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Cost of Living in Singapore

At the time of writing, the cost of housing and apartment rental is at a low point, having become a victim of a global economic downturn. However, we are already seeing signs of recovery and fears of an expatriate mass exodus have abated. Housing is likely to rise in cost again as demand returns. We can therefore only give an outline to daily and monthly costs, which will also be largely dependent on your lifestyle and budget.

The Singapore government is keen to attract skilled immigrants and develop through foreign investment and provides a number of benefits. It is also relatively easy to qualify for permanent residence. Add to this a standard of living and income that is easily comparable with western Europe or North America, it's clear why Singapore has remained strong. It is expected to absorb more immigrants over the coming years, who will be attracted by the salaries and job opportunities, some of the best in Asia...

So we can expect to see continued stability in living costs and consumer purchasing power.

The following information is intended only as a brief primer on the approximate key costs for expatriates, and day to day living expenses. Obviously, there will be 'real world' variations, and different lifestyles/expectations will have a significant effect on your expenditure.

Apartment Rental

As with other major cities, a full range of accommodation is available to suit most budgets. Housing in Singapore remains relatively affordable and most housing types are open to foreigners, even the Government built Housing Development Board flats (HBD) and if you choose to rent such a property, you may well find yourself renting a 4 bedroom flat for the same price you'd pay for a 1 bedroom property in the private sector.

Generally speaking, you can rent a one bedroom fully furnished condominium type property with community facilities such as swimming pool and gymnasium in a good area for less than 2000 SGD/month. If you're on a tighter budget, you could share a HDB flat with someone else for around 700 SGD/month.

See also Renting Property in Singapore

Bills

These are a rough guide for a single person living alone (monthly)...

Household utilities 100 SGD
High speed Internet 50 SGD
Mobile phone 50 SGD (See also: SIM Cards in Singapore)

Food

As with many Asian nations, seafood is always on the menu and good value. You can eat out for very little money and if you like to cook at home, shopping at local markets can save you even more. You could even head down to port and buy directly from the boat for the ultimate in fresh seafood. On average, expect to pay less than 200 SGD per month on food, unless of course you are into dining at fine restaurants and hotels (of which there are many in Singapore) with other expatriates.

Alcohol is very expensive, especially in venues that expatriates frequent. Buying from a supermarket is somewhat cheaper.

Transport

The public transport infrastructure in Singapore is excellent and very cheap to use. Depending on how much you need to get around town, budget anywhere from $20 - $150 per month.

Need advice? Got a question? Go to our Singapore Forum