When an expat rents a property in Singapore they tend to sign up to a two year contract. There are ways of course to get out of a contract earlier than this, but a two year stretch is the standard approach here.
We are nearing the end of our first two years and are very happy where we live but, with a new baby on the way and a new school location to consider for Elise next year, we thought it best to explore our options and see what else might be about.
And it got me thinking about all the various places our friends live and which locations really work best for expat families.
Most expats live in condos here but some live in landed properties as well (both stand alone houses and semi detached). Cluster houses are also fairly common outside of the city. Here are the differences between the options and some pros and cons:
A high rise condo on the East Coast
A lower rise condo development in Katong
The newer ones have decent fittings (not always but usually).
Usually have excellent shared amenities including swimming pools; BBQ pits and communal eating areas; clubhouse; gym; playgrounds
As a result of this you're more likely to become part of a social community which can be very useful when you have young children
There's a huge range of condos to choose from in Singapore!
Rooms can be smaller.
You might have noisy neighbours above, below and /or nextdoor! Luckily we've never had this problem in Singapore.
You may not get any outdoor space or balcony but if you do, the space is usually small.
A villa style landed house
A beautiful 'black and white' property
You get a lot of space for your money in the main - obviously this is location dependent.
You might get a garden or private pool.
Rooms tend to be bigger than condos.
You might land a pretty black and white house!
Singapore is hot and your children will rarely use your garden!
A private pool and garden require maintenance. And you lose the community of meeting other children at your pool.
A cluster development
Cluster developments are usually homely environments. There will be about 20-40 houses within a development. They might be built in a long terrace or in a circular shape for example.
They often have shared amenities such as a swimming pool, climbing frames, BBQ pits
Because of the point above you actually see your neighbours and there's a greater sense of community than you get in a house or semi detached.
Cluster houses tend to be tall and thin and so are built over 2-4 levels. It means there are often lots of stairs (consider all the stair gates if you have small children!)
Having multiple floors can be tricky if you have children. For example you might need to bath one child upstairs whilst the one downstairs needs feeding. At least in a one level condo you can hear everything that's going on and move easily between your juggling acts!
Many have roof gardens. Singapore is just too hot for roof gardens. Even party couples might want to think twice about renting a place with a roof garden!
To read about which districts Singapore expats tend to live in, click here.