HDB Rental Prices: What Salary Do You Need to Afford Singapore HDB Rental Prices in Q2 2023?

HDB Rental Prices: What Salary Do You Need to Afford Singapore HDB Rental Prices in Q2 2023?
HDB Rental Prices: What Salary Do You Need to Afford Singapore HDB Rental Prices in Q2 2023?

Looking for an HDB flat to rent in Singapore in 2023? Expect high HDB rental prices.

We recently spoke to renters about navigating the Singapore rental market. Their advice? Adjust your expectations in a landlord’s market, realise renting as a single person is much harder, and look out for rental scams, among others.

There are rumblings of HDB flat rental prices moderating across the rest of 2023, thanks to the completion of more BTO flats and HDB flats fulfilling their Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) increasing the supply of HDB flats to rent in Singapore.

But it is likely that landlords will keep HDB rental prices high until they feel unavoidable price resistance from renters.

Want to rent an HDB flat? Watch our quick video guide to get started.

Renting an HDB Flat in Singapore

Regardless, the question that’s likely on many current and potential tenants’ minds is: how much do you need to earn to afford to rent an HDB flat right now? Let’s look at the HDB rental rates in Singapore and how much monthly salary is required to afford different flat types.

Median HDB Rental Prices in Q2 2023

Towns 3-room 4-room 5-room Executive
Ang Mo Kio $2,800 $3,300 $3,600 *
Bedok $2,500 $3,000 $3,200 *
Bishan $2,800 $3,530 $3,700 *
Bukit Batok $2,400 $3,200 $3,600 $3,300
Bukit Merah $2,800 $3,700 $4,200
Bukit Panjang $2,800 $3,000 $3,400 $3,500
Bukit Timah * * * *
Central $3,200 $4,280 *
Choa Chu Kang $2,350 $3,000 $3,100 $3,350
Clementi $2,850 $3,650 $3,900 *
Geylang $2,500 $3,300 $3,600 *
Hougang $2,500 $3,000 $3,200 $3,500
Jurong East $2,500 $3,200 $3,580 *
Jurong West $2,500 $3,200 $3,300 $3,600
Kallang/Whampoa $2,800 $3,300 $3,830 *
Marine Parade $3,000 $3,400 *
Pasir Ris * $3,200 $3,250 $3,500
Punggol $3,100 $3,380 $3,400 *
Queenstown $3,000 $3,900 $4,050
Sembawang * $3,100 $3,150 $3,400
Sengkang $3,200 $3,200 $3,300 $3,500
Serangoon $2,600 $3,350 $3,300 *
Tampines $2,600 $3,200 $3,600 $3,800
Toa Payoh $2,600 $3,500 $3,900 *
Woodlands $2,400 $3,000 $3,200 $3,500
Yishun $2,550 $3,000 $3,300 $3,400
Source: HDB

*Median rent is not shown as there are fewer than 20 HDB rental transactions for the location and flat type in the quarter.

HDB Rental Prices by Flat Size (Q2 2023)

HDB flat type Monthly rental
3-room $2,350 to $3,200
4-room $3,000 to $4,280
5-room $3,100 to $4,200

In general, these are the range of prices you’re looking at if you want to rent an entire HDB flat. The lower end of the range typically applies to flats in ‘ulu’ or non-mature estates (e.g. Woodlands and Bukit Panjang), while HDB flats in mature or city fringe estates (e,g. Toa Payoh and Kallang/Whampoa) command top dollar. Newer HDB flats or those close to amenities such as choice primary schools, MRT stations, or bus interchanges are typically pricier.

How Much Salary Should You Budget for Your HDB Flat for Rent?

To be safe, don’t spend more than 40% of your income on rent. Remember to include some buffer for unexpected costs, new out-of-pocket fixed costs such as utilities and WiFi, or even some furniture and indoor plants to spruce up your new living quarters. Ideally, you should spend only a third (but we know rental prices are skyrocketing, so we say, maybe cut back on your daily expenses. After all, something’s gotta give).

Even if you feel you can spend more than 40% of your income on rent, it’s better to play it safe. It’s smart to keep the remainder for emergencies, and the rest goes towards your day-to-day spending, investments, and/or ‘treat yourself’ purchases.

Also, this 40% should be calculated against your take-home income; so if your salary is $5,000 a month, this means you have $4,000 take-home income a month, and you should ideally spend only up to $1,600/month on rent.

Effectively, this means an individual can only afford to rent a 3-room HDB flat in a non-mature estate like Woodlands unless shared amongst housemates or a partner.

Afford an HDB Flat Rental Prices: How Much Must You Earn?

