HDB, suburban condo rental gap shrinks

The CBD skyline, showing the skyscrapers in the city centre, as well as HDB flats and private condominiums.
The CBD skyline, showing the skyscrapers in the city centre, as well as HDB flats and private condominiums. PHOTO: ST FILE

The sluggish property market has brought rental prices down faster for private property than for Housing Board flats, narrowing the price gap between suburban condominiums and public flats in particular.

Five years ago, renting a suburban condominium unit rather than a five-room flat could have cost more than $1,000 extra. Yet doing so is just $500 more expensive today.

This is based on SRX Property data on median monthly rents for HDB flats and non-landed private residential units outside the central region, excluding executive condominiums.

HDB rentals have thus proven to be more resilient against downward pressure.

But property experts say the narrowing price gap may be due to smaller private properties being rented out. On a per square foot basis, the rental gap has not shrunk significantly.

As condo sizes have been shrinking over the years, tenants today may pay less simply because they rent smaller units, said experts. They added that the aggregate data could also disguise other differences such as location.

The downward pressure on rents is expected to continue, with rental supply increasing this year as more condos are completed and HDB upgraders seek to rent out their flats.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2016, with the headline 'HDB, suburban condo rental gap shrinks'. Print Edition | Subscribe