Beyond the Central Region: Best Places For Expats to Live in Singapore 
Share Button

Beyond the Central Region: Best Places For Expats to Live in Singapore 

By Justin Huang
Fri, Oct 21, 2022 2:39pmGrey Clock 4 min

Welcome to Singapore. Known for its political stability, multicultural and multiethnic demographic, Singapore grew from a tiny fishing town into a bustling financial hub that is a magnet for talents regional and international. A growing pool of expatriates flocking into the lion city only means one thing: real estate is heating up and getting more competitive. For those that have just recently received job offers to Singapore, fret not. Here’s a rundown of the best areas for expats to reside in Singapore. 

Kanebridge spoke with a rising real estate agent in Singapore, Denyse Chong for her insights on these trends in Singapore. 

District 9: Orchard, Cairnhill, River Valley

Not only are the properties in these areas near to the Central Business District (Raffles Place, City Hall etc), it also boasts Singapore’s famous Orchard Road Shopping Belt! Cafes, restaurants, eateries, and groceries are easily accessible when you need them, and work is only a short 20-minute commute away! Within District 9, River Valley would be my personal favourite. The Riverfront Lifestyle promises a very chill, relaxing environment that you’ll be excited to come home to after a day of work.  


District 10: Bukit Timah, Holland

Expats with children will most likely bookmark this district as this is the place you’d want to be when considering education options for your adolescents. It is surrounded by elite junior institutions such as Anglo Chinese School, Raffles Girls, Nanyang Primary, to name a few. It is also home to the Singapore Botanical Gardens where you can bond with your family over picnics. It is slightly farther out than Orchard, but even then, reaching the CBD will take you no longer than 30-mins.


District 3: Queenstown, Tiong Bahru

Tiong Bahru is known for its “quaint little vibes” with walk-up apartments, shophouses and local coffee shops. You’re also inbetween either CBD, or the Telok Blangah offices. For some weekend fun, you can easily pop by Sentosa’s beach clubs for drinks.


What is the community vibe like in those areas you have recommended?

Depending on where and which part of those areas, it can be pretty fast-paced, especially during rush hours. More so for the dwellings along the Orchard stretch. Foot and vehicular traffic can get quite heavy at the end of the day.  

Rivey Valley is a nice quiet neighbourhood.  You would meet fellow expats at the cafés in the area having brunch on weekends after walking their dogs, or fellow neighbours going for a run or cycle along the Singapore River. 

Queenstown and Tiong Bahru presents more of a local vibe with more public housing located in the area, compared to D09 and D10. If you’re looking to immerse yourself into local culture, this area can be very interesting too! 


What is the ideal age of a property to purchase in those regions?

Depending on your budget. If it’s within your financial means, purchasing a BUC (building under construction) property/brand-new property directly from the developer will be better as there are lower risks incurred from progressive payment. You are also at lower risks amidst a hike in interest rates as your loan would be disbursed progressively and not in entirety. Alternatively, you can also consider projects that have just obtained completion, so the wait is less, and you can move in immediately. 

If you’re in need of larger living spaces, I would recommend going for slightly older developments (10 years of age and above) as you would get more liveable space for the same amount of beds and bath layout. However, this is location subjective. Finding an older development may also command a higher premium than a developer’s new release due to prevailing PSF prices. 


Should I rent or buy outright?  Are there any significant barriers to entry for purchasing a dwelling in Singapore? 

If you’re here for a short but good time, renting would be a better way as you get to explore a variety of properties during your stay here. 

Barriers of entry for purchasing a property include the upfront cash on hand required amounting to 25% of property price, as well as the additional buyer stamp duties foreigners would be required to pay, above the property price, at 30%, payable in cash. This represents a huge quantum. 


Freehold or Leasehold? 

It should be pre-requisited on what your goals are. If you’re purchasing and intending to pass the property down to your children, I would say freehold. But if you’re intending to invest, leasehold is equally competitive. The returns on investment may even stand to be better than a freehold property too. 


Is it more popular to stay within the city? (Or is staying within the city fringe an upcoming trend, if so, why?)

While I believe it used to be popular to stay within the city due to close proximities to the office, nowadays, staying within the city fringe is getting increasingly popular as well. Furthermore, City Fringe property prices are much lower than that within the Core Central Region (CCR). Our Public Transportation is reliable and cost-efficient. This allows for more expats to rent at city fringe places for bigger spaces at the same budget. (An equivalent 2-bedroom rental in the city would translate to renting a 3-bedroom in the city fringe). It is a consideration for Expats to want to “detach” from work by returning to their home slightly further away from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

You may wish to contact Denyse for further assistance if you’re looking to relocate to Singapore for work. 


Denyse Chong 

(65) 97116664 




What a quarter-million dollars gets you in the western capital.

Alexandre de Betak and his wife are focusing on their most personal project yet.

