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Singapore : Guide to Housing & Accomodation

How to find a place to stay in Singapore ?

mercredi 28 août 2002, par DlyNouille

I have worked in Singapore for some times. Finding a place to stay was that not easy. Actually it took me several weeks before finding a good place to stay. Here are some tips for you resulting from my experience.

Singapore Housing

Tips for Housing/Accommodation in Singapore

By David Ly, Edited last date : 28/08/02, 2nd edition

This page aims to give some tools and some tips to find a place to live (buying or renting) in Singapore.


A. Tips

1. Abbreviations/Legend

B. Useful resources

A. Where to find a rental place in the newspapers

B. Where to find a rental place on-line

C. More resources

D. Locate in a map a place in Singapore


I have been looking for a while a rental place for more than a month and I can tell you where you might find useful places on-line. It depends what kind of rental you are looking for. Since I was looking a room then a whole unit, I can tell you for these two categories what are the best websites to check out.

A. Tips

1. Abbreviations/Legend

Decoding a rental advertisement

a. Type of Housing

- HDB (House Development Board) : Housing provided by the Government. 80% persons living in HDB are owners. It is definitely the cheapest housing in Singapore. It goes from very old and dirty HDB to modern, clean and designed HDB.

- Condominiums (also Condo) : Housing especially designed for expatriates (‘expats’) or foreigners, who usually can afford such a place. Most of them have sport facilities (swimming pool, tennis court, gym and/or jacuzzi/spa).

- Service Apartments : Hotel-like accommodation (everything furnished) at a very expensive rate. Usually paid by expats’ company while looking for a new place to live.

b. Housing Description/Details

- Master bedroom (also MBR) : A room with a toilet/bathroom attached.

- Common room : A room with no toilet/bathroom attached. It is outside. Can be next to the kitchen.
SCV : Cable Television.

- Fully-furnished (also ‘f/f’) or Partially-furnished (also ‘p/f’) : Unit is provided with, without or partially with furniture.

- Whole unit : whole apartment.

- Co-broke : It means that agents are dealing between them. So there will be an extra fee. Already co-broke means that the fees were already paid (or there is an arrangement between the agents) and No co-broke might mean that you will be put in contact directly with the owner. Most of the time when it is not specified, you are put in direct contact with the owner.

- Queen-size bed : 1.5 x 2.0 m, King-size bed : 1.9 x 2.0 m
Unless it is specified, air-conditioning (also ‘aircon’) is not provided (for HDB places).

If you don’t mind having no aircon, check for ceiling fan. It can be very hot sometimes in Singapore.

c. Other tips

How to detect by phone if it is an agent or not ? Just ask regarding the apartment they are renting. If they ask ‘where ?’ then it is probably an agent. Then you might directly ask ‘Are you an agent ?’

When you publish your ad, do not forget to put the mention ‘ No Agents/ Owners Only !’ if you want to avoid receiving calls/emails from agents. It can be harassing.
Agents charge you half-a-month rent for rentals under $2500, above it is free for you. The landlord pays ! If you buy/sell, commission is about 1% to 2% according to my agent (negotiable of course).

If you are on budget, of course, it is better to avoid agents as you do not pay the agency fee. It depends how long you plan to stay in Singapore and what kind of place you are looking for (a room or a whole unit). Having an agent for both parties will save you all the troubles that might arise between the two parties. Personally, just for a room and a short time, I will prefer to avoid agents but for a whole unit, it is different.

The Diplomatic clause is very useful in the contract. Negotiate the period when you can use this clause ! That allows you to break the lease agreement in case you are not employed in Singapore anymore (and therefore you are able to claim the deposit back).

B. Useful resources

A. Where to find a rental place in the newspapers

Check for the Straits Times on their Saturday edition.

