Living in Singapore

Iyna Bort Caruso

Singapore, the world’s only island city-state, is growing – literally. An ongoing program of land reclamation will add hundreds of square kilometers over the next few years to this densely populated country.

Parks and nature reserves are among the priorities for this country located on the southern tip of the Malaysian Peninsula that focuses on quality-of-life issues. One of the highest per capita income rates in the world and low taxes combine for a lofty rate of property ownership here in this global financial powerhouse. International investors are drawn to its strategic location, strong workforce and well-developed infrastructure.

Singapore became an independent nation in 1965. Vestiges of its multicultural and British colonial past remain in its food, architecture and traditions. Chinese, Malay and Indian are the largest ethnic groups, although expats from around the globe find it easy to acclimate.

Architectural styles vary from pre-war bungalows to traditional Malay houses to modern structures with elements adapted to the tropics such as sun-shaded landscaping. Newer statement-making buildings have helped to reinforce Singapore’s brand, most strikingly the performing arts venue, Esplande-Theatres on the Bay with its spiky aluminum clad roof, and the Marina Bay Sands from Moshe Safdie Architects whose design features a trio of towers linked at the top by a cantilevered sky garden. 

Some of the priciest real estate is in the downtown core, mostly in the form of high-rise homes. On the resort Sentosa Island, just 15 minutes from the city center, a master-planned development offers homes with private yacht berths and nearby golfing. There are no restrictions on international investors buying condominiums. Those seeking private homes or vacant land, however, are required to get government approval.

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