Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

February 29, 2008

Set up hotels in suburbs to create more vibrancy

Filed under: Community Voices,Expat Community,Hotel — Propertymarketupdates @ 9:08 am

I REFER to the report, ‘12 sites set aside for new hotels to ease room crunch’ (ST, Feb15).

I don’t know why hotels have to be in the city or at the fringes. Why can’t they be in the suburbs like Tampines or Jurong East. A hotel in Woodlands would probably do very well. Singapore is compact and our transportation system reasonably good.

New three-star hotels can be located close to train stations and near shopping, food and beverage, and entertainment facilities. These places can be no more than 30 minutes by train to the city centre.

This way the retail trade in the suburbs could be enhanced and there will be greater vibrancy. Hotel rates could also be made more affordable.

Anthony Leong Chee-Hong

Source : Straits Times – 18 Feb 2008

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9 in 10 find S’pore an expensive place to live in

Filed under: Community Voices,Expat Community — Propertymarketupdates @ 8:32 am

Respondents in Sunday Times poll blame higher cost of housing, transport, food and utilities

HOUSEWIFE Goh Lay Leng has seen her monthly grocery bills go up by 10 per cent, and that has prompted the mother of four to look for cheaper alternatives.

‘Everything is increasing and we’re spending more. My husband says there’s hardly any money left at the end of the month,’ said Madam Goh, 44.

Her engineer husband brings home about $5,000 a month and the family lives in a four-room flat in Pasir Ris.

A total of 91 per cent of the 353 respondents in a Sunday Times survey agreed with Madam Goh, saying that Singapore had become an expensive place to live in.

The survey had been conducted in late December to understand Singaporeans’ attitude to money.

Nine in 10 also felt that Singapore was an expensive place to raise a family. Less than half were confident that their living standard would improve in the next two years.

They blamed the higher cost of housing, transport and basic necessities such as food, water and power.

Almost half said that they felt the financial strain of servicing mortgages or rents, although 36 per cent were contented.

Nearly half felt that a family of four needed between $50,000 and $70,000 a year – or $4,167 to $5,833 a month – to live comfortably.

The latest figures from the Department of Statistics show that the average household’s income went up by 9.6 per cent last year, the biggest increase in at least a decade.

It rose to $6,280, up from $5,730 the year before. Families with higher incomes also had bigger pay hikes than those in lower-income households, widening the rich-poor gap.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said recently that he expected inflation this year to be 5 per cent or more. It was about 2 per cent last year.

MP Halimah Yacob said that the public’s mood may have been dampened by the continuing prospect of high inflation. But she was also heartened that Singaporeans were practical and prudent.

‘They think of investing in their children’s education and old age and that reflects that they do recognise the need to plan for the long term,’ she said.

Take 41-year-old Madam Zaina Mohammad. The part-time cashier and her Cisco officer husband’s combined monthly income is just $2,000, but the couple make sure they deposit $50 every month into each of their three children’s bank accounts for their education fund.

Like her, the priority for most Singaporeans is their children’s future. If they had a million dollars, 27 per cent said that they would spend most of the money on education.

One possible indication as to why their children’s education reigned supreme: More than half of those surveyed said that they were either not sure, or did not think that their children would be able to improve upon or afford their present lifestyle as adults.

Another indication of Singaporeans’ prudent and practical traits: More than four in five chose to save their surplus income every month.

Despite rising prices, nearly all the people polled had no plans to pack up for greener pastures.

Ninety per cent agreed that Singapore was still a place worth living in. Also, two in five were glad that Singapore had become one of the richest countries in the world, because it meant better public amenities, a more cosmopolitan society and a vibrant nightlife and cultural scene.

Despite having to scrimp and save, Madam Zaina isn’t going anywhere. ‘It’s peaceful here and it is our home after all,’ she said.

Source : Sunday Times – 17 Feb 2008

February 28, 2008

Singapore population hits 4.6 million

Filed under: About Singapore,Expat Community,Facts & Figures — Propertymarketupdates @ 3:11 pm

Number of foreigners increasing faster than citizens, PRs

SINGAPORE’S economic planners think the country can hold 6.5 million people, a size they feel will be ideal to keep the economy humming.

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, however, feels the optimum population size for tiny Singapore might be smaller, between 5 and 5.5 million.

