Condo Rental Prices in Singapore: How Much You Need to Earn to Afford Different Districts
In our latest Singapore Consumer Sentiment Study H1 2021, 72% of millennials surveyed want to move out of their family homes in the next year.
And it’s not just a COVID-19 trend that millennials are turning to flat rentals for privacy and for undisturbed #workfromhome. In our 2019 Sentiment Survey, it was already found that millennials are moving out of their family homes at an earlier age.
In addition, the ongoing pandemic has also contributed to delays in construction. This is due to tightened border measures, and affects the completion of Buildings Under Construction — delays could go up to a year or more.
In fact, 34% of the people surveyed in our PropertyGuru Singapore Consumer Sentiment Study H1 2021 cited the delay in completion dates as a factor which would affect their property decisions.
So what’s a person who wants their own space got to do? Well, they can turn to the rental market for a quick fix. Since we’re on the topic of condominium rental prices, let’s look at how much you need to earn to afford a condo in different areas.
Condo Rental Prices in Singapore: How Much is It?
Those planning to rent a condo unit will need to know the market prices as they provide an idea of which general area fits your base rental budget, and how many rooms you need or can afford.
Average Median Condo Rental Prices in Singapore (By District)
For this, we looked at the median rental prices of non-landed private residential properties from Q4 2020 to Q1 2021. Here is the data, by district:
By knowing the average price per square foot (psf) of the region/general area or district you’re keen to rent in, it’s a slightly better gauge then going by the general rents in that area, which may differ according to actual size of the unit.
With that said, shoebox units tend to be 538 sq ft or smaller; 1-bedroom units range from 500 to 750 sq ft; 2-bedders are about 750 to 1,000 sq ft; and 3-bedrooms are 1,000 to about 1,250 sq ft. Let’s plug in these figures with our average rents per square foot:
Condo Rental Prices Are Rising
If you’re one of those who are looking to rent a condo unit right now, do note that rentals have been on the upward trend. In Q1 2021, the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s rental index increased by 2.2% to 106.2 points. It was also reported that the number of condo units rented out in March 2021 was an eight-month high; while condo rental prices, specifically, increased for the third consecutive month.
On the ground, Asyraf Azman, Senior Marketing Director at PropNex Realty, observed that there has also been a shift in renting patterns. “Previously, units which were in high demand were always those which were located near CBD or the financial district. Now, there has been a paradigm shift where places which are located to nature (units with a sea view or located near to parks) or amenities such as eateries or malls are getting more popular,” he shares.
Cedric Lim, another property agent from PropNex Realty, agrees, adding that he’s noticed, in particular, seafront units with a panoramic view of the sea and East Coast Park rising in popularity.
Aside from location, Senior Associate Marketing Director at PropNex Realty, Grace Cheong, also noticed an emerging preference for “larger unit types such as three, four and five-bedroom units in both condos and landed properties”. Andrew Nair, Associate Division Director at ERA Realty Network has a similar experience, explaining that as we get further away from town and the prime districts, the demand for larger units increases. “In town we see a demand for the one-bedroom units. In the city fringe, we see a demand for two-bedroom units. For further units in the outskirts like in Pasir Ris, we see a demand for the three-bedroom units,” he explains.
In addition to the increased demand due to delays in construction and singles needing their own space due to current work from home arrangements, there might also have been some pent-up demand due to people waiting for the Chinese New Year period to be over before signing their lease. In addition, occupancy is high as many tenants renewed their leases, leading to less supply for the rental market, and thus driving up rents.
However, March 2021 figures were still lower than that of March 2020’s, when the full brunt of COVID-19 was yet to be felt. Rental volume fell by 3.1% year-on-year, while overall rents increased by 2.4% year-on-year.
Cost of Renting A Condo in Singapore
Rent aside, living on your own — especially for those who previously stayed with their parents — can mean incurring a lot of “unseen” fixed costs.
You’ll have to pay for your own WiFi, utilities or air-con maintenance. This is on top of your day-to-day expenses such as going to the doctor, shopping, transport and buying your own food (lucky you, if you’re from a household that cooks daily). You might also need to get your own Netflix (or Disney+) account or upgrade it to support multiple users.