- Straits Times On-line

B. Where to find a rental place on-line

- PROPBUZZ : http://www.propbuzz.com
(used by singnet search engine also at : http://classifieds.singnet.com.sg/property.htm)

Review : Very popular website. Daily update, with tons of ads available. There are many owner ads in the room rental category and mostly agents ads in the whole unit category. If you are looking for a whole unit (HDB), you will have most of the time to deal with an agent. Only few people directly rent their unit entirely. What is good here, you can make directly the difference between an agent ad and an owner ad (in black). Recommended for Room Rental/ Whole Unit Rental in HDB.

Review : Very popular website among expats. Daily update. Only owner ads are published. This is the place to check if you are looking to share a condo with other foreigners. Recommended for Room Rental in CONDO.

Review : Good website also to check for Rooms and Whole Units in HDB and Condos. Daily update. Agent ads and owner ads can be differentiated.

Review : Classifieds from the Straits Times. Good but cannot make differences between owners and agents ads, unless specifically stated. Published with a delay compared to the paper edition.

Review : Good website for rooms and whole units rental (HDB). Good search engine but unfortunately not a lot of ads.

Some other websites to check but not quite efficient. Cannot make difference between owners and agents ads. Information given might not be quite detailed and relevant. On Adpost.com, posting date is missing. A lot of agents are spamming these websites.


C. More resources
- Classifieds
- Residential
- Agencies

D. Locate in a map a place in Singapore

More : http://directory.google.com/Top/Regional/Asia/Singapore/Maps_and_Views/

E. Other useful articles/resources

Review : Good info there but the author forget to mention as far as agencies are concerned, you pay a fee half-a-month rent for rentals under $2500.

Review : For budget people. Might find good places where to stay for short-term period.

Review : Very good website with a forum where you can ask your questions or get answers from expats living in Singapore. Note : the webmaster for living acts a property agent, so no info that might interfere with its business is published unless being paid.

Review : Very good website. A portal to access easily and quickly to all useful websites related to Singapore.

Budget Hotels

While looking for a room, here are some addresses of budget hotels (backpackers, short term rental, people on budget), I haven’t tried these budget hotels but it’s worth looking at them. :

- NSSHotel : Good rates for dormitory (SG$17/night). Average price of SG$50 for a standard room.

- A travellers Rest Stop : Starting from SGD$18 a night

- Haising : SG$20 for a dormitory room, starting from SG$40 for a standalone room.

- Hotel 81 : Single bed for Backpackers starting at $24.50 a night

- Hangout Hotels : Dormitory (4-bed room) starting from $SG 35.00 a night

- Hotel 88 : Rates starting from SG$40 for a standard room

There is a discussion on budget hotels, click here

Other hotels
- Astro Hotel : starting from $SG 50
- A list of hotels here

International Calls

You are calling from France or to International countries, check out this article on how to make cheaper call from/to Singapore


  • Bonjour,
    Je me permets de vous envoyer ce mail car je trouve votre site
    et bien construit !
    Je suis à la recherche d’un maximum d’informations concernant Singapour
    car mon ami a eu une proposition professionnelle et nous avons le projet
    de venir nous installer au moins un an mais Il est important de se
    compte du cout de la vie avant de nous engager definitivement.. J’espere
    donc que vous pourrez nous aider.

    Apres de longues heures de recherche sur le net, voici l’ idée
    approximative que je me suis faite du cout de la vie sur place avec mon
    ami :

    Loyer pour un condo 80m2 avec 2 chambres ( vers ANG MO KIO ) = 1750 SGD
    Electricite ( par mois) = 300 SGD
    Nourriture ( par mois )= 400 SGD ( sans compter les yaourts )
    Telephone + internet = 300 SGD
    Consultation medecin generaliste = 50 a 100 SGD ??

    Pouvez vous nous dire si cela correspond aux prix actuels ???

    Nous n avons pour l’instant pas d’ information sur les " extras", avez
    vous une idée de combien coute :
    les transports : taxis et metro/bus ?

    un resto local ?
    un resto "specialités etrangeres" Francais, Japonais, Italiens, etc..?

    le prix d une place de ciné ?

    En esperant n’avoir rien oublie !

    Merci de votre compréhension. et en esperant avoir de vos nouvelles.