Related Stories
China’s Housing Market Woes Deepen Despite Stimulus
By REBECCA FENG 18/06/2024
I.M. Pei’s Son Speaks of His Father’s Legacy of Creating ‘Places for People’ Ahead of a Retrospective in Hong Kong
By ABBY SCHULTZ 12/06/2024
By Robyn Willis 06/06/2024

Home prices declined at a faster pace in May in major cities, while other data show a mixed picture for the world’s second-largest economy

Tue, Jun 18, 2024 3 min

China’s broken housing market isn’t responding to some of the country’s boldest stimulus measures to date—at least not yet.

The Chinese government has been stepping up support for housing and other industries in recent months as it tries to revitalize an economy that has  continued to disappoint  since the early days of the pandemic.

But fresh data for May showed that businesses and consumers remain cautious. Home prices continue to fall at an accelerating rate, and fixed-asset investment and industrial production, while growing, lost some momentum.

“China’s May economic data suggest that policymakers have a lot to do to sustain the fragile recovery,” Yao Wei, chief China economist at Société Générale, wrote in a client note on Monday.

The worst pain is in the property sector, which has been struggling to deal with oversupply and weak buyer sentiment since 2021, when a multiyear  housing boom ended . The market still doesn’t appear to have found a floor, even after Beijing rolled out its most aggressive stimulus measures so far  in mid-May  in hopes of restoring confidence.

In major cities, new-home prices fell 4.3% in May compared with a year earlier, worse than a   3.5% decline in April, according to data released Monday by China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Prices in China’s secondhand home market tumbled 7.5%, compared with a 6.8% drop in April.

Home sales by value tumbled 30.5% in the first five months of this year compared with the same months last year.

“This data was certainly on the disappointing side and may ring some alarm bells, as May’s policy support package has not yet translated to a slower decline of housing prices, let alone a stabilisation,” said Lynn Song, chief China economist at ING.

Economists had also been hoping to see a wider recovery this month after Beijing started  rolling out  a planned issuance of 1 trillion yuan, the equivalent of $138 billion, in ultra-long sovereign bonds in May. The funds are designed to help pay for infrastructure and property projects backed by the authorities. Investors  gobbled up  the first batch of these bonds.

Monday’s bundle of economic data, however, underlined how the country still isn’t firing on all cylinders.

Retail sales, a key metric of consumer spending, rose 3.7% in May from a year earlier, compared with 2.3% in April, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. While the trend is heading in the right direction, it is still a relatively subdued level of growth, and below what most economists believe is needed to kick-start a major revival in consumer spending.

The expansion in industrial production—5.6% in May compared with a year earlier—was down from April’s 6.7% increase. Fixed-asset investment growth, of which 40% came from property and infrastructure sectors, also decelerated, to 3.5% year-over-year growth in May from 3.6% in April.

Key to the sluggish economic activity data in May—and China’s outlook going forward—is the crisis in the property market, which has proven hard for policymakers to address.

The property rescue package in May included letting local governments buy up unsold homes, removing minimum interest rates on mortgages, and reducing payments for potential home buyers. It also included as its centerpiece a $41 billion so-called re-lending program launched by the People’s Bank of China, which would provide funding to Chinese banks to support home purchases by state-owned firms.

The hope was that by stepping in as a buyer of last resort for millions of properties, the government would manage to mop up unsold housing inventory and persuade wary home buyers to re-enter the market. In turn, Chinese consumers, who have  most of their wealth  tied up in real estate, would feel more confident about spending again, thereby lifting the overall economy.

But the size of the re-lending program wasn’t big enough to convince home buyers, said Larry Hu , chief China economist at Macquarie Group. “Meanwhile, their income outlook also stays weak given the current economic condition,” he said.

For the property market to bottom out and reach a new equilibrium, mortgage rates, which stand at around 3-4% in China, need to be as low as rental yields, which are currently below 2% in major cities, said Zhaopeng Xing, a senior China strategist at ANZ. He said that a large mortgage rate cut will need to happen eventually.

The other key part of China’s push to revive growth revolves around the manufacturing sector, with leaders  funnelling more investment  into factories to boost output and reduce the country’s reliance on foreign suppliers of key technologies.

The result has been a surge in production. But with domestic consumption not strong enough to absorb all those goods, many factories have been forced to cut prices and seek out more overseas buyers.

Data released earlier this month showed that  Chinese exports rose  faster in May than the month before.

However, the export push is  butting into resistance  as governments around the world worry about the impact of cheap Chinese competition on domestic jobs and industries. The European Union last week said it would  impose new import tariffs  on Chinese electric vehicles, describing China’s auto industry as heavily subsidised by the government, to the point where other countries’ automakers can’t fairly compete.

The U.S.  has also hit  Chinese cars and some other products with hefty duties, while countries including Brazil, India and Turkey have opened antidumping investigations into Chinese steel, chemicals and other goods.

Beijing says such moves are protectionist and that its industries compete fairly with global rivals.