While insurance is not compulsory, getting a renter’s insurance would ensure that you can cover the cost of your personal belongings and other home contents. In some cases, you may need to pay a one-time deposit to your landlord when you begin your rental contract (and when your lease ends) — do read all the terms and conditions carefully. Check if your tenancy agreement covers repairs, and always seek approval from your landlord before doing anything to the home (even replacing an appliance).
Here’s a quick breakdown of how much a swinging single may spend in a month:
$3,000 and above
$200 and above
$200 and above
$100 and above
$20 and above
$3,000 and above
$6,520 and above
How Much to Budget for Monthly Condo Rental
It’s advised that you don’t spend more than 40% of your income on rental (it’s better if you can spend less, so there’s a larger buffer for unexpected costs such as urgent repairs, decor to spruce up your new living quarters, your own pet (do check with your landlord if pets are allowed) or even that variegated houseplant you’ve been eyeing.
Calculate this 40% against your take-home income. A person earning a salary of $5,000 a month has $4,000 take-home monthly income and can spend up to $1,600/month on rent.
There could also be agent fees, and don’t forget other costs such as stamp duty and so on.
Related article: Singapore Property Rental: A Guide for Tenants and Landlords
How Much Do You Need to Earn to Rent a Condo Unit?
Taking reference from our table on average median condo rents in the different regions, let’s calculate how much you need to earn to afford renting your desired condo unit.
Hear, hear: $4,534 was the median gross monthly income from work, including CPF contributions, of full-time employed residents in 2020 (Ministry of Manpower). If your income isn’t enough to rent a condo unit, consider renting a HDB unit, a room, or grab some housemates to split the cost with.
But if you really, really want to rent a condo unit… Is it possible to negotiate for lower rent?
Tips on Negotiating Monthly Rental Prices
Here are some strategies you can try before you sign on the dotted line:
- Offer a longer lease
You know that principle of buying in bulk to save more? That applies to rents too. Talk to your landlord and offer a longer lease to clinch a cheaper base price each month.
- Always compare
When it comes to rents, it’s always good to cross compare rates of neighbouring/similar developments. Who knows, your landlord might be overcharging you.
A good resource is URA’s database of rental contracts of private residential properties, where you can search by development name, date of lease commencement, as well as property type and postal district. You can also check out PropertyGuru’s listings of condo units for rent to see rents of other condos, plus get a better view of the property from the image gallery.
- Do you need furniture?
Our listings also indicate if the unit is fully furnished, partially furnished or unfurnished. A fully furnished unit typically has a higher rent; however, it may not necessarily be cheaper to get an unfurnished unit — draw up a budget for furnishings prior, just in case the cost of buying furniture far exceeds the amount you’d pay for a fully furnished unit.
- Other ‘tactics’
There are some other tactics you can try. You could try playing “hard to get”, in which you don’t appear enthusiastic or agree on the price from the get-go. Or you might try to build rapport with the agent/landlord to try to get a better price. Sometimes, being direct could work — you can try naming your price (after doing “homework”) during the final negotiation.
Related article: Salary you need to buy a condo at Singapore’s prime districts
More FAQs on Condo Rental in Singapore
Are Utilities Included in Condo Rental?
This depends on your tenancy agreement, which can be negotiated with your landlord or agent prior to signing.
Can Foreigners Rent A Condo in Singapore?
Yes, if you’re legally residing in Singapore. The URA stipulates that the minimum rental period for private homes is 3 straight months.
Is It Better to Buy or Rent A Condo?
It really depends on your own unique circumstances such as the duration you intend to stay in the unit, how much you can afford, if you’re going to be settling down soon, age, and so on. Related article: Renting vs Buying A Home in Singapore: Which Makes More Sense?
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This article was written by Mary Wu, who hopes to share what she’s learnt from her home-buying and renovation journey with PropertyGuru readers. When she’s not writing, she’s usually baking up a storm or checking out a new cafe in town.