The latest numbers released yesterday by the Singapore Department of Statistics – after some refinements that exclude persons who were away for at least 12 months continuously, in line with United Nations guidelines – show that Singapore is just less than one million people away from hitting that figure recently suggested by Mr Lee.

Singapore’s total population has swelled to 4.6 million – and that was seven months ago.

The drive to attract foreign talent to make up the local shortage is apparently bearing fruit. The number of foreigners who work and live here has crossed the one-million mark.

In the past five years, the figure grew three times as fast as the number of Singaporeans and permanent residents.

The result: foreigners made up 22 per cent of Singapore’s total population as at June 2007, up from 18 per cent in 2003. From 2006 to 2007, the number of foreigners jumped nearly 15 per cent to 1,005,500.

Locals and permanent residents rose by less than 2 per cent to 3,583,100.

Source : Business Times – 4 Feb 2008

February 27, 2008

Looking for a room to rent? Try ex-army camp

Filed under: Community Voices,Expat Community,Rental News — Propertymarketupdates @ 11:59 pm

Two former barracks redeveloped as hostels to meet housing crunch caused by surge in number of foreigners here.

WHEN rent for engineering student Wu He Kun and his three friends got too high, they turned to a former army camp instead.

From paying $1,600 a month for a three-room flat in Commonwealth, the four China students now shell out just $1,000 a month for a two-room hostel in the former Singapore Civil Defence Force camp in Jalan Bahar.

The housing crunch in Singapore, due to a boom in the number of foreigners living here, has caused the Singapore Land Authority to open up two former military barracks in the last six months to be used as hostels. The number of foreigners here went up from 798,000 in 2005 to 875,500 in 2006.

Highlighting his problem, Mr Wu, 24, said: ‘I viewed so many flats online but the rents were all more than what they offer here,’ he said.

Property developers are also seeing the potential in making money from such alternative homes.

Last week, five hostel operators made bids for the former Ulu Pandan camp and the winning company, E M Services, won only after a bid which was 60 per cent above the valuation.

E M Services, which bid $122,725 of monthly rent, is planning to pump $5 million to transform the camp into a full-facility student hostel. The lease is renewable on terms till 2017.

When the Ulu Pandan hostel starts operations in June, these two former camps will house up to 1,800 foreign students in total.

For the Jalan Bahar site, Jian Yu Construction spent $7 million to spruce up the place including repainting and landscape works.

There are 360 units each between 420 and 500 sq ft, with a kitchen, toilet and living room. The rent ranges from $700 to $1,100.

The hostel opened last July and now houses close to 900 foreign students.

Vietnamese student Tho Nguyen, 16, is now paying $500 for a unit he shares with two others. The Informatics student has been here since last September.

‘I like the fresh air and open space here,’ he said. ‘This is something I don’t get back home.’

The third camp tenanted out was the old police hostel in Cantonment which was converted into Pearl’s Hill Hostel in 2004.

Vita Group pumped in $1.5 million on renovations, alterations, retrofitting and furniture to turn the old building into a hostel.

With its central location, 85 per cent of its 142 units were snapped up by foreign students in the first six months of operation.

Bangladeshi trainee doctor Fetama Yasmin, 39, pays $650 monthly for a room she shares with another. She works at the Singapore General Hospital nearby.

‘Sometimes, I even take a 20-minute walk to work and save on transport,’ she said.

Fresh air a bonus

‘I like the fresh air and open space here. This is something I don’t get back home.’ VIETNAMESE STUDENT THO NGUYEN, on the unit he rents at the former SCDF camp in Jalan Bahar.

Source : Sunday Times – 3 Feb 2008

January 9, 2008

Singapore occupancy costs up 106%

Filed under: About Singapore,Expat Community,Facts & Figures — Propertymarketupdates @ 2:27 am

This makes it 13th most expensive place to work in: DTZ reportOCCUPANCY costs in Singapore have soared 106.4 per cent over the past year – among the highest increase across the 137 locations surveyed – according to a new report.

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This means that Singapore is now the 13th most expensive place to work in globally, according to the report by property firm DTZ Debenham Tie Leung.

In 2007, Singapore was ranked 55th.

London’s West End continued to be the most expensive location globally, while Hong Kong retained its second position.

DTZ defines occupancy cost as the average total cost of leasing net usable space of 10,000 square feet within a prime CBD location.

It includes rent and outgoings, such as maintenance costs and property tax, if these are normally payable by the occupier. Each city is then ranked on a ‘per workstation’ basis.

