Singapore is often lauded for having among the highest standards of living in the world. As such, you may think that housing costs on the island are high.
While it’s certainly true that there are some spectacularly expensive lodgings to be found here, home rental rates in Singapore can be quite affordable. It all depends on where you choose to stay and the type of property you’re renting. Find out the cost of living in Singapore.
On the other end of the spectrum, don’t expect rentals to be dirt cheap either. For instance, the typical rental rate of a common room in an HDB flat is between S$500 and S$1,200 while landed properties can range up to S$50,000. The great quality of public housing estates means even a modest room in a residential district can command several hundred dollars in rent.
District Map of Singapore
|Postal District||Postal Sector |
(1st 2 digits of 6-digit postal codes)
|01||01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06||Raffles Place, Cecil, Marina Bay, People’s Park|
|02||07, 08||Anson, Tanjong Pagar|
|03||14,15, 16||Queenstown, Tiong Bahru|
|04||09, 10||Telok Blangah, Harbourfront|
|05||11, 12, 13||Pasir Panjang, Hong Leong Garden, Clementi New Town|
|06||17||High Street, Beach Road (part)|
|07||18, 19||Middle Road, Golden Mile|
|08||20, 21||Little India|
|09||22, 23||Orchard, Cairnhill, River Valley|
|10||24, 25, 26, 27||Ardmore, Bukit Timah, Holland Road, Tanglin|
|11||28, 29, 30||Watten Estate, Novena, Thomson|
|12||31, 32, 33||Balestier, Toa Payoh, Serangoon|
|13||34, 35, 36, 37||Macpherson, Braddell|
|14||38, 39, 40, 41||Geylang, Eunos|
|15||42, 43, 44, 45||Katong, Joo Chiat, Amber Road|
|16||46, 47, 48||Bedok, Upper East Coast, Eastwood, Kew Drive|
|17||49, 50, 81||Loyang, Changi|
|18||51, 52||Tampines, Pasir Ris|
|19||53, 54, 55, 82||Serangoon Garden, Hougang, Punggol|
|20||56, 57||Bishan, Ang Mo Kio|
|21||58, 59||Upper Bukit Timah, Clementi Park, Ulu Pandan|
|22||60, 61, 62, 63, 64||Jurong|
|23||65, 66, 67, 68||Hillview, Dairy Farm, Bukit Panjang, Choa Chu Kang|
|24||69, 70, 71||Lim Chu Kang, Tengah|
|25||72, 73||Kranji, Woodgrove|
|26||77, 78||Upper Thomson, Springleaf|
|27||75, 76||Yishun, Sembawang|
Pros and Cons of Renting
Owning a property in Singapore is considered a huge milestone. However, not everyone can afford a property at the moment. That said, it would make sense to rent a property. Before you decide, make sure to weigh the pros and cons of renting.
- Short-term financial commitment. The minimum rental period in Singapore is 6 months for HDB and 3 months for private condominiums, apartments, and landed homes.
- Renting a unit may be cheaper than buying a property since it typically doesn’t require a huge downpayment.
- Many rental flats and properties are fully furnished so you can move in at any time.
- You don’t have to stay in one place for years. Once your rental contract ends, you can move to a new location, making it ideal for those looking for flexibility.
- You don’t have to worry about home maintenance.
- You don’t own the property.
- You may be liable for any damage done to the property
- Any modification or renovation is not allowed. Make sure to check with the landlord first before making any changes
- No rental subsidies, but you may be eligible for rental assistance
- You can’t use CPF to pay rent
- The landlord would evict you if you fail to follow their rules, or if they decide to stay in their own home.
Typical Home Rental Rates in Singapore
Here’s a summary of the typical rental rates in Singapore for different types of properties.
|Type of Property||Price Range of Rentals (per month)|
|Common room in HDB flat||$500 to $1,200|
|Common room in condominium||$1,000 to $1,900|
|Studio apartment in condominium||$1,600 to $4,000|
|3-room HDB flat||$2,300 to $4,000|
|3-room apartment in condominium||$2,800 to $6,500|
|Landed property in private estates |
(with 3 bedrooms)
|$4,500 to $50,000|
As you’d have noticed, rental prices vary greatly, even if you’re only looking to rent a simple, no-frills bedroom.
