There are various reasons why one may choose to rent an HDB flat in Singapore as opposed to buying one, and not all of them revolve around considering ‘financial sense’.
They may not qualify for an HDB BTO flat, which means they need to buy an HDB resale flat or rent instead, among other options. Considering ongoing BTO construction delays, some may be renting while waiting to collect their keys. Other singles may rent to have more space and privacy from their families, while unmarried couples may be attempting to wait out the record-high HDB resale flat prices before purchasing their forever home.
Renting provides more mobility, especially if the occupants prefer to live closer to their workplace. Flexibility is another boon – instead of paying a 25-year mortgage on their HDB flat and spending money on renovation, renters are free to look for another flat (typically renovated and furnished) once their existing rental contract with the landlord is up. It’s also a good option for those who may consider migrating overseas in the future.
Interested to rent an HDB flat? Here’s what you need to know.
HDB Rental Flats Under the Public Rental Scheme
If you’re looking to rent an HDB flat but still find yourself short on funds, you can seek help and go for the HDB Public Rental Scheme.
You first need to fulfil some eligibility criteria. You can apply as a family under the Family Scheme or as a single under the Joint Single Scheme. The general rule of thumb is that you cannot apply alone, must be a Singaporean (who is at least 21 years old under the Family Scheme; at least 35 years old for the Joint Singles Scheme) and must show that your gross household income is $1,500/month or less.
On the HDB Public Rental Scheme, HDB rental flat prices can be extremely low. Depending on their household income, successful applicants then pay a subsidised rent of $26 to $275 each month. This is different from the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS).
However, most of us reading this don’t qualify for the HDB public rental scheme and will need to rent on the open market. So how much are HDB rental prices in Singapore?
HDB Rental Prices in Singapore (Q3 2022)
Here’s a quick look at the latest HDB rental flat prices in Singapore. These are taken from HDB’s website for median rental rates by town and flat type for Q3 2022:
By the way, an asterisk (*) means there were fewer than 20 HDB rental transactions for the location and flat type in the quarter, while a dash (-) means there were no rental transactions.
3-Room HDB Rental Prices in Q3 2022
Based on the HDB rental transactions for 3-room flats in Singapore for Q3 2022, it looks like renters can expect to pay anything from $2,000 to $2,750 per month for an entire 3-room HDB flat.
Those looking for more affordable options can look for 3-room rental HDB flats in Bukit Panjang, Bukit Batok and Jurong West. The more mature towns like Ang Mo Kio, Bedok and Toa Payoh where the HDB rental prices are around $2,200 per month, offer a good compromise between affordability and amenities. All are well-connected and full of amenities like shopping malls and eateries.
Browse all HDB 3-room flats for rent on PropertyGuru.
4-Room HDB Rental Prices in Q3 2022
Looking at the HDB rental transactions in Q3 2022, we would estimate HDB rental flat prices for a 4-room flat to range from $2,450 to $3,500 per month.
For families on a budget, Yishun, Bukit Panjang, and Sembawang. While these towns may have a longer travel time to the city centre, they do offer more green space and possibly a slower pace of life. If you’re looking to rent in the city fringe or Central area, expect to fork out at least $2,900.
Browse all HDB 4-room flats for rent on PropertyGuru.
5-Room HDB Rental Prices in Q3 2022
The HDB rental transactions for 5-room flats in Q3 2022 tell us that median HDB rental rates range from $2,400 to $3,600 per month, depending on location.
Space is likely to be your main priority if you’re looking to rent a 5-room HDB flat. Snag one for about $2,500 per month in neighbourhoods such as Bukit Panjang, Choa Chu Kang, Hougang or Sembawang if you don’t mind the distance from town.
But if you’re looking to live in city-fringe neighbourhoods like Bukit Merah or Queenstown, be prepared to pay price premiums as the HDB rental rates here can be quite steep!
Browse all HDB 5-room flats for rent on PropertyGuru.
Are HDB Rental Rates on the Rise in 2022?
Here’s a look at the quarter-on-quarter increase in HDB rental flat prices from Q2 2022 to Q3 2022, comparing HDB rental rates for a 4-room flat.
Sources: HDB Rental Statistics, HDB Market Rental Rates
It certainly looks like HDB rental flat prices are on the rise, across the board. Supply continues to dip as the number of approved applications to rent out HDB flats dropped. In Q3 2022, 8,192 cases were approved, as compared to the 9,309 cases in Q2 2022.
Median HDB rental rates rose most sharply in far-flung neighbourhoods where there was a bulk of flats that just fulfilled their Minimum Occupation Period (MOP). Neighbourhoods in the city fringe also saw prices rising steeply.
Why Are HDB Rental Rates Rising in 2022?
A quick search for HDB flats for rent on PropertyGuru shows that the asking prices for properties are much higher than the median rents by town and flat type, as provided by HDB.
One reason could be landlords are asking for higher prices, in acknowledgement of the high demand for rental units across the island. Whether that is the final agreed-upon rental price with their tenants is unclear.
A fair few of these renters are Singaporean couples and families waiting for their BTO flats to be completed. Another significant chunk is likely to be HDB upgraders who need a temporary home after selling their HDB flats to take advantage of soaring HDB resale prices. With the announcement of the September 2022 property cooling measures, the 15-month wait-out period imposed on private property ‘downgraders’ may push more into the rental market.
The enduring preference for space over a location closer to the city centre could explain why more prefer to rent in ‘ulu’ HDB towns. One’s rental budget can go a lot further and allow for larger living spaces in these neighbourhoods.
Neither the property situation nor the hybrid work or work-from-home arrangement look set to change dramatically in the short term. Till the BTO supply is restored, HDB rental prices are likely to continue their upward trend.
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