Coming Home In A Foreign Land

Indian expats living in a condo in Tampines
Menaka Chandrasekhar, PropertyGuru’s Senior Product Designer with husband Anand Radhakrishnan, a 35-year-old Service Delivery Manager at IBM and their boys, Dhruv and Aarav.

As an economic hub and the nerve centre of Asia, Singapore hosts an international workforce of over a million people. The island country is today home to people from different nationalities, making it richer for its diversity than ever before.  

"Home is where my family lives” 

Leaving their country of origin, Menaka and her husband Anand, moved to Singapore 8 years back. While initially it was just the two of them, they recently upgraded their space to accommodate their growing family.  

“My job changed from going to work regularly to mostly working from home,” says Anand. That added the need for a permanent home office space to their other requirements. 

 Indian expats living in a condo in Tampines

The couple prefer a fully-furnished rental house, something as close to turnkey as possible. While they were looking for a new place to rent, their agent, Elvira suggested a condominium as an option, since the rental cost between an HDB and condominium is comparable. “Elvira spent time to get to know us and know our lifestyle. Whichever house she shortlisted for us via PropertyGuru, matched our taste.” Not surprisingly, Menaka has stuck to the same agent for years now. 

HDB vs condo: which one is better to rent?

“We didn’t want to leave Tampines because the location is very nice for a family here.” Right beside their current rental is 'Our Tampines Hub', a one-stop activity spot for their kids, with an indoor play area, library and seasonal carnival. Aside from the 3 malls at the MRT, Tampines is home to some of the biggest shopping experiences that Menaka’s family loves. “It’s a holy trinity of Giant, IKEA and COURTS”. 

A renter’s journey

Their rental journey is not without its challenges. “There’s always this catch about how good the landlord is.” They wish that more research can be done on a property before they sign on the dotted line but feel that they lack the avenue to do that. “We keep the house as clean as possible, maintain it as much as possible. I can’t say the same for everybody who’s renting it out, right?” 

Indian expats living in a condo in Tampines

Dhruv and Aarav enjoying their weekends with Menaka and Anand in the comfort of their rented apartment.

Menaka and Anand currently spend 20% of their combined income on rent and are now considering a property of their own. Seeing Singapore’s booming property market, the couple believes a house in the country might be a good investment, but they have specific needs. “I grew up in a landed house where I could cycle in the neighbourhood. I want the same for my kids.”  

 Indian expats living in a condo in Tampines

With their status as foreign talent, Singapore property options are limited and a high levy will be applied to their purchase. So while they could comfortably afford a house in their home country, they would need to save for several years to own a home in Singapore.   

Can A Foreigner Buy Property In Singapore?

The location might still be up for debate, but Menaka and Anand are certain that they share the same goal of property ownership. “I think it is the sense of security, having a shelter, a roof of your own.”  

While they may not own a house here yet, they both feel at home as long as their family stays together because for both of them, “Home is where our family is.”

Aside from this article, you may also want to browse our resale HDB flats or private condos for sale or rent. If you want to know about future property hotspots in Singapore that will benefit from ambitious government plans, check our AreaInsider.

P.S: Don't forget to read more stories of real people and their homes. 

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