This is because of Singapore’s economic prosperity, which has given rise to a large range of household incomes. As a result, there’s a rich variety of property housing types, with corresponding rental rates. Find out more on the best home loan in Singapore.
Factors That Impact Rental Rates
1. Private developments or public estate
Due to the need to save space, high-rise apartment buildings are among the most common residential options available.
However, whether you choose to rent a room in a private development (such as a condominium) or in a public housing estate (aka HDB flats, after the Housing and Development Board, the agency charged with their supply) will make a huge difference to the rental rates you’ll pay.
A common room in an HDB flat may be rented for as low as $500 to $600 a month. Pick a condominium and you can expect to pay at least twice that amount.
Reasons for the difference include the higher service fees condominium owners have to pay for the upkeep of the various amenities, as well as the prestige of living in a gated community.
2. Location of the property
Singapore’s central business district, the downtown core, and the city fringes are among the most sought-after precincts when it comes to housing. These distinct zones owe their elevated status in large part to carefully controlled city planning, which had the effect of carving out colorful enclaves imbued with their own characteristics.
Hence, rental apartments vary widely in cost depending on where they are located. For instance, an HDB common room in a new town located on the outskirts may seek $800 a month in rent. Meanwhile, a similar room in the city center may ask for $1,200 – a 50% increase!
The rental rates for condominium apartments can be even more volatile due to the presence of luxury developments, which tend to only be found in traditionally upmarket districts.
3. Type of property
A third major determinant of home rental costs in Singapore is the type of property you’re looking to rent.
While apartments are abundant and common, there are also landed properties such as shophouses, terrace houses, semi-detached houses, and even bungalows. With their unique characteristics, these housing options no doubt provide a different living experience.
However, they won’t come cheap, due to a combination of high land prices and rarity (only about 5% of the population stays in landed properties).
Rents start from several thousand dollars and can go up as high as $60,000 for ultra-luxurious modern bungalows.
4. Property Size
Aside from the location, another factor that affects rental prices is the size of the property. The larger the square footage of the unit, the higher the rental costs.
For instance, the rental costs of a one-room HDB flat are around S$500 while renting a 3-room HDB will cost around S$2,300. If you wish to rent a luxurious private landed property with three bedrooms, you’ll be looking at rental costs of up to S$50,000.
5. Age and Condition
A new property tends to have higher rental costs compared to older properties. Additionally, well-kept premises with a well-trimmed and fenced yard have a higher chance of attracting tenants. On the other hand, a property that is in bad condition may be priced lower. However, the tenant may have to deal with the damages and less than stellar home maintenance.
Typically, this is not a problem for public housing and non-landed properties in Singapore. These properties are usually maintained by contractors.
Rental Rates in Different Areas of Singapore
Here’s a quick look at home rentals around Singapore. We’ve listed the upper-end of the typical rentals in these zones to give you an idea. You are likely to find suitable options for lower.
|Home Rents |
|Business Core and City Centre (Districts: 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 to 10)||City Outskirts (Districts: 3, 4, 11, 12, 20)||Heartlands (Districts: all others)|
|Common room (HDB)||Up to $1,200||Up to $1,000||Up to $800|
|Common room (Condo)||Up to $2,500||Up to $1,700||Up to $1,700|
|Studio apartment (condo)||Up to $3,800||Up to S3,500||Up to $3,600|
|3-room flat (HDB)||Up to $4,000||Up to $4,200||Up to $3,100|
|3-room apartment (condo)||Up to $14,000||Up to $8,000||Up to $5,100|
|Landed property (3 bedrooms)||Up to $20,000||Up to $50,000||Up to $9,000|
Factors To Consider When Picking an Area
Based on the tables above, you can see how the rental costs vary depending on the type of property. So before you start shopping for the perfect place to rent in Singapore, here are a few factors you need to take into account.
