Beat the Tide: Top 5 Tips for Surviving High Rental Rates in Singapore

Tips for Surviving High Rental Rates in Singapore aren't difficult to follow.

Surviving high rental rates in Singapore can feel like swimming against the current. But fret not; for every challenge faced, there are solutions to ensure you don’t drown in Singapore’s surging rents. We want to give you a lifeboat of strategies, so you get safe passage through the Singapore rental market’s 2023 storm.

First of all, let’s briefly answer the burning question: why did rental prices increase in Singapore? Well, in 2023, Singapore rental market statistics are projected to continue their upward trend, fuelled by rising costs and surging demand. Unreasonable rental increases are commonplace, with some tenants facing hikes as high as 75%. Both non-Singaporeans and Singaporeans alike are feeling the pinch. In 2022, rentals of landed properties increased by 28.1%, and rentals of non-landed properties increased by a startling 29.8%. With limited land size and a lack of spare capacity, these figures for average rents are expected to rise further.

Even with this seemingly gloomy outlook, it’s still possible to stay afloat. Here are our top five tips for surviving high rental rates in Singapore in 2023.

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1. Understand Lease Terms and Rental Rates

To navigate the currents of Singapore’s surging rental costs, it’s imperative to arm yourself with knowledge and understand the specifics of your lease agreement. Familiarising yourself with its intricate details can safeguard you from potential pitfalls and provide a firm foundation for negotiation.

Start by examining the rental rate stipulated in your lease. This is typically the monthly cost of renting the property. Keep in mind that Singapore rent rates have increased significantly, with the Urban Redevelopment Authority reporting a 28.1% increase for landed properties and a 29.8% increase for non-landed properties in 20221. Therefore, don’t shy away from asking for a breakdown of what the rental rate includes. Are utility costs, maintenance fees, or management fees bundled in, or do they come as additional charges? Most of the time, co-living rooms in private apartments cover utilities and high-speed Wi-Fi (up to a point). If you’re looking for an entire Singapore condo rental, you’d be pay for the utilities yourself.

Pay close attention to the deposit requirement, often known as the security deposit. This is a sum paid upfront to cover potential damage to the property or default on rent. It’s usually equivalent to one or two months’ rent, but it can vary. Be sure to understand when and how this deposit will be returned to you at the end of your lease.

Additional fees are usually hidden in the fine print. These could include move-in/move-out fees, cleaning fees, or fees for using shared facilities if you’re renting a condo. If your landlord decides to increase the rent, the lease should stipulate how and when this can occur.

Lastly, consider the lease term. Are you tied into a long-term lease, or can you negotiate a shorter one if your circumstances change? What are the penalties if you need to break the lease early? Understanding this can help you avoid hefty fines or conflicts with your landlord down the line.

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2. Be Flexible with Your Move-In Date

In the world of real estate, timing is everything, and this principle applies when navigating the surging rents in Singapore. Strategic planning for your move-in date can give you a distinct advantage and possibly save you money.

Typically, rental demand can fluctuate throughout the year, making it hard to predict when Singapore rental prices will drop. It’s influenced by factors such as the academic calendar, public holidays, and corporate relocation trends. For instance, the demand for rentals often peaks when international students and expatriates relocate to Singapore at the start of an academic or fiscal year. During these times, landlords may be less likely to negotiate Singapore rental prices as demand is high.

In contrast, during off-peak periods, landlords may be more open to negotiations, as they’d rather have their property occupied for a slightly lower rent than have it remain vacant. Therefore, if you can afford to be flexible about your move-in date, consider aiming for these periods of lower rental demand. It could potentially lead to a more favourable rental rate.

Moreover, if you’re currently living in a rental property and your lease is nearing its end, it’s advisable to start your search for a new place well in advance. This gives you the flexibility to shift your move-in date slightly to take advantage of more affordable options.

A word of caution, though. While it’s beneficial to be flexible, ensure you don’t rush into a decision just because a property is available at a specific time. Remember to consider other crucial aspects like location, amenities, and the terms of the lease. The cost of housing should also be balanced with your needs when you’re moving into Singapore.

