Finding an Apartment: With so many people constantly moving in and around Singapore, finding a home isn’t very difficult. There are plenty of brokers who are accustomed to working with expats on long and short-term stays who can help you find a serviced apartment (much like living in a hotel) or more permanent arrangements. If you want to look on your own, Property Guru is the most popular housing website, but AirBnB is a useful resource for those looking to share a place or find short-term accomodations.
Most apartments come equipped with Wi-Fi, cable television, heat, and air-conditioning (essential during the hotter months!), but many of the larger complexes also have a gym, pool, and outdoor areas that can be rented out on the weekends.
As a general rule of thumb, rent is highest near downtown areas—apartments in Chinatown and River Valley Road are especially pricey. As rents have risen, neighbourhoods like Geylang, Novena, Holland Village, and Little India have become increasingly popular with young professionals and students who want to find something more affordable.
Serviced Apartments: Many people who are only staying in Singapore for a short amount of time, between a month and a year or two, will opt to live in serviced apartments. Independent apartments often have a minimum two-year lease, so serviced apartments supply housing to temporary workers.
Some of the most popular serviced apartments are in the Central Business District, close to both Marina Bay Sands and the Ocean Financial Center, or near Robertson Quay and River Valley Road. These are especially popular with expats, as they are close to many popular bars and restaurants. While Orchard Road is commonly associated with high-end shopping, there are many hotels and serviced apartments there, attracting more and more expat residents.
Commuting: Most of Singapore is accessible by Mass Rapid Transit. Recently opened stations in the downtown area have made getting to and from Chinatown and Marina Bay a snap, but unfortunately, living in Robertson Quay still requires a notoriously long commute, as there isn’t a MRT station near River Valley Road.
Rent: Like most things in Singapore, housing is very expensive—particularly if you want to live in the Central Business District, close to where most of the action takes place. The CBD is popular with people living on an “expat package” —where their employer pays housing costs —but this drives up rent prices in the area. Living with roommates to share costs in an expensive neighborhood is one way around this issue—people are constantly moving in and out of Singapore, so there is a steady supply of empty rooms and young professionals looking for new roommates. Easy Roommate and Share Accommodation are both useful resources for finding roommates in Singapore.