1. Your Budget
The most practical thing to do is set your rental budget before you start looking for a unit or home rental. Doing so will help you avoid making impulsive decisions. Plus, it’ll help you create a list of units that fit within your price range.
Say your monthly rental budget is S$1,200. With this budget, you may be able to afford a bedroom in a shared apartment at Newton.
So how do you set your budget? Your budget will depend on how much you can afford. Make sure that your rental costs will not affect your daily or weekly spending. Don’t set a rental budget that you’re unable to maintain in case of emergencies.
2. Location and Accessibility
Of course, the location of the rental home is a crucial factor in making your decision. When choosing a place to rent in Singapore, you may want to opt for places near your office, schools, groceries, churches, and other social amenities.
Consider the following when you check out the property you wish to rent:
- What form of public transport do you prefer? If you prefer going around via MRT, how far is the unit to the nearest station?
- Can you comfortably get to work in time?
- If you have children, will you be able to send them to school on time?
- How far is the property to the nearest train station or bus stop?
- How far is the park, mall, or your favorite hang-out?
- What is the traffic situation during rush hour? Will this affect your hours when going to work or school?
Rental units that are more convenient and accessible may have higher rental costs. Aside from accessibility, you must also consider the availability of water and electricity.
3. Rental Property Rules and Regulations
When checking out a rental home, make sure to ask about the property rules and regulations. Doing so may help you narrow down your options.
For example, some landlords may not allow smoking within the rental property. Some may not allow pets in the unit.
Note: If the rental property has no pet restrictions, ensure that your pet is on HDB’s list of approved dog breeds. HDB does not allow pet cats on the property.
Additionally, if you’re planning to rent an HDB flat with a common room, ask whether you’re allowed to entertain visitors. It’s also good to ask if there are limitations to the use of the common areas.
4. The Neighbors
You smell second-hand cigarette smoke drifting in from your open room window or someone from upstairs starts blasting their playlists. These are just some nightmare scenarios, but you get the point.
Check for bad neighbors before signing the lease contract. To get a feel of what it’s like to live with your neighbors, consider visiting the property at different hours of the day. Doing so will help you gauge how noisy they are.
Additionally, if you have a health problem that may be exacerbated by second-hand smoke, check out the communal areas. If you find cigarette buds or smell cigarette smoke on the property during your visit, one of your neighbors may be a smoker.
5. Available Furniture In The Unit
Is the rental home semi-furnished, or unfurnished? If you’re only staying for a short period, it’s best to choose a fully- or semi-furnished unit. However, if you’re renting with your family and planning to settle for a year or more, you may want to bring in your own furniture.
If you’re renting a fully- or semi-furnished property, the landlord may give you an inventory list. Double-check that each item on the list is accounted for. As a tip, take note of the state of each item, such as pre-existing damage.
6. Rental Lease Terms
Keep in mind that the minimum rental period for tenants in an HDB property is 6 months and 3 months for private properties. You need to rent the unit for consecutive months. There is no daily or weekly leasing available.
Some landlords may offer discounts if you sign a longer lease. But before you sign the lease contract, make sure to read the tenancy agreement so you will not miss anything.
Process When Renting a Room or Home in Singapore
Step 1: List Your Requirements
Before you start looking for a rental property, you need to determine what you’re looking for. Here’s a sample list of requirements. Let’s say you’re a 28-year-old looking for a unit near your new office.
|Type of property||HDB flat or common room in a condominium|
|Location||A unit near an MRT station or at least 15 to 30 minutes away from your office|
|Facilities and furnishings||Own bathroom, bed, and air conditioning unit|
|Monthly rent||S$1,000 to S$1,500|
Step 2: Kick-Start Your Hunt for a Rental Property
Now that you have a list of requirements, it’s time to explore listings. You can look for online listings and compare rental prices. Or you can hire an agent who can help in looking for rental properties based on your requirements. If you avail of their services, some agents provide transport services between property viewings.
