It is known that property prices in Singapore are expensive. However, recently rental prices have been falling steadily over the past few years, and renting is becoming a viable long-term option for many people. For people who are looking to move out of their current homes or expats who need a place to live, this article discusses the differences between renting and buying a home in Singapore. And after you’ve made your decision, be sure to do ample research on the other household expenses, such as the current electricity tariff.
Advantages of renting and buying a home
As rental units are often much cheaper to pay per month and cheaper to maintain, they weigh-off potential financial burdens for the tenant. Not to mention, one has the option to choose and change the locations of their rental space easily.
Buying an apartment allows one to use their CPF funds, take advantage of government grants for those who qualify, and enjoy tax deductibles. In addition, the monthly payments go into paying off the house rather than to the owner of the property. Unlike a rental space, one may also renovate and decorate their house as they please. For those who have family and children, the house may also be passed down to future generations. Otherwise, it can be used to generate income by renting out to looking tenants and exhibit investment potential.
Renting in Singapore
Some important factors to note when it comes to renting would be the location, the size of the place, the type of property, the amount of furniture provided in the space, and the duration of the stay. This would aid in the process of drawing up a potential budget.
Renting an entire condominium unit would be the most expensive, costing between $2,000 to $3,500 per month. For example, Sky Vue located at Bishan with a flexible lease would cost $3,500 per month to rent. On the other hand, common rooms are much cheaper coming at around $600 to $1,000 per month. 12B Marsiling Lane with a minimum lease of 12 months carries an affordable price tag of $600 per month.
Lighter financial responsibilities
Knowing how expensive owning a home can be in Singapore, buying can be quite intimidating as paying off the loan can last for many years, even up to one’s retirement years. For short-term stay, renting can serve as an affordable option for many as one needs to neither fulfill the down payment nor mortgage of a property.
Renting also allows one to choose a location nearer to their workplace as committed stay is defined by the duration of the rental’s lease term. One also has the flexibility to downgrade or upgrade, share or move back home if they wish so. Unlike bought properties where the location and size of the home is fixed.
Lighter maintenance obligations
Buying an apartment also includes being responsible for extra charges such as water utility and electricity prices. However, these obligations may not be applicable to tenants who stay in rented spaces.
Buying in Singapore
Some important factors to consider when buying a property in Singapore is the location, size of the space, and whether it falls under private or public property. There are many types of property one can buy in Singapore such as the cheapest build-to-order HDB flats to the most expensive landed properties.
Paying off the house mortgage
Unlike rented spaces where monthly payment goes into someone else’s pocket, buying a property allows one to gradually own a home in the long-term. For example, while paying a $300,000 over 20 years may seem daunting, it actually equates to paying about $1,400 per month, and at the end of 20 years, the house belongs to the buyer.
Ability to earn income and investment potential
For those who have chosen homes with more bedrooms than they need, renting out a space to tenants can generate a form of side income. This is also possible in HDB flats as long as the Minimum Occupation Period is met.
While property prices are currently in decline, it does not mean that in the future property will not be worth as an investment. As there is no capital gains tax in Singapore and after taking away legal fees, property tax, and more, any earnings from the property market can be substantial.
Take advantage of CPF funds and government grants
When a large amount of Singaporean income contributes to their CPF accounts, one good way to tap into that money is by using it to buy property and fulfill home loan repayments. People who are renting are unable to tap into their CPF accounts and still have to continuously contribute while paying off the rent.
Likewise, those who qualify for HDB grants may use the money from the government to aid in their purchase. A grant amount of up to $50,000 is available for four-room or smaller flats in Singapore.
While rental tenants still have to pay tax, property owners do not as their loan installments and property taxes are tax-deductible.
Freedom to renovate within regulation
As the property does not belong to tenants, they are not allowed to make permanent changes to their living spaces. However, as a property owner, one has the absolute freedom to do anything they want to their home.
As there is no inheritance tax in Singapore, one may pass down a property to loved ones without the burden of paying taxes. However, do note that most HDB flats and condominiums in Singapore bear a maximum duration of 99 years for their lease terms, which means that future generations may not be able to stay in the same property.
Depending on where one may be in life, their home purchase decisions may vary. For those who are young and do not have much financial commitment, renting a place in the short-term is a good way to stay near to their workplaces and be independent. However, for those who have family or are seeking a permanent place to call home, buying a property may be a better option in the long run.