According to the expatriate management and human resource consultancy, the average rental price of an unfurnished, mid-market, 3-bedroom apartment in areas commonly inhabited by international executives in Singapore was US$4,215 a month in September 2018.
“Reductions in the population of non-residents in Singapore, a key driver of rental demand, has led to continued drops in rental prices for expatriates,” said Lee Quane, regional director – Asia at ECA International.
Recent announcements that further limit the proportion of foreign workers that companies in the services sector can employ will likely also result in a continued downward trend in rents, Quane added.
But if you thought these prices were steep, Hong Kong’s US$10,929 average rental will blow you away. Ranked in first place, the Pearl of the Orient’s rental rates are more than U$2,000 more than the US$8,668 in Tokyo.
“The main driver of increased rent across Hong Kong in 2018 was the limited availability of housing, which has been a long-term issue for the Hong Kong housing market,” Quane said.
“Rent increases are not just limited to central Hong Kong anymore either; rents are expected to rise throughout outlying neighbourhoods in 2019 too, as international firms seek more affordable office spaces and leverage options in cheaper suburbs,” he added.
And although it is in second place, rental costs in Tokyo have risen at a quicker rate than in Hong Kong, a rise of 6.9 per cent from 2017.
“A rise in tourism, coupled with the accompanying increase in landlords preferring to lease out accommodation on a short-term basis, have contributed to rising costs in recent years,” Quane said.
Over in Malaysia, rental prices in Kuala Lumpur saw a rebound after a sustained decline between 2015 and 2017, with the average rental cost for expatriates now at US$1,621 per month, an increase of US$112 from the year before.
“The domestic economy has been comparatively weak in Malaysia over the past few years, and the delivery of large stocks of properties to the rental market was not balanced by weaker demand,” Quane said.
He added: “Rents for apartments staged a recovery in 2018, but Kuala Lumpur is still very affordable for a major city in the region.”