Rental market largely unaffected by foreigner quotas

It has been six months since authorities imposed quotas on subletting HDB flats to foreigners and only about one percent of Housing Board neighbourhoods have reached the limit as of June, according to HDB in media reports.

Notably, this is about the same proportion affected by the policy when it was implemented in January.

Since then, only 11 percent of the flats in a block or eight percent of the flats in a neighbourhood can be wholly sublet to foreigners or Permanent Residents (PRs). However, Malaysians are exempt from the restrictions due to cultural similarities.

Additionally, the rule does not apply to renting out rooms.

The measure is aimed at preventing the “formation of foreigner enclaves in HDB estates, and maintain the Singaporean character of our HDB heartland,” said HDB.

Property agents noted although the overall rental market has been cool, it has been largely unaffected by the new measure unless they are focusing on desirable areas, such as near MRT stations in the west.

“Most of the blocks that are more popular near the MRT are affected,” said Dennis Wee Realty agent Jimmy Chua.

Century 21’s CEO Ku Swee Yong expects the quotas to affect Jurong East, where two hospitals, with over 4,000 healthcare workers, are set to be completed in a year.

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