The issue of skyrocketing rents for expatriates here was hotly debated on social media this week, after some told TODAY that the steep hikes had made them contemplate leaving Singapore.
A survey by the European Chamber of Commerce also found that half of expatriates surveyed were hit by rental hikes of more than 40 per cent, while about seven in 10 businesses here said they are ready to relocate their staff if no help is offered to manage rising costs.
Some TODAY readers said the hikes were justified as landlords were themselves hit by higher interest rates, and suggested the expatriates downgrading as an alternative. Others cautioned that an exodus of expatriates would have negative knock-on effects on businesses. Here’s a selection of comments:
There was a period where rents were so low that landlords couldn’t even cover their mortgage and management fees with the rentals collected due to the weak market sentiments. All that time, landlords had to top up (the difference) from their own pockets… So now when landlords have a chance to earn, of course must earn lah. They don’t know when this increase will last. ROSZ TOH
If you are a mid-level expat and cannot stay in the central district, just move to the heartland where rents are still affordable. The key is that (their) spouses cannot work to mitigate the rise, as compared to Singaporeans who are mostly double income earners… With high interest rates and other costs, owners have to adjust (rentals) up, but not at 75-100 per cent, that is just too much; 40-50 per cent is more reasonable. M W JOHN TAN
It really is a chicken and egg issue. If no foreign multinational company wishes to set up in Singapore, we are the ones who will lose out eventually because there won’t be enough jobs… at the end of the day, everyone suffers. RYAN TAN WEE SOON
Expats leaving is not necessarily a good thing for Singaporeans. First, without expats to rent these apartments, landlords will eventually suffer and are left to fend for themselves in a high interest rate environment. Secondly, fewer expats also mean less money being spent in the economy… and this would definitely have an impact on local businesses. Lastly, a massive brain drain of talent may result in many companies deciding to shift offices abroad to other cheaper places… this will result in massive layoffs. ジャステン简
Singapore depends very much on our talents (be it local or foreign) to attract big international companies setting up here. When talents start to leave for somewhere, the big companies start to leave too to where all these talents are going. And what will happen to the locals and their jobs? ARIEL ONG
Hopefully more doors (will) open to locals to fill up the vacancies. It will cost less to hire locals without the need for big pay packages that include accommodation and transportation. SHAHZ ABD
These comments were first posted on TODAY’s Facebook page. They have been edited for clarity, accuracy and length. If you have views on this issue or a news topic you care about, send a letter to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.