Occupancy cost in Singapore came to US$16,220 per workstation per year – more than double the occupancy cost recorded a year ago.

By comparison, occupancy cost in London’s West End is US$31,160 per workstation a year, while Hong Kong’s stands at US$27,540.

DTZ’s survey showed strong occupier demand across all key global regions – with Asia, central and eastern Europe and the Middle East leading the way despite fallout from the US sub-prime crisis.

In particular, cities in the Asia-Pacific region enjoyed a buoyant office market in 2007 – a trend that was especially evident in Singapore.

The uptrend, DTZ said, can be expected to continue going forward.

‘With no significant new supply till 2010 and the depletion of office stock in the CBD as several office buildings undergo redevelopment and/or upgrading, office occupancy cost is expected to rise further,’ said Angela Tan, DTZ South- East Asia’s executive director.

However, while occupancy costs here are expected to continue climbing this year, the rate of increase will be slower than in 2007, experts said. This is because office rentals are expected to climb at a slower rate in 2008.

‘Overall demand numbers for 2008 are not likely to match those for 2007 given the lower expectations for the economy, particularly as companies in the financial and business services (the major consumers of office space) could test their vulnerability against a potential global credit crunch situation in 2008,’ said DBS Group Research in a recent report.

Source : Business Times – 8 Jan 2008

How can landlord reclaim house when tenant fails to pay rent?

Filed under: Community Voices,Expat Community,Legal Ground,Rental News — Propertymarketupdates @ 2:09 am

Q MY FRIEND’S three-room terrace house in Singapore was rented out to a divorcee and her daughter. The tenant put down a total deposit of $1,200, consisting of one month’s rental of $1,000 and $200 for utility bills.

The tenant last paid rent in April last year. She owes four months’ rent, or $4,000. Before that, she had been late in making payments for several months. Unpaid bills for utilities add up to about $100.

The landlord has chased the tenant for rental payment since June. At first, the tenant gave many excuses and promises, but they all turned out to be false.

Since late July, the tenant has stopped answering the landlord’s calls to her mobile phone and has also not returned any SMSes. She and her daughter were hardly ever at home.

In late July, the landlord locked the front and back gates of the house with extra padlocks but did not enter the house. The tenant’s possessions are still in the house. The tenant did not attempt to enter the house or contact the landlord.

The landlord made a police report that the tenant owed money and could not be contacted. The landlord’s primary goal is to reclaim the house and rent it to someone else. The money owed is secondary.

A notice containing details of the amount owed and of the police report that had been made was posted on the front door of the house. The same notice was circulated to neighbours.

The tenant’s furnishings were bought from a furniture company on instalment.

My questions are:

a) Does the landlord have the right to lock up the front and back gates of the house without entering the house?

b) What are the landlord’s liabilities if he enters the house and then sells the tenant’s possessions to reclaim part of the money owed?

c) What are the landlord’s liabilities if he enters the house, takes photos of the interior of the house with all the tenant’s possessions, for documentation purposes, and then moves the possessions into a storage room?

After that, can the landlord rent out the house to another tenant but keep the storage room for his own use in order to store the previous tenant’s possessions?

d) If the tenant makes a police report that the landlord entered the house and took her possessions, can the police arrest the landlord?

e) Can the furniture company make a claim against the landlord for selling the furnishings that are still being paid for by instalment?

f) What is the best method to evict the tenant in my friend’s case?

A WHEN a tenant fails to pay rent, the landlord may of course sue the tenant for the arrears of rent, just as he could with any other debt due and owing.

The action must be brought within six years of the date that the arrears became due.

However, the landlord has two other specific remedies, namely, distress under the Distress Act and forfeiture of the lease.

Distress is an ancient remedy that is quite similar to seizure and sale – that is, the tenant’s goods are seized and sold, and the rent owing must not exceed 12 months of the tenancy.

Such an action may be brought if the tenant is still in occupation or has his goods or belongings on the property. The procedure starts with the filing of a writ of distress that is addressed to the sheriff. The sheriff will seize the goods, and make an inventory and a valuation. He will also give the tenant a notice of the seizure, informing him of the rent owed and that the goods seized will be sold at a stated place and time.

Such a notice may be pasted in a conspicuous place on the premises. The tenant has five days to pay up from the date of notice or to apply to court for an order to stop the sale.

