Singapore Empty Homes May Climb to Highest Since 1998


Sam King had a pleasant surprise when the lease on his Singapore apartment came up for renewal late last year. For the first time in six years, King was able to negotiate a lower rent with his landlord.

“It has turned into a tenant’s market,” said the 29-year-old sales director at an aviation services company, who got a 10 percent reduction in the rent on his two-bedroom penthouse in the east of Singapore. His landlord also agreed to split some renovation costs, and provide new curtains and lights.

As Singapore’s property market cools following five years of price gains, the number of empty apartments is on the rise, putting pressure on some landlords and giving the upper hand to tenants like King who are renegotiating their leases. Vacancy rates for private residential homes rose to 7.1 percent during the quarter ended Sept. 30, up from a low of 4.6 percent in March 2010 and the highest since March 2006, data from the Urban Redevelopment Authority showed.



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