Singapore: Interesting Facts and Cost of Living
Singapore has attracted many multinational companies to establish their regional headquarters in the Asia Pacific region due to its strategic location, access to skilled talent, ease of doing business, world-class infrastructure, and a stable economic and political system. It is a major expat destination and business hub in Asia and is certainly worth considering when thinking about living abroad.
The island city-state offers highly competitive professional salaries which can offset higher living costs.
Interesting Facts you should know about Singapore
- Singapore has one of the highest percentages of millionaires worldwide.
- Along with Monaco and Vatican City, Singapore is one of the three surviving city-states in the world.
- The name of the island comes from “Singapura”, which means “Lion City” in Sanskrit. Sang Nila Utama, a prince from Palembang, saw a creature he thought was a lion and as a result he named the island Singapore.
- The national language of Singapore is Malay. The four official languages of the country are English, Chinese, Tamil and Malay.
- Singapore involves 63 additional uninhabited islands in addition to its main island.
- Believe it or not, Singapore is among the 20 smallest countries in the world, where the United States is about 15,000 times bigger.
- Singapore’s Bukit Timah Nature Reserve holds more species of trees than the entire North American continent.
Cost of Living
If you are relocating to Singapore for career purposes, you will have to be aware of the work Visa types. For the most accurate and up-to-date information you can visit either the Singapore Ministry of Manpower website or InterNationsGO:
The first thing that you will notice when relocating to Singapore is the high cost of living. The Economist’s recent survey (https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2019/03/19/the-worlds-most-expensive-cities) classifies Singapore, Paris and Hong Kong as world’s most expensive cities to live in.
However, these costs are relative to expat competitive salaries for experienced workers.
Due to high demand, monthly renting costs are probably the biggest expense for expats, ranging between 500 and 2,000 SGD for a private room, to 5,000 and 7,000 SGD for a private apartment with three bedrooms in the city centre. Bear in mind, however, that these outflows can be offset by the competitive salaries available for experienced workers.
Further information about finding a new home in Singapore can be found on this link: https://www.internations.org/go/moving-to-singapore/housing.
A search for Singapore properties can be found here: https://property.singaporeexpats.com/.
Transportation costs are relatively low, so expats find public transport and even taxis highly affordable. Owning and maintaining a car in Singapore can be challenging. Many regulations have been applied due to the limited space in the city. Expats find the initial and the recurring costs substantial, which is why they often take the decision to use the well-developed public transport system instead.
Singapore has invested largely into the development of a fast and effective means of transportation for its citizens, where the metro system is considered as the most extensive and reliable one in the whole region with more than 140 stations available. Although the metro system in Singapore has undergone many improvements over the last years, the bus transportation remains the most preferred option for citizens. Further information about private and public transportation can be found here: https://www.visitsingapore.com/travel-guide-tips/getting-around/ and here: https://www.singaporeexpats.com/guides-for-expats/singapore-travel-guide.htm#Public.
Schooling and Childcare
When relocating with your family costs for schooling and childcare will be another factor to consider. The monthly childcare in Singapore for a full-time day care can cost between 500 and 1,500 SGD. Expats often find pre-school option cheaper and more convenient, where the monthly costs vary between 250 and 700 SGD. A third possible option for expats is hiring a foreign domestic helper, who can look after their children, but also assist with house duties, which costs around 500 SGD per month.
The schooling costs for older children vary. For international schools, the annual fees range between 21,000 and 47,000 SGD, whereas the public schools cost around 500 SGD per month for a primary school level and up to 1,100 SGD per month for a pre-university level. Further information about studying in Singapore can be found in the Ministry of Education website: https://www.moe.gov.sg/admissions/international-students/general-info#monthly-school-fees.
Costs for water and electricity should also be considered, accounting for 150- 200 SGD per month. If you would like to use Internet and to purchase a monthly mobile plan, further 120 SGD might be taken from your budget.
Visit the link below to find an up-to-date summary about cost of living in Singapore, where you can also make price comparisons with other cities: https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/in/Singapore.
Although the living standards in Singapore are quite high, in local currency terms, expatriate salaries continue to rise, with personal tax rates being one of the lowest in the world. This ensures that Singapore remains one of the cheaper locations for companies and expats.
If you are interested in a move to Singapore or anywhere else in the world and would like to speak to Kingpin International about International Tax Opportunities, across Direct Tax, Transfer Pricing or Indirect Tax please contact a member of the team. Alternatively, view our current International Tax vacancies.