Singapore Enters Top 10 Most Expensive Rents For Expats, Hong Kong In The Lead

Singapore business district
A general view of surveillance cameras near the central business district in Singapore March 5, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Edgar Su)

A new study revealed that Singapore is still one of the top 10 countries in Asia that ask for high rental prices while Hong Kong still tops the list.

According to Business Insider Singapore, the latest ECA International study found out that despite Singapore dropping its rental price by $500 than 2016, it is still among the most expensive rental locations in Asia.

In September 2018, the average rental price of unfurnished apartments with three bedrooms was $4,215 per month. The numbers are 1.3 percent lower than offers in the previous year.

Regional director - Asia at ECA International, Lee Quane, said smaller populations in a certain category impacted the rental price drop over the past two years. "Reductions in the population of non-residents in Singapore, a key driver of rental demand, has led to continued drops in rental prices for expatriates," Quane explained.

In Asia, Singapore is the 8th most expensive in rental prices. Worldwide, the country ranks 24th. However, Quane predicted that these ranks may drop further as the year's pass. He said if the government will continue limiting foreign work proportions in the services sector, rents could go down further.

While Singapore may have high rents for expats but the country's figures is no match for Hong Kong. With an average rental price of $10,929, Hong Kong ranks first place both in Asia and internationally. In fact, this year's prices increased by 4.9 percent compared to those in 2018.

Quane warned that rent increases will not stay in Hong Kong or Singapore alone. He said neighboring countries will see rental price hikes this year due to a spur in international companies looking for affordable office spaces in Asia. Technological developments are also expected to push prices higher as new-gen employees require more advanced tools and workspaces.

Meanwhile, many companies are moving to the eastern sides of Kowloon and Hong Kong due to increasing rents in the center's office market. According to the South China Morning Post, global real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) said in a recent report that office submarkets in Kowloon East and Hong Kong East are 76 percent and 64 percent lower than rental prices in HK metro.

The said areas are increasingly becoming popular among companies as rents keep going up in Central Hong Kong. On the other hand, JLL noted that the reason why rental prices in the metro are high is due to increased demand for high-end office spaces from China mainland financial companies.

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