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Housing in Singapore

Renting or purchasing a property in Singapore is pretty much like renting or purchasing a property anywhere else in the world, it's probably going to be messy, confusing and tedious. Hopefully the following will be of help to you in this odious, but necessary, little chore.

First, an obvious point, but still one worth mentioning: It's perhaps best to rely on the recommendations of friends and colleagues who've been "in-country" for a while and have developed their network of contacts to encompass trustworthy people who have solid knowledge on the real-estate market here. If you're a "fresh" expatriate, it may be beneficial to ask your company for information on this matter, the insights that you gain will obviously negate a lot of the hassle you'd otherwise have to go through.

However… if you have no friends… and your company doesn't care about you all that much… then read on…

Price is the obvious first consideration. Clearly define how much you are willing to spend (or your company is willing to spend on you). Consider this carefully and plan accordingly. As you would expect, prices on properties will differ mainly based on location, facilities and proximity to transport systems.

However there may be other considerations as well, such as whether or not the location is a high-profile, affluent one or whether or not the property offers a spectacular sea view instead of a single window facing a bus-stop in Geylang. Lets start with Public Housing…

Public housing in Singapore.

The vast majority of Singaporeans, over 85%, live in (and own) public housing, built by the Housing and Development Board (HDB). These flats / apartments are known as HDB Flats. These are basically townships located all over the island which are pretty much self-contained with integrated shopping malls and supermarkets, medical facilities, schools and recreational facilities. Most of the islands public transport infrastructure is built around these townships with bus and MRT / Subway stations a stones throw away.

Buying Public Housing

Expatriates are allowed to rent any of these properties, however, there are certain criteria if an expat wants to BUY a property. These are:

• Qualified and / or experienced non-residents and PRs (Permanent Residents) with knowledge or skills beneficial to Singapore may purchase residential property. The same goes for PRs and non-residents who make economic contributions to Singapore.
• Unless in a specifically approved building, only residential properties located in buildings six storeys and higher may be purchased.
• If you desire to purchase a property that satisfy neither of the criteria in the second condition, then approval from the following government department is required:

Land Dealings (Approval) Unit
No. 8 Shenton Way
#27-02 Temasek Tower
Singapore 068811
Tel: 6323 9829
Fax: 6323 9937

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