Expatriates in Singapore are often envied for their generous pay packets, but, facing the prospect of salary cuts as the coronavirus batters businesses, some are tightening their belts and asking for lower rent.
Real estate agent Clarence Foo of Apac Realty unit ERA has come across seven such cases over the past month – the highest number of requests he has received in his seven-year career. Four were successful.
One was an American woman who texted Mr Foo last week. In her message, she said she had just been informed about a 20 per cent drop in pay effective from May 1 to July 31, after which her employer will reassess the firm’s financial health.
The executive, in her 30s, is leasing a one-bedroom unit in Tanjong Pagar, near the financial district, for $3,400 a month. She got a rent reduction of $250 a month, or around 7 per cent. “At first glance, it isn’t a lot. But over three months, the duration of her pay cut, it’s a substantial saving,” Mr Foo said.