The catch? Hiring an agent means paying a commission fee. It’s usually half a month to a month’s worth of rent.
Step 3: Visit The Property
Property listings online look presentable and amazing, but may not feel right for you once you see them for yourself. At the same time, some listings may look unattractive online, but look much better in real life.
That said, make time in your schedule and visit the property. Doing so will also help you check out the neighborhood. Here are some things to look out for:
- Condition of the roads nearby
- Ongoing construction
- Condition of the building
- Noise level of the neighbors
Step 4: Make an Offer
Once you’ve chosen a rental unit that is within your budget, it’s time to make an offer to the landlord. Don’t settle for a verbal agreement. Unless an offer is made on paper, there’s nothing stopping the landlord from renting out the place to someone else with a better offer.
So it’s best to hand in an offer letter, a text message, or an email. Make sure to get the landlord to respond so you’ll have proof that they have agreed to your terms and to rent the place to you.
Step 5: Sign a Letter of Intent
To secure your offer, you’ll need to sign a letter of intent.
A letter of intent is proof that you intend to enter into a tenancy agreement with your landlord. At the same time, it also shows that your landlord agrees to rent out the unit to you. Keep in mind though that the letter of intent is not legally binding unless specified that the parties involved are legally bound to the terms.
At this stage, you may want to negotiate the terms of your tenancy agreement. For instance, you may want to negotiate the rules regarding visitors, the curfew, or whether you’re allowed to use the common kitchen.
Lastly, the landlord may ask for a good faith deposit, also known as a booking deposit, with the Letter of Intent. The deposit may be a month’s worth of rent for year-long leases.
Step 6: Sign The Tenancy Agreement
Before signing the agreement, the lease terms and details must be mutually agreed upon. Make sure to thoroughly read and voice out any terms you don’t agree with. If the landlord did not ask you to pay a good faith deposit when you handed in the letter of intent, they will require you to pay for the security deposit once you sign the tenancy agreement.
Already signed the tenancy agreement? Congrats, you’re now officially renting the place!
Step 7: Pay Your Rent On Time
You’ll need to pay your rent on time every month. Otherwise, your landlord may not renew your contract when it ends, or worse – they may evict you.
Ask your landlord about their preferred mode of payment. Some landlords will ask you to pay via bank transfer while others prefer the payment made by check or in cash.
How Much Money Should You Prepare?
The security deposit is not the only expense you should worry about. So make sure you have enough cash set aside to pay for the additional fees that come with renting a unit or condo in Singapore.
- Downpayment: Typically, the downpayment amounts to one month’s worth of rent for a year-long lease and two months’ worth of rent for a 2-year long lease.
- Agent’s Fees: This is only applicable if you hired an agent. You will need to pay a commission fee that amounts to a half-a-month or one month’s rent. However, some agents may charge up to 0.75 or 1 month’s rent for leases up to 2 years.
- Internet and Utility Bills: Depending on your rental terms and details, you may be required to pay for the utility and internet bills. So prepare to pay for yours at the end of the first month. Internet bills may amount to S$30 and utility bills can go as high as S$60.
- Furnishings: Depending on whether the unit you chose is furnished, semi-furnished, or completely bare, you may need to buy bed frames, sofas, etc.
Lastly, consider other additional expenses such as internet or cable TV set-up fees, especially if the unit doesn’t come with it or the other tenants don’t have a subscription.
Eligibility Criteria for Tenants
If you’re not a Singaporean Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident, you must have the following:
- A valid Employment Pass or Work Permit, such as an S-Pass
- A Student Pass
- A Dependent Pass
- A long-term social visit pass
The passes must be valid for at least six months from the date of application. Additionally, if you have a work permit from any of these sectors, you must be Malaysian:
Lastly, tourists are not allowed as tenants.
