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TIPS FOR first-time EXPATRIATE Tenants
Ref: 711239

Is Singapore housing for American Expatriates
cheaper than Hongkong?

Owners of houses wanting to rent to
American Expatriates
PLEASE CONTACT ME at 9668 6468, 254 7944 NOW!

Date: Tue, 2 Dec 1997 11:03:14 -0500 (EST)
Subject: housing for American expatriate family in Singapore

Hi David,

My wife and our two daughters (ages 10 and 12) are expatriating to either Hong Kong or Singapore. My company is leaning towards Hong Kong because they feel it is less expensive. I am conducting research to convince them otherwise because I feel Singapore would be a much better place to live!

Here are out requirements:
Located in an expatriate community, near American schools
three or four bedrooms preferred, 2000+ sq. ft.
expect to expatriate summer 1998

Thank you!

December 3, 1997 5 .am


Thank you for writing to me.

  • Where are your company’s customers? If it is in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Mynamar, Vietnam and India, the better location will be Singapore because you will be spending less time travelling and your company saves on travelling/hotel expenses.

Feedback from ex-expatriates from Hongkong. Discussion with expatriates who had worked in Hongkong and now based in Singapore revealed that housing is definitely cheaper in Singapore. I can refer you to one person who has relocated here and I am sure the American Club has more referrals.

Official surveys: Excessive supply of housing causing rentals to drop by 10 - 20% with the trend downwards. There is a severe glut of new developments, causing great stress to Developers and Landlords and allowing prospective Tenants great diversity of choices and get away with many demands. There is an anticipated 12,000 - 14,000 new units to be available in 1997-1998 and rentals have had dropped considerably. The Inland Revenue Department publishes statistics on rental trends.

Your requirements of housing stated above:

Older Condominiums in expatraite areas such as Pandan Valley Condos are renting at <US$3,125/month. US$1 = S$1.60 presently. Leedon Heights 3-bedroom apartments are renting at <US$2,108/month but living space is around 1,700 sq. ft.

Older houses on the fringe of expatraite areas such as Chestnut Gardens, 5-minute drive from the major expatriate area in Mount Sinai area are renting for around US$3,125/month.

Consider northern/southern vicinity (central area)of Singapore as it is much nearer to the new American School. As the new American School is in Woodlands, you are better off living in the northern half of Singapore. Rentals there are as low as US$1,807 and I can refer you to an Australian couple who has just got a brand new 2-storey corner terrace at $1,807. 4-bedrooms, over 2,000 sq. ft and side garden for the dog to patrol. The wife takes a 30-minute bus ride to the American Club in town where she is a member and a US$6.25 taxi fare back.

If you want to live in an expatriate area, there are cheaper accommodation as many Landlords are now more flexible and less demanding. Of course, brand new houses in prime expatriate areas still ask for higher rentals. Please refer to Surfers’ Girl USA No. 711238 (attached as it is not published yet) and others for more ground information on Singapore housing.

If your research includes direct testimonials from ex-Hongkong expatriates, government statistics and opinions from real estate firms, your company will find that equivalent housing ($/sq. ft of living space) will be much cheaper in Singapore than in Hongkong. In Hongkong, the living space includes common corridors and elevator space and therefore $/sq. ft appears lower. In addition, the Tenant (your Company or you) pays the maintenance fees for condos.

Some rental figures are in my website, Please contact me if you require further information and affordable housing. As you have 2 daughters, I would recommend a condominium.

I am able to get your family a 4-bedroom condominium in the expatriate community but much depends on your budget. I get too many calls from Owners, mostly older condominiums and housing, to list their properties in the past 3 months, unlike in early 1997. This indicates a trend that Owners of older housing are having great difficulty in getting Tenants.

However those flexible and are prepared to take a 30 - 50% drop in rentals to compete with newer developments which may be "sexier" in presentation.

Some Owners of a new development in Bukit Timah Road/Clementi vicinity have had been advised by the Developer/Managing Agents to set a standard high rentals although their locations do not justify such rentals e.g. US$3,012 for a 2-bedroom apartment. They do not realise that the advisers have their self-interest in renting unsold units as "service apartments".

Also, a Developer in the East Coast has even rented out their unsold units for the past 3 months while delaying occupancy permits for Owners, so as to gain a headstart.

All these Owners, especially first-time investors, will be realistic in 1998 as they gain more knowledge and become pro-active. There will be more units within your budget which I speculate will be around US$4,217. Am I right?

I will be most grateful if you will send me a copy of your survey later so that others can share your knowledge and benefit. Best wishes..

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