Since gaining its independence 60-plus years ago, the island nation of Singapore has developed to an extent few would originally have thought possible. No other country has enjoyed such impressive economic growth for such a long time, and Singapore is still going strong.

That makes Singapore a natural destination for talented people from all over the world. Foreign professionals of many kinds put down roots there every year, sometimes despite knowing relatively little about the country.

Since economic opportunity is such a popular reason to move to Singapore, questions about the local cost of living are common. After all, earning a large salary will be less rewarding if too much needs to be spent on the essentials that allow for a comfortable everyday style of life.

Housing Prices Range Widely

Singapore has one of the world’s most generous and extensive public housing systems. While some see this as an example of public-sector paternalism, many experts and residents praise the options it opens up.

Renting from Singapore’s housing authority is a common option, as is purchasing an apartment from the same source. Obtaining a home loan in Singapore from a local lender is as easy as it would be in most similarly well-developed countries.

Putting a price on housing in Singapore is a bit more difficult than might be expected. Housing units range from very modest dwellings aimed at low-wage foreign workers to palatial, freestanding mansions.

Government-owned apartments cost, on average, about a third as much as what private property owners charge for similar housing. People who have lived in large cities elsewhere in the world will not normally be shocked by housing prices in Singapore but can expect to devote significant portions of their salaries to shelter.

Education, Utilities, Food, and Other Essentials Can be Fairly Pricey

Singapore’s government invests heavily in public education, and citizen parents pay only small monthly fees for children’s schooling. Expatriates face far larger charges if they want to have their own kids take advantage of the nation’s high-quality public schools.

As with housing, utility rates in public housing projects tend to be quite a bit lower than those applied to private dwellings. People who live in government-owned HDB housing units pay less for their subsidized electricity, for instance, than is usual in many highly developed countries. On the other hand, utility rates paid by others can be a good bit higher than is usual in most other places.

The food hawker centers of Singapore are legendary among gourmands worldwide. Eating out is so popular partly because it is generally quite affordable. Budget-conscious expatriates, of course, can still save money by cooking most of their meals at home. While dining out often proves less expensive than in other nations, ingredient prices can be a bit higher than many are used to.

Any Additional Expense Will Often be Easy to Justify

Singapore has been frequently deemed one of the most expensive countries of all to live in. Part of that reflects the fact that the country’s extremely high population density rules out the kinds of affordable rural living that bring the average down for many other nations.

Still, most who move to Singapore from places like Europe or the Americas find it at least a bit pricey. Since many relocate to secure higher salaries, it can still be easy enough to justify the leap on purely financial grounds. Singapore’s government provides plenty of support to would- be immigrants, such as by maintaining online cost-of-living calculators that can be used to help with decision-making.