Living in: Cities with great food
On the outskirts of town, San Felipe del Agua is a popular area for building modern, but expensive houses. “The land and house costs are extremely high in San Felipe,” Starkman said. “The areas of Colonia Loma Linda, Ejido Guadalupe Victoria, Tlalixtac de Cabrera and San Andrés Huayapam have good value and are great for fresh air, safety and security, and are no more than a 20-minute drive to downtown.” Lots are 2,000 to 6,000 pesos per square metre (a good-sized lot is around 770sqm) and construction costs 7,000 to 8,000 pesos per square metre.
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This city-state takes the state of its food and dining very seriously: the government promotes it, the residents debate it and everybody eats very well. Singapore’s cuisine is a result of the delicious mix of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian cultures that mingle here, and Singaporeans all have their favourite spot for chicken rice, chilli crab or laksa (a hot and spicy soup). “We are a nation of complete foodies,” said Carole Ann Coventry, director of Coventry and Seah property agents. “We will travel miles for good local food.” The hawker centres (food courts) are temples to street food, where day or night, diners descend on their favourite hawkers manning grills and woks. (There is even an ieat hawker app to help locate the delicacy you want.) The annual World Gourmet Summit in April and the Singapore Food Festival in July attract the world’s top chefs and foodies, while young chefs are creating exciting dining destinations with hawker stalls and restaurants such as Saveur, Wild Rocket and Immigrants Gastrobar.
Most internationals moving to Singapore rent, since foreigners are restricted from purchasing property unless they are permanent residents (although there are no restrictions on buying condos). Currently the rental market in Singapore is holding steady, Coventry said, adding, “there is more accommodation available in the Central Business District [CBD], which is popular with young professionals.” Near the CBD and the main shopping street of Orchard Road districts 9, 10 and 11 continue to be popular, and the average rent in these areas for a two-bed flat is 4,500 to 5,500 Singapore dollars a month. The international schools are usually located on the edges of the island and families with children often move to be close to them.
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