On the tenant’s application, the court may order that the goods be released unconditionally, direct that an issue be tried and so suspend the writ, or hold that the goods may be sold.

Of course, if no application is made, the goods will be sold and the proceeds applied first to pay the sheriff’s costs and then to satisfy the outstanding rent. The balance, if any, would be returned to the tenant.

Certain items cannot be distrained, such as things in actual use in the hands of the tenant, tools and implements, and his necessary clothes and bedding for himself and his family.

Only movable items may be seized, so fixtures are excluded. It is also common for most hire-purchase companies to expressly provide in the hire-purchase agreement that the hiring shall automatically terminate if the hirer’s landlord takes any steps to levy distress. Therefore, such goods cannot be seized and, if seized, would be released by the court.

Where the tenant has abandoned the premises and there is insufficient property for distress, then if (a) the rent is not less than 75 per cent of the annual value of the property and (b) the rent has been in arrears for at least two months, the landlord may apply to court to enter and take possession of the premises.

The sheriff will paste a notice informing the tenant that possession will be given to the landlord unless the tenant applies within 10 days, or the court orders otherwise, on the application of the tenant or some other interested party.

If the distress action is brought after bankruptcy proceedings have started against the tenant, then only three months of arrears of rent are recoverable against him. The landlord may also file a proof of debt with the Official Assignee against the bankrupt tenant, just as he could with any other unsecured creditor.

The landlord may also apply for forfeiture of the lease, which would effectively bring the lease to an end. This is usually an action for possession, and a well-drafted agreement will usually contain a clause for re-entry in the event of the tenant’s failure to pay rent.

However, the tenant may apply to court before judgment for relief from forfeiture by paying into court all the arrears of rent and costs, in which case the tenant would be able to continue with the lease and not have to enter into a new lease.

Even after judgment for possession, the tenant is still entitled to relief if he pays up the judgment sum with costs within four weeks of the judgment. The law is not explicit about whether relief is still available to the tenant where the landlord has entered into possession peaceably and changed the locks. While the court might still be able to grant relief, it would, however, take into account the lapse of time as it would not be fair to the landlord if the tenant were to appear out of the blue and pay the arrears to reclaim the lease. The tenant’s significantly long absence could well be read as an implied surrender of the lease.

In your friend’s case, it appears that he has entered into possession peaceably and that has effectively brought the lease to an end.

However, your friend should be mindful of the tenant’s right to apply for relief. The tenant’s right to relief is extinguished only if your friend issued and served proceedings for possession, obtained judgment and then entered the premises on the strength of that judgment.

As for the tenant’s goods, it is prudent and best to apply for a court order as the tenant might make all sorts of allegations that his property had not been properly valued or had been sold at an undervalued price.

The police usually treat disputes between landlord and tenant as a commercial matter.

Amolat Singh

Lawyer

Amolat & Partners

Advice provided in this column is not meant as a substitute for comprehensive professional advice.

Source : Sunday Times – 6 Jan 2008

High rentals don’t worry some MNCs

Filed under: Commercial,Expat Community,Rental News — Propertymarketupdates @ 1:08 am

They are still expanding their premises: C&W report

RISING office rents may have forced some businesses to adopt a wait-and-see approach on expansion here but others are expanding anyway.

A report by Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) reveals that key leasing transactions in December 2007 include Swiss wealth manager Julius Baer taking up 26,000 sq ft of office space at HarbourFront Tower 1, US-based global engineering, construction and diversified services company Flour Daniel leasing 15,000 sq ft at 80 Robinson Road, and US-based drug development services company PharmaNet relocating to 5,000 sq ft premises at Springleaf Tower.

Bank Julius Baer was the fastest growing company in the finance and banking services sector in 2007 and its spokeswoman Lim Li Koon said that leasing the HarbourFront premises is part of its ‘business continuity plan’ strategy. Ms Lim also said that it would continue to operate out of its office at One George Street.

C&W managing director Donald Han said that the office market is experiencing a ‘flight to availability of space for expansion’ with tenants also hoping to take advantage of lower rents in the office sub-markets.

According to C&W, latest data showed that prime office net effective rents were at an average of $14.30 psf per month in November 2007, an increase of 3.5 per cent over October 2007.

Similarly net effective rents for the Top 25 Grade A office buildings rents rose to an average of $16.02 psf per month in November 2007 from $15.54 psf per month in October 2007.

