Whether you’ve been offered a job in the area or are looking for new opportunities, moving to Singapore demands significant adjustments. While the US and Singapore have many cultural affinities, Singaporean culture and politics are vastly different from the US in many ways. Relocating to Singapore with a small family is even tougher and requires even more preparation.
The good news is that Singapore is a great place to raise a family, and, once you start to adjust, it will quickly feel like home. Let’s look at what all families should know before they move to Singapore.
The Housing Situation
If your goal is to buy property once you get there, there are a few things you have to know first. First of all, you should know that there isn’t lots of space for development and that the government has a protectionist approach when it comes to property ownership. There are lots that only Singaporeans can buy, and you should know what these are so that you can narrow down your search.
A very common type of property in Singapore is HDB flats, and these are only reserved for Singaporean residents. They are part of the country’s public housing scheme and are there to allow Singaporeans to always have access to reasonably priced properties. Executive condominiums are another type of property you’ll come across in Singapore, and foreigners can only buy one if it’s at least ten years old.
Other than that, foreigners can buy pretty much any type of property as long as it’s not landed. Landed properties can be accessed by foreigners, but you’ll need government approval first. The good news is that getting a mortgage as a foreigner is not that hard as long as you meet the basic requirements. There are plenty of banks with great deals in the country and you can use services like Property Guru to get the best home loan rates Singapore. They are one of the best brokers in the country and will help you with more than just finding a mortgage. They’ll give you all the information you need on how to shop for a mortgage and what you need to prepare to qualify for one.
One of the best things about moving to Singapore as an expat family is the country’s stellar public school system. Getting your child into a Singaporean school is not that complicated and the primary teaching language is English, so you don’t necessarily have to enroll them in an international school.
With that being said, you should still consider international schools. This is because state schools have long admissions lists and you might not be able to immediately enroll your children in one. This is why you should look at international schools first and apply for a state school many months in advance.
Best Places to Live In
We will start by saying that Singapore is a very family-friendly country all around and pretty much all areas could be suitable for a family. But there are still areas that are better for families because of the atmosphere, the activities, and the amenities.
If you’re looking for a nice place with a suburban feel and a vibrant American community, then the Woodlands would be perfect for you. This is where the world-famous Singapore American School is located, so you won’t have to worry about commuting if you want to send your children to an international school. The area also has some great family attractions, a vast cycling network, and many parks, so you’ll have a blast whether you like discovering new things or being close to nature.
Other neighborhoods you should check out include Katong on the east coast, Sentosa in the south, and Holland Village in the northwest.
Cost of Living
Everyone knows that Singapore is expensive, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways that you can save. A family of four will need about $4500 a month to cover the basic necessities, but there are many ways that you can limit costs. Choosing a location where you’ll need to commute as little as possible while still being affordable will make a huge difference. You should also make sure that it’s close to many ethnic supermarkets and restaurants as they tend to be much cheaper than national chains.
Another thing we would suggest is that you always buy groceries in bulk. There are many wholesale clubs in the country and many supermarkets offer bulk discounts, so shop wisely. Another good idea would be to look for a lot near the Malaysian border so you can go border hopping for shopping.
These are all things you need to be aware of before moving to Singapore. The country is great for families but it requires some adaptation, so be ready for a minor culture shock at the beginning.
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