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TIPS FOR first-time EXPATRIATE Tenants
Ref: 711238

What is a sufficient rental budget to enable an expatriate
family & 2 dogs to live a comfortable life in Singapore?

Owners of houses wanting to rent to
American Expatriates

Date: Mon, 01 Dec 1997 00:41:16 -0800
From: b........<b.........@Prodigy.Net> Organization: Prodigy Internet

Subject: Ex-Pat to Be?


Hello Dr. Sing:

I am going to receive an offer from my company to be stationed in Singapore. I need to understand the budget I will need in order to be comfortable in your beautiful country.

My family consists of my wife, two small children (2 & 4 yrs old), and two small dogs (poodles). We would be looking for a house. We are use to living in newer homes of about 2.5k sg ft. We would need a minimum of three bedrooms and two baths. We would also like a yard for the children, and dogs. We will bring our own furnishings.

Reply dated December 2, 1997. 3.55 - 5.15 a.m

I presume the budget refers to rental of a newer house with a decent yard (garden) and US$1 = S$1.55. Rentals stated refer to monthly rentals.

The type of houses for an American family with small children and dogs will be:
2 or 3-storey corner terrace
2 or 3-storey semi-detached
2 or 3-storey detached (bungalow), some of which are around 3,000 sq. ft.
2 or 3-storey townhouse over 2,500 sq. ft of living area, in a condominium.


  • If it is within walking distance to the new American School in Woodlands (northern Singapore), the rentals can be as high as US$5,800 unfurnished for a 3-storey intermediate terrace house and more for a corner or semi-detached.
  • Locations in northern Singapore within 30 minutes by school bus (if the children attend the new American School) will be much cheaper.

Rental for a brand new unfurnished 2-storey corner terrace in northern Singapore to an Australian couple by me recently was US$1,935 w.e.f October 1977 (2 years’ lease)

Semi-detacheds are asking around US$2,900 - $3,226. Detacheds with swimming pool can command more than US$6,452. to give a complete picture, although the query is for smaller houses of 2,500 sq. ft of living area.

For locations in prime areas (known as Districts 9, 10 and 11) in southern and central Singapore, the newer houses will be more expensive. For example, a new 3-storey intermediate terrace house (small yard) in Mount Sinai, a place where most expatriates like to live is asking for a rental of US$6,452. I rented a renovated 2-storey intermediate terrace house in Mount Sinai to a single Swiss expatriate for US$2,801 in 1996 but unrenovated ones command much lower rentals at around US$1,935. There are not many new terraces in this vicinity and demand exceeds supply. I rented a Ridgewood Townhouse (renovated, 2,850 sq. ft of living space, 4+1 bedrooms) in Mount Sinai to a British family with one child and dog (Jack Russell) at US$4,516 w.e.f November 1, 1997. Unrenovated townhouses in the same condominium are asking rentals of around $3,226.

I lost a case to another agent in July 1997 when the Swiss family rented a brand new 2-storey intermediate terrace house for US$6,452 instead of an older detached house (renovated well, no swimming pool) in the same vicinity in Namly area, close to Mount Sinai. The banker has the budget. I would have taken the detached (3 years old) because it has the enclosed bigger garden but then, the wife loves the new kitchens and bathrooms.

Slightly away from the prime areas in Chestnut Gardens but within the bus routes for expatriate children attending the International Schools nearby, I rented out a 3-storey corner terrace < 5 years old, unfurnished, to a British family for US$3,226 w.e.f December 1, 1997 (2 years’ lease).

There are not many new corner terraces around (since any row of development has only 2 corner terraces/row with more intermediate terraces) and you will have to be decisive.

I hope above cases done will be helpful. Much depends on where you want to live. If you want to be near the expatriate community in Districts 9, 10 and 11, rentals will be much higher and houses will be older. Expect as much as US$6,452 for a new intermediate terrace house in prime district.

If you want to live and experience the multi-cultural facets of Singaporeans, live in northern Singapore and rentals will be lower because the demand by expatriates is not there.

Presently, I have a brand new 2-storey corner terrace in northern Singapore in the same vicinity as the Australian couple mentioned above, asking for US$1,935. Slightly further by a 5-minute drive, a brand new one for US$2,258. Another renovated semi-detached with security alarm systems and auto-gate asking for US$3,226 in northern Singapore.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. Good luck to your negotiations. The article will be published in Surfers’ Girl USA FAQ as your queries are representative of many American and Australian/New Zealander expatriates looking for spacious accommodation in Singapore.

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