Assuming your rent is 40% of your take-home income, this is how much you should be earning:

Type of HDB rental flat HDB rental rates (per month) Take-home income needed (per month) Gross monthly salary needed (per month)
3-room (cheaper) $2,350 $5,875 $7,344
3-room (more expensive) $3,200 $8,000 $10,000
4-room (cheaper) $3,000 $7,500 $9,375
4-room (more expensive) $4,280 $10,700 $13,375
5-room (cheaper) $3,100 $7,750 $9,688
5-room (more expensive) $4,200 $10,500 $13,125

According to Ministry of Manpower (MOM) figures, $5,070 was the median gross monthly income from work, including CPF contributions, of full-time employed residents in 2022.

This works out to about $6,338 in take-home income from work a month. Hence, a working individual has $2,535 monthly to spend on rent – which is lower than the median rental amount of a ‘more expensive’ 3-room HDB flat.

So if HDB flat rental prices are out of your budget, you’ll probably need to look for cheaper units, find a housemate/partner to share the rental costs or consider renting a room instead (since HDB room rental prices are considerably lower than the rental for the entire flat).

HDB Flat Rental Prices Aside, What Are the Other Costs of an HDB Flat for Rent in Singapore?

It’s one thing to be able to afford the rent, but there are some ‘unseen’ costs you’ll need to budget for.

For a start, remember to factor in agent fees (if any) and other costs like rental stamp duty and so on. You might also need to pay a deposit to your landlord when you begin your rental contract (and when your lease ends) – and do read all the terms and conditions carefully.

Also, your rental Tenancy Agreement (TA) may or may not cover repairs, so you might need to fork out your own cash to fix stuff (do seek approval from your landlord first). On that note, you might also want to consider insurance. While it’s not compulsory, getting renters’ insurance that covers your personal belongings could be wise.

Finally, there’s moving out and living on your own for the first time. If you previously lived with your parents, it can be a shock to learn how much all these regular costs add up:

  • WiFi
  • Utilities (water, electricity, and gas)
  • Food and groceries
  • Video streaming (e.g. Netflix, Disney+, etc.) 
  • Other day-to-day costs

For example, now that you’re living on your own, you cannot ‘leech’ off – erm, share – your family’s WiFi, utilities or air-con. Unless you want to rely solely on your mobile data, you’ll need to sign up for a WiFi plan, pay your utilities and electricity bills, air-con servicing, or even buy your own food (if you’re from a household that cooks daily). If your family used to watch Netflix together, you might need to upgrade your account to support concurrent users or get your own video streaming service.

Don’t forget to factor in your usual day-to-day costs, such as eating out, going to the doctor, shopping, transport, and so on. Especially for transport, if your new home is further away from your school/work/kids’ schools, you might need to factor in additional costs.

How to Negotiate HDB Flat Rental Prices

1. Take Up a Longer Rental Lease

Confident that you’ll be renting this unit for some time? The same principle of ‘buying in bulk’ to save more applies here. Try negotiating a longer lease with your landlord for a cheaper base HDB rental price each month.

2. Compare HDB Flat Rental Prices

When it comes to HDB flat rental prices, it’s good to cross-compare rates of neighbouring developments just in case your landlord might be overcharging you. Check for HDB rental transactions in the same development, or better still, in your exact same block.

HDB has a nifty HDB rental rates portal where you can search for the past year’s HDB rental transaction prices by block/street. You can also check out PropertyGuru’s listings of HDB flats for rent to see what other landlords are asking for (plus view the condition of the house through the pictures, etc.).

3. Check If the HDB Flat for Rent Is Furnished

Speaking of images, our HDB for rent listings also indicate if the unit is fully furnished, partially furnished or unfurnished. A fully furnished unit will definitely command a higher Singapore HDB rental price.

However, it’s not always cheaper to rent an unfurnished HDB flat and decorate it to your liking. Make sure you calculate your furnishings budget because that gold four-poster bed might likely tear a hole in your wallet.

Do also compare like for like; an unfurnished house should not cost the same to rent as a fully furnished unit.

4. Build a Good Rapport with Your Agent and Potential Landlord

If you build a good rapport with the agent/landlord, they may also offer you a better HDB rental price. It might also be helpful to name your price – after doing your homework on HDB rental transaction prices, of course – during the final negotiation.

5. Protect Yourself Against Rental Scammers

As the rental market grew exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of rental scam cases also jumped almost five-fold with multiple victims falling prey to various schemes on social media platforms.

Important tips to protect yourself include using reliable property listing sites like PropertyGuru instead of social media platforms like Facebook Marketplace groups or WhatsApp and Telegram chats. Always check on the representing agent on the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) website, and insist on attending a viewing to meet the agent in person before putting down any kind of deposit to verify that the agent and the rental opportunity exist.

If it sounds too good to be true, it normally is. So keep all these tips in mind, and you should have no problem finding a rental unit within your budget that meets all your criteria and needs.

For more property news, content and resources, check out PropertyGuru’s guides section.

Looking for a new home? Head to PropertyGuru to browse the top properties for sale in Singapore.

Need help financing your latest property purchase? Let the mortgage experts at PropertyGuru Finance help you find the best deals.

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