Choosing where to live in Singapore



Singapore is composed of 28 districts that are further sub-divided into five major areas namely: East, West, Central, South and North. Popular housing areas for expats are known as districts 9, 10 & 11. These are prime housing areas, including Bukit Timah Road, Holland Road, Grange Road, Tanglin Road, and Orchard Road. Needless to say, it is expensive to rent or buy property in these districts.

Keep in mind that the nearer the property is to the city centre or MRT stations, the higher the price of the property is. The rental cost in Singapore is expensive and consumes almost 40% of an individual/family’s income. So when choosing a place to live, expats must consider several factors such as proximity to work or school, mode of transportation and sources of daily needs to make the most out of their housing budget.

Property types

Singapore’s residential property can be divided into two segments: private and public housing. The majority of Singaporeans live in public housing estates while foreigners usually prefer to reside in private housing.

Public housing is referred to as HDBs. HDB stands for Housing and Development Board, and in general, conversation refers to the various apartment complexes constructed by them.

Private housing consists of apartments, condominiums and landed properties. As landed property is not only limited but also more expensive, condominiums are more commonly chosen.

Popular neighbourhoods

Orchard Road, Bukit Timah & River Valley

  • Orchard Road boasts some of the most expensive condos due to its prime central location. Surrounded by shopping areas, restaurants and a short distance from Singapore’s business district, it’s no wonder rent and property prices are premium rated in this area. River Valley and part of Lower Bukit Timah area also consist of some of the most expensive condos in Singapore. Location wise, it is preferred for single professionals seeking an exciting lifestyle close to Central Singapore.

East Coast

  • Most of the East Coast area was created from reclaimed land in the 1970s, but it also spreads all the way inland to Bedok Reservoir. Now it is one of the most popular areas for an increasing number of high-rise condominiums as well as lower rise condos catering the working population as well as many expatriates who commute to Singapore’s financial hub each day. Also, the 20 kilometres of sandy beach and the variety of Singapore's culinary icons makes the East Coast popular. The East Coast beach makes a perfect lazy day for those wishing not to travel out to the city centre. Moreover, one can find relaxation and many activities in East Coast Park, the largest park in Singapore. The Park is an ideal place for a weekend picnic with family or friends. If you prefer more adventurous activities, you can find sailing, rollerblade or other water sports right here.

West Coast

  • The Western Region of Singapore is believed to be invisibly divided into two regions - the eastern part consisting of mainly residential areas and schools and the western part known to be the industrial area. People who work in the Jurong Industrial Town are the main residents of this area. Rent in the west coast is more affordable than most places in Singapore, with a wide variety of condos and HDB flats in Clementi, Dover, Jurong, and Queenstown to choose from.

Holland Village

  • Holland Village is no doubt an attractive area for expatriates with children. There are many international schools and universities nearby, including United World College of South East Asia (UWCSEA) and the Tanglin Trust School. Transportation in Holland Village is also convenient, with numerous bus routes and the Circle Line MRT. The variety of cuisine offered in this area spreads from Western food such as Mexican and Italian to Asian food, like Japanese, Vietnamese, and Indian. You can also find local food at the Holland Village food court. Bars and English style pubs are popular in this area, and there are also a number of western coffee places. Holland Village remains appealing with its high concentration of expatriates living here or close by in the Buona Vista or Dover area. It is said that sometimes the locals may find themselves equal in numbers with expatriates in this area.

Ang Mo Kio, Toa Payoh, Woodlands & Yishun

  • These areas are situated to the north of Singapore, boasting more reasonable rental rates with many more comfortable housing options available in the form of HDB flats if you wish to look for lower rent. Although located further away from Central, it can be easily accessible via public transport such as the MRT or buses. Conveniently located on the North-South Line, you can get to Orchard Road and the ION Orchard Mall without having to change lines. The Woodlands area, in particular, is widely chosen by American expatriates wishing to enrol their children in the Singapore American International School, the largest international school in Singapore