S'pore rents still among highest in Asia

By Romesh Navaratnarajah: Singapore still has the third highest rents in Asia after Hong Kong and Tokyo, according to the latest accomodation data from human resources consultancy ECA International. Globally, the city-state is in eighth spot.

For Singapore, the report focused on several thousand unfurnished three-bedroom apartments in districts 9 to 11 as well as the East Coast area - locations which are traditionally popular with expatriates.

Rents for a three-bedder unit in Singapore average US$5,510 (S$6,891) per month, 50 percent higher than the regional average.

Lee Quane, Regional Manager, ECA International, Asia said: "Expatriate demand for rental property in Singapore has remained strong. However, the addition of a number of new properties to the market has helped to keep price increases modest again this year: rents rose approximately 2.7 percent between 2011 and 2012."

Meanwhile, the average cost in Asia for a three-bedroom apartment is US$3,640 per month, which is 20 percent higher than the global average of US$3,030 per month.

"Asian locations dominate the list of the top 20 most expensive locations for rental property," said Quane.

"With more and more companies setting up operations in the region, the need for the type of housing appropriate for international assignees has increased. Yet, with an often already limited supply of such properties in many countries here, demand significantly outstrips supply driving up rents."

But he expects rents in Singapore to increase at a lower rate of between zero and five percent in 2013, as there has been a slowdown in the number of international assignees coming here which could be attributed to the economic slowdown and the government's tightening on foreign labour.Commenting on the recent property cooling measures announced on January 11, Quane believes that the regulations won't have any impact on the rental market as expatriates are unlikely to purchase property in Singapore given that they are only on short-term assignments. Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor of PropertyGuru, wrote this story. To contact him about this or other stories email romesh@allproperty.com.sg

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