It's a dreadful cancer on an unregulated market populated by pirates and bandits. In Singapore, unscrupulous housing agents are jacking up rental prices to unsustainable and unethical prices.
In the space of barely 5 years, rental prices have shot up by 80-200%, and in many cases, doubled and tripled.
In 2006, the rental for a 3 bedroom HDB apartment was $1800.
In 2011, the rental for the same 3 bedroom would be $3000-$3400.
In 2010, the rental for a single common room in a condominium would be $700.
In 2011, the same room would cost $900. The several hundred thousand foreign workers arriving in Singapore with no idea of the housing market are the catalyst for this problem - ignorant of the actual prices of housing in Singapore, they are held hostage by rental agents to part with an unfair chunk of their salary, at prices no Singaporean would actually pay.
If you are someone affected by rising rentals, here's what you can do, immediately and effectively, to rent your place at low and reasonable rates.
1) Choose to deal only with ethical housing agents who rent out apartments. An ethical housing agent has your interest in mind and allows you time from several days to a week to consider if you want to rent a place. An ethical housing agent never forces you to rent a place on the same day.
Put the vultures and gold-diggers out of business. With a lack of regulation in the Singapore market or any form of rent control, housing agents are quoting whatever price they can possible convince buyers of.
It is extremely common today to hear words such as," The apartments in Singapore will rent on the same day. Have you decided to buy on the same day? If you haven't, don't bother to come for a viewing." This can only end up with you living in an apartment you hate. Agents are engaging in despicable behaviour because they collect a commission of 1/2 month's rent with each apartment they sell. Don't be fooled.
A rental is an sizeable investment for you of $5000-6000 over several months.
Always choose agents who look out for your interests. Boycott agents who press you to choose on the same day. Put them out of business. Choose an agent willing to show you several rental properties.
2) Take a look at the market to make a realistic assessment.
Take a look at the condominiums in Bukit Batok in Singapore. Many condominiums in Singapore are 50-60% empty because there is no one renting them.
There are many empty apartments in Singapore.
Be aware that there are thousands of agents in Singapore, and it is a buyer's market for agents. Be aware also that there are thousands of empty apartments in Singapore - with homeowners eager to rent.
2) Offer a fair price and stick to your price.
Your apartment will be your home for the next 6 months - 2 years.
Offer a price that that is fair to you; that is in line with the demand and supply of apartments in Singapore.
Let the homeowner know that you will come back in a month with the same price - and if they have not rented it out then - they will lose the money they stand to make immediately.
Let them know that if they rent it out to you now at your price, a reasonable and agreed on price, they will benefit from having cash right now.
So stick to your guns and deal with ethical agents.
If you agree with this post, please feel free to spread it to other websites.
You are welcome to post the details of ethical housing agents on the comments of this blog.
Agents, if you follow such ethical guidelines of behaviour, you are welcome to post your contacts here.
Those who read the comments, please be aware to examine your agents thoroughly for whether they are people with your interests in mind.