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A pricey home away from home

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Singapore has retained its third place ranking on the list of Asia’s most expensive cities when it comes to housing rental for expatriate staff.

At an average of S$6,890 for an unfurnished three-bedroom apartment, Singapore trails behind only Hong Kong at a staggering S$14,263 and Tokyo at S$10,770, a report by ECA International found.

Singapore’s three-bedroom average is above the regional average of S$4,494 and the global average of S$3,741.

Despite the high rents, the figures are still about 2% to 3% lower than those reported in 2012.

“With more and more companies setting up operations in the region, the need for the type of housing appropriate for international assignees has increased. Yet, with an often already limited supply of such properties in many countries here, demand significantly outstrips supply driving up rents,” Lee Quane, regional manager for ECA International Asia, said.

Tokyo, despite coming in second place this year, saw a decrease of 5% in property rents – most likely a result of more companies relocating operations out of Japan.

The biggest increases in rents were in China, with a 12% year-on-year increase in Beijing, and India, where property is now 12% more costly in Bangalore and 7% more expensive in Mumbai when compared to a year ago.

“For many companies sending employees on international assignment, financing accommodation can be one of the most significant assignment costs incurred, so companies looking to control costs should consider the issue holistically, taking into account not only the standard of the accommodation they provide, but also its size and location,” Quane said.

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