Ready To Rent? Here’s What You Need To Know

The property market is showing signs of cooling, and median asking rents have been decreasing. While landlords may still demand for high rents, the additional supply of private residential properties, along with other economic pressures, may well exert a downward pressure on prices.

With rents potentially falling, some of us might consider finally moving out of our family homes to get more privacy and gain greater independence as we grow into adulthood.

What are the options available to us and what are their pros and cons? In this guide, we’ll take a deeper look at each rental option so you have a better understanding of what they are, how much they cost, and what you need to consider. 

1. Rental homes (public and private residential)

This is the option that most of us would be familiar with. Rental homes are the most common option available to anyone living in Singapore, with units readily available all over the country. HDBs, private condominiums, executive condominiums and landed property are just some of the housing options that fall under this category.

Apart from the type of house, you can typically choose between several living arrangements, such as renting a whole unit for yourself, finding roommates and splitting the cost of an entire unit, or simply renting a common room with a live-in landlord.

Pros of rental homes

1. Low financial commitment

Short-term rentals can start from 3-months (for private properties), which is much more immediately affordable than paying off a 25-year mortgage. This makes renting a good option if you only need housing for a short period, or if you’re unsure about your next phase in life.

2. Readily available

Most rental properties are ready for you to move into immediately. In most cases, they’re sufficiently furnished, so you also don’t have to shop for furniture.

3. Flexible costs

Costs of rental homes can vary depending on your preferred living arrangements, so you have the flexibility to choose something within your budget.

4. Cost of maintenance is borne by landlord

Any major refurbishments or repairs are usually borne by the landlord, so you don’t have to burn a hole in your wallet on top of already paying rent.

Cons of rental homes

1. Following the rules

As the house is owned by the landlord, tenants are usually required to abide by certain rules. Common rules include no smoking, no pets, no visitors, and no cooking. Depending on your relationship with the landlord, flouting these rules may result in conflict.

2. No CPF subsidies

Get ready to set aside a fixed sum of money each month to pay rent. Rent should not take up more than a third of your monthly income, though this also depends on individual circumstances. It is worth noting that while the government provides rental assistance, there are stringent criteria to meet.

Price of rental homes

To help you with budgeting, here’s a simplified table of HDB rental prices.

Type of flatPrice (entire unit)
3-roomFrom S$2,400/month
4-roomFrom S$3,000/month
5-roomFrom S$3,200/month
ExecutiveFrom S$3,400/month

Source: Yahoo

Do note that the rates above are based on estimates obtained in the second quarter of 2023 and rates vary across different districts in Singapore. It’s important to keep yourself updated on current market trends and estimates so you can budget more accurately.

2. Co-living spaces

Co-living is a relatively new concept in Singapore, but it’s not complicated. In essence, it’s co-working, but for housing instead! Just like co-working offices, co-living spaces offer a communal experience for everyone.

Co-living spaces provide individuals with their own rooms, alongside a slew of communal facilities such as shared kitchens and leisure areas. Examples of co-living providers include Coliwoo, Figment, Cove, Casa Mia, The Assembly Place, and Habyt.

Pros of co-living spaces

1. Sense of community

Housemates usually come from all walks of life, allowing you the opportunity to meet people you otherwise wouldn’t and make new friends, which is not always easy to do in adulthood.

2. Convenience

Co-living spaces are fully furnished, and usually come with cleaning services. Some also have other facilities like gyms, pool tables and games – all only a few steps away from your bedroom!

3. Flexible

Co-living spaces also offer short-term stays. You can stay for as short as a month, and work your way to longer stays if necessary. This makes it ideal if you just need temporary accommodation to bide your time during renovation, or need a place to put up before moving abroad.

Cons of co-living spaces

1. Limited privacy

Common areas in co-living spaces can be filled with many people, making it hard to truly get alone time unless you’re confined to your room. Having to socialise often may also be hard for introverts.

2. Fewer locations

As co-living is less common in Singapore, there’s not as much flexibility in picking a neighbourhood of your choice, as there just aren’t as many co-living spaces available compared to rentals.

3. Can be expensive

On the whole, co-living is generally pricier than rentals, as the rent takes into account the costs of cleaning, furniture and organising social activities for residents.

Price of co-living spaces

Here’s an overview of what you can expect when considering a co-living space:

CompanyType of RoomPrice
FigmentSuite (queen bed, shared bathroom)From $2,600/month
CoveBed in twin-sharing roomFrom $1,125/month
Casa MiaPiccola room (single bed, shared bathroom)From $1,100/month
The Assembly Place (TAP)TAP-lite (single bed)From $1,000/month
HabytPocket Room (single bed, common bathroom)From $1,250/month

Note: Prices for Coliwoo and lyf are not publicly available

Do note that there are multiple types of rooms available. Prices vary across neighbourhoods and room types. We recommend contacting the co-living companies you’re interested in for the latest rates and comparing the rates to see which place best fits your budget. 

3. Serviced apartments

Compared to the previous types of housing, serviced apartments function more like hotels. At some places, you can stay for as short as a single night, with tenancy extending up to however long you require the lodging.

Like hotels, serviced apartments also come with housekeeping, concierge services and amenities like gyms, saunas and swimming pools.

Pros of serviced apartments

1. Flexible term of stay

Stay from one night to as long as you want, which makes it a good option if you need temporary lodging during short-term renovation periods.

2. Convenience

They are usually fully furnished, with housekeeping and amenities provided, and generally situated in central locations, which can mean saving time on your office commute!

3. Total privacy

Living without housemates means that it’s easy to get time to yourself if you need peace and quiet, or if you need to be on your own to get work done

Cons of serviced apartments

1. Steep prices

Of the three options, serviced apartments are the priciest and may not feasible for longer-term stays anything over a few months, unless you have a big budget

2. Limited freedom

Being fully furnished and decorated, you’ll have little to no say in the layout and decor of the room

3. Not as widely available

While they’re often located in central locations, there are also fewer serviced apartments to go around, meaning your choice of location is limited.

Price of serviced apartments

Prices vary across providers, though a good gauge is anywhere from S$2,800 to S$3,200 a month.

Things to consider for easier decision-making

1. Budget

Factors to consider include your current salary, job stability, any other major expenses that may affect your ability to pay your rent on time without breaking the bank or dipping into your emergency funds.

2. Duration of stay

If you only need lodging for a week or two, there may be options that are cheaper as a whole. If you’re going to stay put for at least a few years, you might want to consider something that’s more financially feasible.

3. Lifestyle choices

It’s worth making a note of your ideal living arrangements, then renting a place that will allow you to fulfil those aspirations.

Read more: Rent or Buy Before 35 — Which Makes More Financial Sense?

Wait, what about buying?

No guide to rental in Singapore feels complete without at least a quick look at the flipside – buying a home. Owning a home has always been a goal of many Singaporeans, as home ownership provides stability and more freedom. It is also widely lauded as a significant milestone in adulting.

Furthermore, your CPF monies can pay for a huge percentage of the property, though there are also additional fees and buyers’ stamp duties to take care of. At the end of your minimum occupation period, you can sell the flat, possibly at a profit!

Still, it would be wise to go back to the considerations above. There are times when we simply cannot be certain enough about our future plans for buying a home to make financial sense. Additionally, when it comes to public housing, there are many more things to consider, such as age and marital status, that could limit one’s options.

Read more: The Complete Guide to Purchasing a New HDB Flat

At the end of the day, no matter which home option you’re inclined towards, it’s important to do your research and make sure that whatever you choose is in line with your life goals and sustainable for your savings.

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