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HDB, URA release more rental data

Landlords, tenants can view more details on public and private housing

The Straits Times - October 30, 2012
By: Daryl Chin

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HDB, URA release more rental dataPhoto : ST

THE authorities are releasing more information on rentals to help landlords and tenants get a fuller picture of their options.

The rental data on private and public housing will be made available by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Housing Board (HDB) respectively on their websites.

The move, said the agencies yesterday, is aimed at providing timely information on rentals and helping people make informed decisions before signing a contract.

Those thinking of renting out an HDB flat, for instance, are now able to check the monthly rental for a particular room type at a specified block and road, if the transaction was done within the past year. They would also be privy to when the lease was taken up.

To protect the privacy of owners, unit details, such as the level and floor area, are not given.

Previously, information on HDB rentals was restricted to the median amount, and broken down by town and flat type.

As for private properties, one is now able to check the monthly rental for a unit in a particular condominium or executive condominium and landed home, from as far back as the start of this year.

Such data includes the number of bedrooms if they are non-landed units, size of the place, street name and postal district.

In the past, the URA provided general information such as the aggregated median per square metre rentals for a project.

SLP International's head of research Nicholas Mak gives the thumbs up to the initiatives.

"When information is opaque, rentals might be mispriced. So with more transparency, it would likely lead to more stability as people are able to price their properties better," he said.

But the provision of more information does not necessarily lower rentals. "It will make the market work more efficiently but rising rentals are due to demand and that has not changed," he added.

Rentals of private residential properties rose by 0.9 per cent in the third quarter this year, compared to 0.3 per cent in the second quarter.

On the HDB front, the number of subletting transactions rose 4 per cent, compared to 3 per cent in the previous quarter.

Architect Melvin Wang, 35, said the information will enable him to negotiate better when he lets out his 1,200 sq ft unit in Ridgewood condominium in the Holland area.

"If potential tenants tell me they've heard of similar units going for lower, I can just point out that such units have gone for a higher monthly price point as well. At least both parties will be able to settle on a comfortable market rate," he said.

Tenants like master's student Joseph Satvir, 28, said they will benefit too. "Knowing how much rents are will help me narrow down the locations which I can afford," he noted.

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