Singapore’s rental market is expected to continue its upward trend in 2023 due to rising costs and surging demand.
Last month, The Business Times even described that 2023 would be “another year of pain for tenants” as higher property taxes and interest rates are likely to contribute to more increases in rents.
An expat, who goes by the name salshoult on her TikTok account, recently shared her experience of an unreasonable rental hike by her landlord.
The landlord informed her that her rental would “ONLY” increase by 75%, and if she chose not to accept, he would put it on the open market at a 100% increased rate.
“So really he’s giving us a 25% discount, so generous of him!” she said sarcastically.
“So yeah, I’m moving out.”
It’s my turn to feel the burn of the SG rental market! #sgexpats #sgrent
Some may think that the rental market hike only affects non-Singaporeans, but there are also some Singaporeans who have to rent in the private market while waiting for their Build-to-Order (BTO) flats.
Or they could be those who were unfortunate to have been caught in limbo after disposing of their private property last year when the Government announced a wait-out period of 15 months for owners or former owners of private residential property, before they can buy a non-subsidised HDB resale flat.
According to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), rentals of non-landed properties increased by 7.5% in the fourth quarter of 2022, compared to the 8.3% increase in the previous quarter.
For the whole of 2022, rentals of landed properties increased by 28.1% while rentals of non-landed properties increased by 29.8%.
Landlords asking for unreasonable rents
Real estate agents have reported an increase in tenant complaints, with some landlords asking for unreasonable rents, with some even asking for a 60% increase in rent.
They also warned that prices could rise as much as 20% again this year.
Some expats, who were previously interviewed by FT and believed that Hong Kong was the most expensive city, are now considering moving out of Singapore due to the rising cost of living and high rental prices.
For example, a British mother of three arrived in Singapore from Hong Kong two years ago, hoping to find more living space for her growing family.
However, the rental for their four-bedroom flat has now risen 61%, and they have decided to move back to Hong Kong as the cost of living in Singapore continues to increase.
Another 29-year-old Indian, who works as front-of-house staff at a popular restaurant in Chinatown, is now moving to Australia with his fiancée after his S$500 rent more than doubled.
“I can’t see myself getting ahead here, I have no savings now. In Australia, you can afford a car and have a life,” he told FT.
The Financial Times also reported that the lack of housing supply caused by delays in construction, coupled with the influx of foreigners, has pushed rental prices to the point where they have overtaken Hong Kong’s for the first time in some central areas.
With limited land size and a lack of spare capacity, property prices in Singapore are expected to continue to rise in the coming year, impacting the overall market, including HDB resale flats, which are moving towards million-dollar values that could hardly be affordable to ordinary Singaporeans.