Toa Payoh most expensive place to live in Singapore for expats, Ang Mo Kio most affordable: Study

Another day, another survey.

Toa Payoh is the most expensive place to live in Singapore for expatriates, according to a 2024 study conducted by language-learning company Preply, which was founded in the US.

The average household income for expats residing in Toa Payoh is US$5,499 (S$7,480) and with a monthly rental cost of US$5,007, they have little left over after paying their rent, said the study.

Based on the the percentage of income to rent, the top five most expensive areas are:

  1. Toa Payoh: 91 per cent
  2. Bukit Merah: 86 per cent
  3. Outram: 77 per cents
  4. Kallang: 75 per cent
  5. Geylang: 66 per cent

On the other end, the top five most affordable areas are:

  1. Ang Mo Kio: 23 per cent
  2. Sembawang: 27 per cent
  3. Yishun: 28 per cent
  4. Punggol: 29 per cent
  5. Choa Chu Kang: 30 per cent

It would appear that in general, the farther you live from the city centre, the lower the rent.

According to the same study, Singapore ties with Basel, Switzerland, as the third best city in the world for expats to work and live.

"A new entry on the updated global expat index, Singapore emerges as the third best location for expats in 2024. Despite monthly living costs amounting to US$4,355, expats benefit from a comfortable amount of disposable income, thanks to an average salary of US$4,980," said Preply.

The top city is Talinn, Estonia, while No. 2 is Bern, Switzerland.

Singapore is also the top Asian city for expats.

"With its comfortable margin for disposable income, exceptional cleanliness, high safety index, and its wealth of interesting cultural excursions to explore, Singapore is an ideal option for those looking to move abroad this year," said Preply.

The city ranking was based on the following metrics:

  • Average monthly cost of living as an expat
  • Average monthly salary after tax
  • Estimated tax on US$50,000
  • Internet speed
  • Safety
  • Visitor return rate
  • Average monthly cost co-working space and percentage of salary spent on a co-working space
  • Cleanliness
  • How many hours to learn the dominant language in the city