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3. Negotiate with Landlords and Agents

Negotiating rental rates may seem intimidating, particularly for ex-pats and international professionals who are new to the country and unacquainted with its real estate norms. However, negotiation is a common practice and is typically expected in the Singapore rental market.

Begin your negotiation process armed with a thorough understanding of the current Singapore rental market news. Do your research to comprehend the going rates for similar properties in the same area. Utilise online resources or consult with local real estate experts to gain insights into Singapore rental price trends.

When negotiating, remember to present reasoned arguments based on your research. For instance, if a similar apartment rental in Singapore is renting for less, use this as leverage to negotiate a lower rental rate. Or if the property has been vacant for some time, you can use this as a negotiation point, as landlords often prefer to avoid long periods of vacancy.

Furthermore, don’t limit your negotiation to just the rental rate. You can also negotiate other aspects of the lease, such as the duration, terms of the contract, and any included amenities or services. For instance, if a landlord is hesitant to reduce the rent, they might be willing to provide additional services such as regular cleaning or maintenance, which could offer some savings.

Always communicate professionally and courteously with landlords and agents. Remember that negotiation is not about winning or losing but about reaching a mutually satisfactory agreement.

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4. Consider Alternative Housing Options

In the face of soaring Singapore rental prices in 2023, renters must explore all available housing options in Singapore. One such alternative is the consideration of Singapore-serviced apartments, which MetroResidences provides in luxury developments across Singapore’s most coveted addresses: Bugis, Bukit Timah, Shenton Way, and Novena.

MetroResidences’ Singapore apartment rentals and serviced apartments are perfect for a longer period of stay, offering familiarity and stability in both living and working spaces. All of their apartments adhere to strict property standards, ensuring comfort and cleanliness. They come fully furnished, with amenities like Wi-Fi, air conditioners, and a fully equipped kitchen, offering you a home away from home.

For a slightly different take on community living, consider co-living spaces. These are shared spaces offering private bedrooms with communal areas such as kitchens and living rooms. They promote a sense of community and can be an excellent choice for those looking to make social connections in a new city. More often than not, they’re located in exuberant neighbourhoods that are off the beaten track, just like MetroResidences Farrer Park.

Lastly, consider the option of renting a room instead of an entire apartment or a Singapore condo rental. Room rentals can significantly reduce your expenses, providing an affordable solution in a city where rents can be high.

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5. Consider Taking on Roommates

If you’re comfortable sharing your living space, taking on roommates can be a strategic move for surviving the high rental rates in Singapore. Renting a larger unit and splitting the cost among multiple people often turn out to be more economical than renting a smaller, solo living space. And maybe, you don’t need a one-bedroom unit when you’re all by yourself. Perhaps, you just need to find a studio unit for rent in Singapore.

Having roommates doesn’t only make financial sense; it also provides companionship and a sense of community, which is especially beneficial for those new to the city. However, it’s crucial to find roommates who are reliable, respectful, and compatible with your lifestyle to ensure a harmonious living environment.

Many online platforms facilitate roommate searches, helping you find people with similar lifestyles and preferences. One great place to start is your friends, since you already know them. You can consider convincing them the option of long-term leasing if you’re planning on surviving in Singapore for a longer period.


In conclusion, while the high rent and cost of living in Singapore present a significant challenge, they are not insurmountable. With the above tips, you can successfully navigate Singapore’s rental market. As you adapt and employ these strategies, you’ll find yourself not just surviving but thriving in the Lion City’s vibrant, exciting, and yes, often expensive rental landscape.


MetroResidences Singapore Serviced Apartments—Your Home Base for Travels Beyond

Looking for your home away from home? Our Singapore apartment rentals and serviced apartments are perfect for a longer period of stay. We have properties in luxury developments across Singapore’s most coveted addresses: BugisBukit TimahShenton Way, and Novena.

And, you can rest easy at any of our properties. We adhere to our strict Property Standards that account for the comfort and cleanliness of all our serviced apartments. Our fully-furnished apartments come with amenities like wi-fi, air conditioners, and a fully-equipped kitchen.

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