The great divide in rental market

The great divide in rental market
Above photo is High-end developments The Marq on Paterson Hill and Hilltops in Cairnhill Circle have been completed for at least a year, but still have numerous units unsold, according to reports.

SINGAPORE - Recently a friend posed this interesting question: If the residential market is so hot, why did she have to slash her rent to get a tenant?

If she had owned a run-down apartment in an undesirable neighbourhood her predicament would have been understandable.

But her apartment is in a posh condominium within a stone's throw of landmarks such as St Regis Hotel and Tanglin Mall, high up in the sky with a panoramic view of the city.

Her previous tenant - a hedge fund manager - had terminated the lease prematurely after losing his job.

The flat was vacant for two months, and she finally had to slash the rent by 25per cent to get a tenant.

It sums up the dilemma faced by owners of upmarket condos.

On paper, their investments look good because they appear to have appreciated sharply, but they are not getting much by way of returns in the form of rent because the pool of high-flying tenants appears to be drying up.

Two years ago, landlords could call the shots and pick and choose tenants.

The economy had experienced a V-shaped recovery after the global financial crisis and large numbers of expatriates were flocking to work in our financial centre.

But since then, the pool of tenants has shrunk: The job market for high-paid expatriates has slowed while competition has intensified, given the number of new residential projects that have been completed.

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