Mr Han said many businesses in Grade A areas like Raffles Place, where occupancy is close to 100 per cent, are currently negotiating to renew their leases. ‘Companies that need to be located close to their clients cannot move far from this comfort zone,’ he said.

Those that can are looking outside the CBD. Average rents for the office sub-market in areas like Beach Road and HarbourFront are around $10-$11 psf per month.

‘The secondary (sub) market is becoming the primary target for tenants looking to relocate at the moment,’ Mr Han said.

Source : Business Times – 3 Jan 2008

December 20, 2007

Rents for state-owned homes rise

Filed under: Expat Community,Regulators,Rental News — Propertymarketupdates @ 11:20 am

Now, you too can live like the colonial sahibs of old, as long as you are prepared to make the highest offer for monthly rental in an open bid.

But be warned, rents of homes under the Singapore Land Authority’s (SLA) first bidding exercise held recently, increased by between 40 to 230 per cent over previous rents.

Before the open bidding system, the allocation of homes was done through a balloting exercise or on a first-come-first-serve basis.

But in October and November, SLA piloted the new open bidding system of allocating homes to make the process fairer and more transparent with five homes awarded so far. One of these, a bungalow on a 2,687 sq m site at King Albert Park, also set a new benchmark rent of $23,222 a month for a state-owned residential property.

On the new system, SLA deputy director of land lease private Teo Cher Hian said: ‘This way, market forces decide the rental that can be fetched for the state properties.’

The new system appears to be popular with 84 bids received for the first five properties. Of these bidders, 64.3 per cent were locals, with companies and foreigners making up 22.6 per cent and 13.1 per cent of the bids respectively.

Mr Teo also said that many of the bids were higher than the guide rents set by SLA.

Although the widely held perception is that these state-owned properties are cheap to rent, SLA says that guide rents are determined by an independent valuer based on the size, condition, location and proposed tenure of each property.

The properties are also let in their existing condition, usually unfurnished with rents starting as low as $400 per month for a small flat. Enhancement of these properties is also not a primary objective as some of these units sit on sites that could eventually be redeveloped.

SLA has a total stock of 2,360 homes comprising landed and non-landed properties, representing about 19 per cent of the total estimated gross floor area of state properties it manages.

SLA’s rental homes have an occupancy rate of about 91 per cent. But existing tenants are usually allowed to directly renew their leases although the rents may be increased.

In its last financial year (April 1, 2006 – March 31, 2007) SLA says that its residential rental revenue was $78 million, up 2.6 per cent or $2 million from the previous year. SLA added that rents increased by an average of 5 per cent in this period with the highest increase of 23 per cent recorded for just one property.

Previously, rents for apartments ranged between $400-$3,800. Terrace, semi-detached and bungalow rents ranged between $600-$3,333, $800- $11,500, and $1,100- $23,222 respectively.

But the impact of the new bidding system to SLA’s rental revenue is, however, not likely to show any immediate significant increase, as so few of these properties actually come up for rent. For the first half 2008, SLA expects only about 36 homes to be made available for rent – upon being vacated – with six homes expected in January followed by seven in February and six in March.

Those interested in bidding for these can submit their bids to SLA at a stipulated time and date. The bidding period will be six days. More details will be available on SLA’s website www.spio.sla.gov.sg from Dec 14.

But do take note that for a bid to qualify, the bidder’s average monthly income has to generally be at least three times the monthly rental bid so only those earning over $60,000 a month need bother looking at those grand old black and white bungalows.

Source : Business Times – 10 Dec 2007

Want to rent this? Make a bid for it

Filed under: Expat Community,Market Watch,Rental News — Propertymarketupdates @ 11:19 am

RENTERS who have long hankered after that state-owned black-and-white colonial bungalow but are put off by the long waiting list can now bid for their dream home.

State landlord Singapore Land Authority (SLA) said it is opening up its properties for bidding to make their allocation more transparent.

Currently, tenants check SLA’s portal www.spio.sla.gov.sg for information on available properties and then register their interest with SLA-appointed agents.

There is usually a long waiting list for these properties as demand is high. State properties can be 5 to 50 per cent cheaper than properties in the private market.

Renters have said that getting one is like winning the lottery – a tenant is selected either on a first-come, first-served basis or through a balloting exercise when a property is released.

