According to the latest figures released by property website 99.co and the Singapore Real Estate Syndicate (SRX) (31 January), HDB rents as a whole rose by 28.5 per cent and flat rents by 34.4 per cent for the year.
In terms of months, HDB and condo rents have risen for 30 and 24 months respectively. The rental market is a "rising market".
The rental market has been in a state of "upward spiral", with a wide range of outrageous rental prices.
According to the New Matinee, as of January 29, the number of four-bedroom HDB flats available for rent at $4,000 and above has almost doubled in the past two months. From a total of 114 units in October and November last year, the number has doubled to a total of 223 units in December and January this year.
A HDB flat in Block 17, Seng Poh Road, Tiong Bahru, with a lease of less than 50 years, was rented out for $6,200 in December last year, the highest in the past year.
According to reports, these old HDB flats were built by the Singapore Improvement Trust and have an unusual design with a four-bedroom flat measuring nearly 1,200 square feet.
Apart from this $6,200 'king', there are at least three other four-bedroom HDB flats across the island, two of which are in the Tashiling HDB and another in Jalan Tenteram in the Whampoa area, where rents exceeded $6,000.
A HDB flat in Tiong Bahru Sungpoh Road was rented out for a record $6,200. (Google Map)
A combination of factors, including delays in HDB pre-purchase projects due to the epidemic, a surge in foreigners due to the opening of the border and rising mortgage rates in line with the global interest rate hike, have made 2022 a year when landlords' pockets are full.
But for those who are still in need of a home to rent this year, 2023 may not be a relief.
According to industry analysts, the local rental market for both HDB and private housing will basically move in the following directions this year.
Rent increases will slow down, but will remain high.
This means that rental groups such as locals, foreign workers and students who are waiting for their HDB flats to be handed over to them will still have to look to their landlords.
OrangeTee & Tie's Vice President of Research and Consulting, Sun Yanqing, predicts that HDB rents will continue to grow by 15 to 18 per cent in 2023.
Private rents are also expected to climb by 13 to 16 per cent this year.
Delays in construction work during the epidemic have led to longer delivery times for some pre-owned HDB flats.
The four main factors that have slowed rent increases, but will continue to rise, are as follows.
1. Fewer HDB flats are eligible for MOP this year
It is estimated that only 15,700 HDB flats will reach the minimum residence period (MOP) this year, down from 31,000 last year.
This means that fewer new flats will be put on the market for whole-house rentals this year. With demand outstripping supply, landlords will continue to be in a dominant position to drive up prices.
Fewer HDB flats are expected to qualify for MOP this year than last year. (Union-Tribune)
ii. unabated demand
The effect of the full opening of the border will continue after the epidemic subsides.
As foreign workers and students continue to return, and many young couples are still waiting for their pre-purchased HDB flats to be completed, demand will remain strong and rents are expected to remain high.
Rich people forced to rent HDB flats
According to statistics, flat rents rose by 34.4% last year, up from 28.5% for HDB flats.
As a result of this increase, some tenants who were looking for private housing but found themselves unable to afford it may be forced to move to HDB flats.
The new cooling of the property market, which came into effect on 30 September last year and requires private home owners to wait 15 months after selling their homes before they can buy a resale HDB flat, may also cause some former private home owners to rent while they wait.
These types of tenants are usually more willing to accept the higher rents offered by HDB flat owners (the voice of the fans: they are already richer), which will inevitably push up HDB rents.
The sharp rise in private housing rents has also discouraged many would-be renters from moving to HDB flats. (Straits Times)
4. Interest rate hikes will come to an end
Despite warnings of an economic slowdown this year, the Fed, which has significant influence on global markets, has been reluctant to signal an apparent halt to interest rate hikes, as inflation figures are not yet certain to reach the set target.
No one can be 100% sure when the Fed will stop raising interest rates, let alone when the cycle of rate cuts will come.
As a result, landlords with bank loans may continue to raise rents in anticipation of rising mortgage rates, shifting some of the repayment pressure to tenants.