Cost of Living in Singapore

The cost of living in Singapore is on the rise. The Mercer Cost of Living Survey for 2018 ranked it the fourth most expensive city in the world out of 209 cities, just after Hong Kong and Zurich, but well ahead of cities like London and New York.

The good news is that taxes are low, professional salaries generally match the high cost of living, and expat packages can include benefits like transport, school fees and accommodation allowances. But amidst increased competition for jobs, expats interested in working in Singapore may need to accept a salary without many additional benefits. In this case, expats will need to ensure they budget adequately for Singapore's high cost of living.

Cost of accommodation in Singapore

Accommodation is the largest expense that expats in Singapore will have to shoulder, but they can relieve some of this burden by opting for a private apartment or a government housing flat (HBO) rather than a lavish condominium that might come with recreational facilities such as swimming pools, tennis courts and playgrounds for children. Expats that choose to live in houses and bungalows can expect to pay a lot. A large bungalow might cost S$35,000 per month, while a three-bedroom HBO flat will cost around S$3,000 per month. Costs vary wildly depending on the age, condition and location of the housing, and clearly expats will get more for their money by living further out from the city centre.

Cost of food in Singapore

Depending on personal spending habits, shopping for groceries can be a modest or extortionate expense. Expats fond of purchasing imported products from back home may be startled at how quickly costs stack up.

Although Singapore offers many tempting choices of delicious cuisine, eating out can be an expensive exercise. However, if expats stick to hawker centres rather than restaurants, sampling the local fare can be more affordable.

Cost of transportation in Singapore

Public transport in Singapore is efficient and significantly cheaper than using private vehicles, with EZ-link travel cards providing good value for moneyOwning a vehicle is a luxury rather than a necessity in Singapore and, thanks to the heavy taxes cars are subject to, is a costly venture.

International Schools

Many expats choose to send their children to one excellent international schools available in Singapore, and these fees are sometimes included as part of their employment package. Annual fees range from SGD15,000 to SGD40,000, with extras on top. 

Domestic Help

The average cost of a live-in maid is between SGD600 and SGD1,000 a month, inclusive of thier salary and government levy. The employer will need to provide accommodation and food as part of the package. It's also possible to hire part-time domestic workers for between SGD10 and SGD20 per hour.

Cost of living in Singapore chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for October 2018.


Accommodation (monthly)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

SGD 2,900

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

SGD 2,000

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

SGD 4,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

SGD 3,000

Food and drink

Eggs (dozen)


Milk (1 litre)


Rice (1 kg)


Loaf of white bread 


Chicken breasts (1kg)


Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

SGD 14

Eating out

Big Mac Meal


Coca Cola (330 ml)   

SGD 1.50



Bottle of local beer


Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

SGD 50


Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

SGD 0.15

Internet (uncapped ADSL – average per month)

SGD 45

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

SGD 145

Public transportation 

Taxi (rate per km) 

SGD 0.60

City centre bus/train fare

SGD 1.80

Petrol/gasoline per litre

SGD 2.30

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Aetna International

Aetna is an award-winning insurance business that provides health benefits to more than 650,000 members worldwide. Their high quality health insurance plans are tailored to meet the individual needs of expats living and working abroad.

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Cigna Global

With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.

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