Under the new scheme, anyone interested in these properties will be invited to view them during open houses. They then have up to one week to submit a private bid to the SLA. Bidding will close the following Friday and results will be announced the same day.

The new system will allow these buildings to be secured within a week or so of their being made available.

All in, SLA has 2,360 units available for rent and the occupancy rate is 91 per cent. However, not all of them will come under the bidding scheme.

An SLA spokesman said the new method ‘encourages a fairer allocation process’. The bidding system also allows market forces to decide the value of the properties, ensuring a ‘more accurate market value’.

At least 36 houses in popular locations – ranging from terraced and semi-detached houses to bungalows – will be open for bidding in the first half of next year.

Mr Kevin Barrios, 29, a postgraduate student from the United States due to start work in Singapore, expressed concern that the new procedure will drive up rents. He pays $700 for a one-bedroom apartment in the Portsdown Road area.

But Mr Eric Cheng, executive director of property agency HSR Property Group, said the bidding system is fairer.

He said many of his clients faced months, or even years, of waiting for such properties to become available.

‘If someone really needs a house and is willing to pay for it, it’s fair that he should get it,’ said Mr Cheng.

SLA held a pilot bidding exercise for five of its properties last month and Belgian pilot Bernard Latierre was one of the successful bidders.

The price he paid – $6,550 a month for a semi-detached house in Seletar with a land area of 738 sq m – is reasonable, he said.

He had waited more than eight months for it. ‘It’s near my children’s school, has lush greenery and lovely architecture. We wouldn’t have got to live here if not for this new bidding system,’ he said.

SLA said properties that have a two-year tenure and are in popular locations will be selected for bidding. Wherever possible, SLA will also allow existing tenants to renew their tenancies directly, provided the rental is adjusted to the market rate.

List of estates and price range The SLA manages more than 2,300 residential state properties and has a 91 per cent occupancy rate.

Range of properties:

Flat/Apartment – 1,090 units; rental from $400-$3,800

Terrace – 340 units; rental from $600-$3,333

Semi-detached – 390 units; rental from $800-$11,500

Bungalow – 540 units; rental from $1,100-$23,222

Some of their locations:

Alexandra Park

Seletar Airbase

Telok Blangah

Scotts Road

Malcolm Park

Medway Park

Goodwood Hill

Bukit Timah

Woodleigh Park

Most of the black-and-white bungalows are in Sembawang, Alexandra Park and Adams Park.

The next list of properties available for rental will be on the SLA portal, www.spio.sla.gov.sg, from Dec 14.

They include a bungalow in Hyderabad Road, three two-room apartments in Clemenceau Avenue North and a two-storey bungalow in Maidstone Road.

Source : Sunday Times – 9 Dec 2007

Tax climate in Singapore ranked third best in region for expats

Filed under: Expat Community,Tax Matters — Propertymarketupdates @ 11:07 am

FOR expatriates considering a posting to Asia, the personal tax climate in Singapore is third best in the region, behind Hong Kong and Taiwan. And unlike elsewhere, it makes little difference here whether the taxpayer is single or married, with or without kids.

According to Mercer’s survey of 32 ‘expatriate hotspots’, the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Hong Kong are among the world’s ‘most benign’ personal tax environments, while Belgium, Denmark and Hungary are the most onerous.

The findings also show that in general, married employees are better off than single employees tax-wise, and married employees with two children fare the best.

But the difference in tax liability is not too great in a few countries, including Singapore, while employees in China and India pay the same tax regardless of marital status.

Says Guo Xin, deputy regional head of Mercer, Asia: ‘Within Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan have the most gentle tax systems regardless of marital status. The toughest personal tax regimes can be found in India and Australia, with Indians paying more tax than Australians if they are married with two children.’

And through its Central Provident Fund scheme, Singapore has one of the highest social security contributions – second only to Japan – at 11.4 per cent. Social security payments in Hong Kong, for instance, amount to barely 2 per cent.

‘If you exclude the mandatory CPF contributions, Singapore’s tax rate for middle managers would be 5 per cent, making it the lowest rate in Asia,’ Wong Su-Yen, managing director of Mercer Asean notes.

Except for Russia, European countries fill the bottom rungs of the rankings.

Apart from taxation, other key considerations for expatriate allowances are housing, private schooling and local cost of living adjustments – all of which can add up to the high cost of a global expatriate work force. 

Source : Business Times – 4 Dec 2007

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