The basics
Singapore: Student Accommodation

Student accommodation in Singapore

Our guide to student accommodation for international students studying in Singapore


One of the four ‘Asian Tiger’ economies, Singapore’s unique blend of eastern and western cultures make it a key point of trade and international interest. But for all the perks of studying in Singapore, the high cost of living and densely-packed property market are hardly a secret. Whilst it might feel stressful securing student accommodation in Singapore, it’s by no means impossible: thousands of international students flock to the nation’s universities every year, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t, too. Let our overview of accommodation options for international students in Singapore help get your study abroad planning process into gear. 


Tip: Accommodation queries might be something you want to ask a university about through our site, using the ‘Ask a question’ button.


Note: SG$ 1 = £0.47 = €0.57



Whilst it’s common for a university to offer a kind of on-campus accommodation, due to the huge amount of international students studying in Singapore it is in high demand. As a result, on-campus housing may be difficult to secure, and may be more expensive than other accommodation options.  Some campuses, such as the National University of Singapore are considered ‘campus universities,’ as there is a tangible sense of university life that happens and is centred upon campus. These sorts of universities will be most likely to offer accommodation options such as residence halls or hostels. At NUS, students can apply to live in halls, some with compulsory meal plans and some self-catered. Halls with dining plans typically host more social events, and offer students the chance to socialise at mealtimes. Other halls have convenience stores and food facilities on-site. For a single, type ‘A’ room in Prince George’s Park Residences at NUS, students will pay SG$3,240 (US$2553) in rent for semester one of the 2014 academic year.

Similarly, Nanyang Technological University offers students the chance to live in shared or single rooms within one of 16 residence halls. Rental costs range from SG$210-SG$320 (US$166-US$252) per month, including utilities. Bathrooms, showers, reading rooms and living areas are communal but do not typically provide kitchen facilities. Another ‘campus university,’ Nanyang runs a number of campus-based events, services and fairs to foster a strong sense of community.




Student hostels are common housing choices for local and international students in Singapore. Living arrangements may be made directly with an agency or through a university: for example, Singapore Management University does not provide on-campus accommodation, but does offer a limited amount of rooms at its off-campus Commonwealth Hostel. Students must apply through the university website for a room, and in the 2014 academic year will pay SG$1,733.20 (US$1366) per semester in rent, as well as a SG$300 (US$236) utilities deposit and a SG$107 (US$84) check-in fee.

Pricing depends on how many people you’ll share your room with, whether the bathroom is shared or not, the location of the hostel and how long your contract is. For a room with six-eight people, you can expect to pay roughly SG$300-SG$400 (US$236-US$315) per month, whilst a private apartment in a hostel will cost around SG$1500 (US$1182) per month. Many hostels offer meal plans for breakfast and dinner at roughly SG$200-SG$300 (US$158-US$236) per month.

Singapore Student Hostel

Yo:Ha hostels Singapore


Housing Development Board (HDB)

Housing Development Board flats and properties are government-subsidised public housing, located across all of Singapore. HDB flats are grouped within self-contained estates that include supermarkets, food centres, clinics, and even metro stations or schools. Students with a Student Pass are legally able to rent HDB properties. Typically, for a shared flat between three-five people, you might look to pay SG$1,000-SG$1,500 (US$788-US$1182) per month. This will generally be your cheapest housing option when studying abroad in Singapore, and is the housing option of choice for approximately 80% of Singaporeans. As well as being an economical choice, living in a HDB flat offers you the chance to experience the “real” Singapore as it’s experienced by most locals. However, students are advised to proceed with caution: navigating a foreign property market can be a perilous process, and you should always consult an agency or student services for advice where you’re able to.

Learn more about student visas in Singapore


Private rentals

Similarly, there are no restrictions on students renting residential units privately whilst they study in Singapore. Common rental properties are apartments and studio flats (condominiums). Condominiums are typically within a larger complex that may include a swimming pool, gym, BBQ pits or tennis courts. These properties can be expensive, and most students will opt to rent a shared property between two-four people. A standard condominium can cost around SG$1000 (US$788) per month, whilst on average, renting an apartment will cost between SG$4000-SG$5000 (US$3152- US$3940) for the whole apartment. Any property near a metro station will cost more.

Students renting privately are advised to consider enlisting the services of a housing agent, or take advantage of a university’s student services where possible. Whilst you may have to pay a fee, these bodies will help you navigate Singapore’s tough property market and work to protect your interests— particularly as a foreign student— in regards to the lease, and what you are getting for your money.

Click here for a list of accredited housing agents in Singapore


Extra tips

Students should not underestimate how limited the availability of on-campus housing can be.  Singapore is incredibly densely packed, and many students expecting a place in a hall may find that they’re forced to rent something much more expensive when they arrive in Singapore and nothing else is available. Renting in Singapore can be notoriously expensive due to limited land space, and landlords also often charge more for those staying less than three months, or are renting short-term.

Students wishing to stay on campus are urged to apply as early as possible, and begin research for back-up options just in case. Look on student forums for people looking for a housemate, enquire about off-campus housing options and deadlines, or book an initial place in a hostel for a short amount of time if you don’t need to pay for it up front. Keep an eye out for housing options where you can express interest or apply for a place without committing to a contract or putting down a deposit: you can always back out later once your other option is confirmed. The property market in Singapore is fickle, and dealing with provisional changes such as the above is something agents are used to. However, be very careful you aren’t signing yourself away to anything: be very, very clear about the conditions of the agreement and its exit clauses.

When renting privately, students should be aware that ‘fully furnished’ (‘F/Furn’) means that the rental property comes with furniture, white goods (refrigerator, laundry facilities), and all basic electrical appliances. ‘Partially furnished’ (‘P/Furn’) means that the property will only have white goods, curtains, lighting, and perhaps some loose appliances. Students have the option to request that the landlord fully furnish the property or provide additional facilities; you will always be able to negotiate these options with your landlord, and depending on what you agree will alter the final cost of rent. Provided you aren’t rude, don’t hesitate to be firm or haggle with prices: agents are used to it as part of their job and will treat it as a professional transaction.


Now that sorting out your housing situation seems less scary, start browsing courses in Singapore now and plan your study abroad adventure!


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About Author

Monica Karpinski received her BA (Media and Communications) and Diploma in Modern Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. An art and culture aficionado, in her spare time Monica enjoys film, reading and writing about art.