. You may negotiate a fee with the agent to be paid by yourself (usually two weeks rent) or go house hunting via the classified sections in the newspapers to approach landlords directly.

We strongly suggest you work with a reputable company, an agent who knows the market in and out and is used to deal with foreigners and their special demands.

To make sure that you are served to the highest professional standards we run over 26,000 data of available houses and apartments for rent and sale in Singapore in the property directory which is powered by Singapore's largest property website

Note: in general you are not obliged to appoint the agent referred by your company to find you a home in Singapore. Agents in Singapore often cooperate with other agents and share the commission of the landlord. So it is best to note down which agent showed you the property to avoid repeated viewing.




Expatriate Home Profiles

Expatriates moving to Singapore or moving within Singapore have a vast selection of homes to choose from. Their needs vary according to their family status and their living and working conditions. How to define those needs and select a home on these given circumstances is explained in detail in Step 6 of e-relocation Singapore.

Following the e-relocation step-by-step guide will save you a lot of time of visiting unsuitable homes and will reduce time you need to spend in a temporary home such as a serviced apartment or hotel. You are enabled to make choices on your future home based on unbiased information provided from the point of view of expatriates. We have observed that expatriates take great advantage of their knowledge. e-relocation users seldom fall for any unsuitable home thus guaranteeing a smooth and quick settling in process.

We have typecast expatriates coming to Singapore and have selected suitable homes according to their needs as shown below. There are many more available and you can search our database for an overview of all currently available house rentals in Singapore.

Selected apartments for rent for the young and trendy expatriate

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Single or couple, frequent travels, in need of part time cleaning services, want to live close to work and night life, dependant on public transport or taxis to move around in Singapore, sometimes needing a parking space for a company car

Work is dominating his/her life and therefore home has to be close to office with easy access to shops and entertainment. Gym, tennis and pool wanted. Alternatively the new home should be close to a club offering these facilities.

As a single

1-2 bedrooms city apartment , modern fully fitted kitchen , Cable TV, wireless Broadband Connection, fully furnished with modern bathroom fittings, gym, tennis, swimming pool.

As a couple

2 - 3 bedrooms city apartment, fully fitted home office with Internet, master bedroom and guest bedroom with en-suite bathroom, modern fully fitted kitchen , Cable TV, fully or partially furnished and modern bathroom fittings and full condominium facilities.

expat apartment Singapore: Paterson Edgeexpat apartment Singapore: St Martin Residenceexpat apartment Singapore: Cathay Residenceexpat apartment Singapore: Newton Gems


Selected apartments for rent for the expat family in Singapore

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The typical situation for couples with young children: while he is working, she has given up her job and plans to start a family or they already have a very small child. These families want to bring up their children in a safe environment and love light homes surrounded by greenery. They are keen to live close to other expatriate families with young children.

The typical situation for couples with children schooling: Father is typically in an upper management position and travels the region and the family is depending on a close knit expatriate community. Mother is mainly taking care of the children but enjoys her new freedom and more leisure time as a live-in maid takes over the household chores and baby sits. The home must be spaced and ideally have a garden. Its location must be served by the busses of international schools as children's activities are centered there. The family has a car to reach shopping, entertainment and clubs and is not depending on public transport.

Couple with young children

Apartment or house with 3+ bedrooms, guest room with en-suite bathroom for visiting family members, a maid's room, walking distance to the kindergarten or play group. Home should be child safe and close to the daily needs for shopping and a club to meet fellow expatriates. As the spouse often does not have a car, proximity to a Gym, pool and tennis courts is highly appreciated.

Couple with children schooling

4+ bedroom condominium or detached house with pool and a maid's room. Large living, dining and family room with TV/cable connection, extra office a plus. Children's rooms must be able to accommodate desk. Good storage needed, large balcony, terrace or garden. Close to a club if children are teenagers.

expat apartment Singapore: Compass@ Chanceryexpat apartment Singapore: Duchess Crestexpat apartment Singapore: Scotts Residenceexpat apartment Singapore: Regency Park


Selected Apartments for expat senior couples

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The senior is working in a senior position and has an above average housing allowance. The lady is generally not working, children are grown up and will be visiting regularly.
The couple will entertain guests and needs spacious dining and living rooms. The ideal home must feature guest room(s) with ensuite bathrooms. Proximity to the city is not important as the senior may have a driver or a second car for the lady will be available. A detached home or large penthouse will present a suitable home for their lifestyle. A penthouse might suit them best.
expat apartment Singapore: Amaryllis Villeexpat apartment Singapore: The Arc expat apartment Singapore: Four Seasonsexpat apartment Singapore: Tan Chin Tuan Mansion


Housing Allowances

You rental budget is probably the best way for orientation when you start searching for a new home. In general housing allowances adjust to the current market situation within a few months. Naturally downward trends are greeted with a quick response from the human resource departments of multinational companies whereas upward trends need a little longer time to be recognized. As house rentals have gone up by about 30% since the below figures were published we advise you to view the table below with a pinch of salt.

We feature some ways around problems with low rental budgets in e-relocation Singapore and agents are always ready to find a solution to make your housing dreams come true.





The location of your new home is very important as cars are very expensive and not all companies are willing to buy/lease a company car. Partners and family are mainly depending on public transport and taxis or in order to be motorized drive their working partners to/from their office.

The distance to International Schools can be bridged by children being picked up by their respective school's buses that cover almost all parts of Singapore.

It is also safe for teenagers to ride public buses or the MRT and walk. See Commuting Time to find a bus station close to your child's new school.

See Commuting for more info on commuting time and visit the section Districts to make yourself familiar with the names of residential areas.

Shared Apartments

Rents for shared apartments vary between S$ 700 and S$ 1000 per month per person including utilities. To minimize future misunderstandings you may need to agree on:

Try to find a partner to share an apartment via the following expatriate chat rooms.


Contact also the International Associations.

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