Other Questions You Might Still Have
What Are the Cheapest Estates To Rent an HDB Flat?
Based on the 4Q2021 statistics, the top 3 cheapest towns to rent a 3-room flat are the following:
What Is the Minimum Rental Period in Singapore?
The minimum rental period in Singapore is currently 3 months for private properties, such as condominiums and landed properties. For public housing or HDB, the minimum rental period is set at 6 months.
Are Rents Negotiable in Singapore?
Yes, you can negotiate your rent in Singapore.
The HDB website contains an inquiry page that you can use to find out the average rental prices for flats in Singapore. You can simply do a search for similar flats in the area to see what’s the going rate, so to speak.
Here are a few tips to negotiate your rent:
- Research the rental rates, especially in the district you want and the type of property you wish to rent.
- Know your bargaining position by understanding the current state of the rental market. When you do your homework, you may be able to negotiate a S$1,400 rent to a S$1,100 rent per month.
- Play hard-to-get. During the property viewing, don’t show how much you love the unit. Additionally, don’t reveal the maximum amount you’re willing to pay.
- Consider how factors, such as furniture and utilities, affect the rental price. If you already have your own furniture, ask the landlord if you can use your own furniture or if opting for a bare unit will get you a lower rent.
If you’re being offered a markedly high rent without good reason, you know you have room to negotiate downwards. At the same time, don’t be too eager to pounce on an offer that is significantly lower. There could be issues with the room or unit that may not be apparent until later.
Can a Landlord Enter Your Room Without Approval?
In Singapore, the landlord can legally access any part of his property, including a room that’s being rented out. To avoid such unpleasant situations, it’s best to cover them in your leasing contract. For instance, you can state that you prohibit the landlord from unjustly entering your room without your approval.
Are there other ways to secure your rights as a tenant in Singapore?
- Ask your landlord to get written permission before they can enter your room.
- Ask your landlord to inform you before entering your room. Prohibit them from entering without prior notice.
- Specify certain situations, such as emergency cases, where the property owner can enter your room.
- List penalties for violating your tenant rights
What Are The Popular Locations With Expats and Renters?
- Tiong Bahru – Filled with cafes and bar scenes, making it attractive to young professionals. It is also near the CBD and city core.
- Holland – A short ride from Orchard Road. A good choice for young professionals working at NUS.
- Farrer Park or Little India – Near the CBD and central entertainment districts
- Paya Lebar / Eunos – Near the CBD, Changi Business Park, and city center.
- Woodlands / Jurong – Preferred by expat families with children who go to international schools.
What Is the Public Rental Scheme?
Flats under the Public Rental Scheme are offered to Singaporean households who have no other housing options. It is open to Singaporean Citizens with a monthly household income ceiling of S$1,500.
With this scheme, you can rent a studio apartment or two-room flat from HDB. The rental price will depend on your income, flat type, and applicant status. Additionally, you are required to pay a 1-month rent deposit once you collect the keys.
|Monthly Household Income||Applicant Type||Monthly Rent|
|$800 or less||First-timer||$26 – $33||$44 – $75|
|Second-timer||$90 – $123||$123 – $165|
|Between $801 and $1,500||First-timer||$90 – $123||$123 – $165|
|Second-timer||$150 – $205||$205 – $275|
You can learn more about it here.
How to Make Sure You’re Not Getting a Raw Deal
If you’re new to the rental market in Singapore, finding a suitable home to rent may be an intimidating exercise. It can certainly be exhausting, with seemingly endless rounds of viewings and negotiations.
- The typical rental rate of a common room in an HDB flat is between S$500 and S$1,200 while landed properties can range up to S$50,000
- Different factors affect rental rates, such as the type of property, location, size, as well as age and condition of the property.
- When you find the property you wish to rent, submit a letter of intent and sign the tenancy agreement.
- Make sure to thoroughly read the terms and details of the tenancy agreement and don’t be afraid to voice your concerns.