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’, especially with rental prices in both HDB and private rental markets currently at an all-time high.
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 about renting an HDB flat from the government and from the open market.
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 (Q4 2022)
Here’s a quick look at the latest HDB rental flat statistics in Singapore. These are taken from HDB’s website for median rental rates by town and flat type for Q4 2022:
|Ang Mo Kio||$2,300||$2,900||$3,150||*|
|Choa Chu Kang||$2,800||$2,800||$3,000||$3,000|
Sources: HDB Rental Statistics
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 Q4 2022
Based on the HDB rental transactions for 3-room flats in Singapore for Q4 2022, it looks like renters can expect to pay anything from $2,000 to $2,850 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. Surprisingly however, more mature towns like Ang Mo Kio and Bedok, which are well-connected and full of amenities like shopping malls and eateries, are also quite affordable with HDB rental prices at $2,300 per month.
4-Room HDB Rental Prices in Q4 2022
Looking at the HDB rental transactions in Q4 2022, we would estimate HDB rental flat prices for a 4-room flat to range from $2,650 to $3,850 per month.
For families on a budget, Hougang, Pasir Ris, and Bukit Batoh offer the lowest rental prices. While these towns may have a longer travel time to the city centre, they do offer many amenities. If you’re looking to rent in the city fringe or Central area, expect to fork out at least $3,100 to $3,850.
5-Room HDB Rental Prices in Q4 2022
The HDB rental transactions for 5-room flats in Q4 2022 tell us that median HDB rental rates range from $2,700 to $4,200 per month, depending on location.
Space is likely to be your main priority if you’re looking to rent a 5-room HDB flat. The cheapest area to rent a 5-room flat was Houngang at $2,700 per month. However, for everywhere else you can expect to fork out $3,200 and higher.
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!
Are HDB Rental Rates on the Rise in 2023?
Here’s a look at the quarter-on-quarter increase in HDB rental flat prices from Q3 2022 to Q4 2022, comparing HDB rental rates for a 4-room flat.
|HDB towns||4-room HDB rental flat prices (Q3 2022)||4-room HDB rental flat prices (Q4 2022)||% change|
|Ang Mo Kio||$2,600||$2,900||+11.5%|
Choa Chu Kang
Sources: HDB Rental Statistics, HDB Market Rental Rates
It certainly looks like HDB rental flat prices are on the rise, across the board. This is despite HDB apartment rental applications that were granted increased by 3.5%, from 8,192 cases in the third quarter of 2022 to 8,476 cases in the fourth.
Why Are HDB Rental Rates Rising in 2023?
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. So who is fuelling these soaring rents?
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. And of course, the unmarried millennials looking for independence and space away from their parents may try to ‘strike it out on their own’ by renting.
The rental market remains red-hot and rental prices are expected to continue climbing in 2023.
Nevertheless, if you are looking for a room for rent in Singapore, you can check out listings and browse all available property for rent on PropertyGuru.
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