HOUSING: Ample choices to suit all budgets!
It’s no mean feat that Singapore has been ranked the most live- able city for expatriates. Surveys suggest, its excellent infrastructure and amenities, low crime rate, and a large expatriate community may be credited for this honor. These ratings are evaluated on parameters like climate, healthcare, housing, and utilities, personal safety, access to a social network, and leisure facilities. Indeed, housing is one of the major factors having a big defining role to play.
If you are planning to relocate to Singapore as an expatriate, finding suitable accommodation features is most prominently on your agenda. Your choice of the house will make all the difference between having a fantastic expat experience and just about mediocre one.
Public vis-à-vis Private accommodation
House, a very critical component of your experience in Singapore. It is very important that you evaluate your options thoroughly before settling for one. Singapore has multi-layered housing options majorly provided by Government-sponsored Housing & Development Board (HBD) along with private properties. Public housing in Singapore is commonly called HDB flats.
These units are heavily subsidized by the government. Hence they are easily affordable by citizens there. Besides, buyers can utilize CPF grants to further reduce the prices of HDB flats. Although these are substantially cheaper than private housing, these properties come with certain caveats. There is a minimum rental period of six months, can only be rented out to SCs and PRs though can be leased to non-citizens. Also, they need to have Employment Passes, S Passes, Work Permits, Student Passes, Dependent Passes or Long-Term Social Visit Passes with a validity of at least six months.
There are different kinds of landed housing in Singapore. For example -semi-detached houses, terraced homes, cluster houses, townhouses, bungalow, etc. These properties can be expensive. It depends on the plot size as well as location and are usually tied to the land title.
Factors you should consider during your house hunt:
Choose a housing type
Singapore’s housing market is quite different from the rest of the world. About 80% of it belongs to the Housing and Development Board (HDB). It is important to identify whether you want to rent/ buy a private condominium, landed property, serviced apartments, cluster houses, or public housing.
Choose an area
The choice of area is another main consideration for the type of house you are looking at. If your choice is for a landed house with a garden, then suburban areas would be good. If condos are your style, you can find these in inner-city areas. Areas like Orchard Area, Holland Village, Tanglin, Novena, City Centre, Quay, Woodlands, among many others are popular.
Travel time for work
Singapore is very well connected with an excellent public transportation system. For people who prefer to use their cars, the city has the right roads that are linked with major expressways. Therefore, getting around is not a problem. However, preferred commute time should be a determining factor of your choice of residence.
Select an agent and negotiate
You can choose to look for rental properties in Singapore on your own or avail housing agent’s services. The latter is advisable. Though on your own, you can make substantial cost-savings. However, the agent will know all the rules and regulations. The country has quite stringent rules & regulations. With the agent’s services, you can avoid these hassles as he knows the industry best, but don’t forget to negotiate for the best deal.
While considering all this, have a virtual look at the properties on some good web-aggregators’ sites which furnish comprehensive details, conduct virtual tours, price & features comparison tools and have chat lines also to address your queries. This will certainly add to your experience of house hunting in Singapore.