Types of properties for expats and foreigners in Singapore

Singapore as a country is well known for its safety and economy has attracted many expatriates from all over the world to work here. Furthermore, Singapore’s culture, local food, education and average salary are also factors that attract many foreigners to build a career here. However, as a foreigner, everything seems new to you and you do not know where to start. As a foreigner in Singapore, you most probably will rent a house in Singapore instead of buying new properties. this article, we will guide you through the different types of properties that expats and foreigners can rent in Singapore.

  1. HDB Flats

Most foreigners will notice many HDB flats when they first came to Singapore. The HDB flats are public housing in Singapore and it is very common to see Singaporeans staying in one of those HDB flats. Approximately 80% of the residential properties in Singapore consist of HDB flats. Contrary to the belief that public housing, also commonly known as the HDB flats in Singapore are mainly built for the poor, most Singaporean from the middle and upper middle income are actually staying in HDB flats.

HDB flats would normally have 2 bedrooms to 4 bedrooms, ranging from 700 sq ft to 1,300 sq ft, depending on the owner’s needs. In addition, HDB flats come with a living room, a dining area, kitchen and toilets, with one attached to the master bedroom.

Expatriates and foreigners will easily find one HDB flat to rent as HDB flats are all over Singapore, so foreigners can find any HDB flats in the area that is convenient to them. However, it is harder to find available HDB flat in the prime areas such as the Central Business District (CBD) and Orchard Road. Do take note that HDB flats that are located nearer to prime areas or city centre such as Kallang and Tiong Bahru would have a higher rental cost as compared those HDB flats that are located further from the city centre. Fret not, as public transportation such as MRT and bus are easily found and are usually within walking distance from the HDB flat.

Another thing to note, foreigners are not allowed to buy any HDB flats as only the citizens of Singapore and permanent residents of Singapore are allowed to buy HDB flats.

  1. Condominiums

Condominiums are properties that are privately owned and are usually in a gated area. Condominiums are also considered as properties that are more exclusive among the citizens. Condominiums are also easily found and can be found in all housing estates, including the prime area such as the Central Business District and Orchard Road. Prices to rent a condominium unit in Singapore would also be higher than to rent a HDB flat in Singapore.

Condominiums usually come with facilities as well, such as swimming pool, gymnasium, sauna, tennis court, function hall and BBQ area for the residents. In the past few years, condominium developments focus on building smaller condominium units such as 1 bedroom condominium units or studio apartment with smaller size – 500 sq ft and below. This is different from the usual HDB flats where they come with at least 2 bedrooms to 4 bedrooms. That being said, if you are a foreigner coming to Singapore on your own or with your spouse, you can definitely consider renting a smaller unit with a lower rent while enjoying the facilities that are provided in the condominium.

As for condominiums, foreigners are able to buy themselves a condominium if they are interested in owning a property in Singapore.

  1. Landed Property

As Singapore is just a small country with limited available lands, landed properties are definitely lesser as compared to HDB flats and condominiums. There are only approximately 5% homes in Singapore that are landed properties. Landed properties in Singapore range from terrace house, which is the most common landed property found in Singapore, followed by semi detached houses, then bungalows. Moreover, there is also another type of landed property that is considered the most exclusive type of property – the Good Class Bungalow (GCBs). The GCB is a huge bungalow that has land area with at least 15,000 sq ft and is usually located in prime areas. Therefore, to rent a landed property in Singapore is definitely going to cost you more than just renting HDB flat or condominium. If you are moving to Singapore with your family and your budget allows, you can definitely opt to rent a landed property in Singapore.

Similar rule applies as buying a HDB flat, only Singapore citizens are allowed to buy a landed property. However, there is an exception. Foreigners are allowed to buy landed properties located in the Island of Sentosa.

In conclusion, think thoroughly before deciding on which type of properties to rent in Singapore. Stay within your budget and check your needs before signing the lease contract, as most lease will come with at least 12 months lease contract.

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