The COVID-19 pandemic has increased rental demand in Singapore. Asking prices for rents have surged with current rental prices being at a 15-year high. According to the Singapore Property Market Report Q2 2023, demand remains robust despite the moves to restore supply and the dwindling tenant pool. The question of whether rental prices will come down in 2023 remains uncertain, but prices are starting to moderate.
If you intend to rent in today’s current rental market, let’s compare studio apartments and co-living spaces in Singapore so you know your options.
Co-living Space vs Studio Apartment in Singapore: A Summary
|Community living, privacy only in your bedroom
|Requires viewing before choosing and renting
|Very quick to choose and rent
|Minimum three-month contract for private property; minimum six-month contract for HDB flats
|Short contracts may be possible
|Can be fully-, partially- or unfurnished
|Utilities and wifi may not be provided
|Utilities and wifi provided
|Cleaning not provided
|Typically more expensive, costs largely depend on size and location
|Typically less expensive than studios apartments; however, larger rooms with more privacy can be pricier than some studio apartments
For young individuals or couples, renting a studio apartment offers affordability and privacy. Alternatively, co-living spaces are an appealing option. This type of accommodation is managed by providers, offering furnished living with community-focused environments. Amenities like Wi-Fi and cleaning are provided. These spaces are often available for shorter-term leases and are favoured by remote workers, entrepreneurs, and creatives.
1. Co-living Can Be Better for Socialising
Co-living spaces are usually promoted as a form of community living, with shared areas in the home, such as kitchens and living rooms. Providers such as Hmlet or Figment often organise social events amongst members. On the other hand, studio apartments imply that you will be living alone. This offers more privacy but also comes without the community aspect.
Co-living might suit you if you’re new to the city and want to make friends or live with like-minded people. For those considering co-living but worrying about privacy, know you’ll at least have a safe space in your room.
2. Finding a Place Is Less Hassle with Co-living, But Renting Offers More Variety
Co-living units tend to be easier to find and rent than a regular rental properties. Instead of viewing multiple properties, you can contact the company managing the co-working space and they will help you find a property that meets your needs. This can be particularly convenient for expats recently arriving in Singapore and needing accommodation on short notice.
On the other hand, to rent a studio apartment, you typically need to secure and attend multiple property viewing sessions until you find a property that suits you. When you find a suitable property, you might compete with other potential renters; your dream place might not be secured. Finding an apartment and signing a lease can thus take some time.
If you’ve decided to look for a rental property without an agent, you’ll spend a lot of time browsing properties for rent and messaging the agents in charge of the listings to secure viewings and manage paperwork. And if you do hire an agent, you’ll have to pay them a commission, incurring more costs.
However, one upside to studio apartments is there is much more variety. Studio apartments to rent at various locations and price points. Here’s a range of approximate studio rentals based on their location*:
|Studio apartment Singapore
|Estimated monthly rental cost
|The Sail @ Marina Bay
|$4,000 to $5,500
|Soleil @ Sinaran
|$4,300 to $4,800
|$2,800 to $3,200
|Farrer Park/Little India
|$2,800 to $3,200
|$3,300 to $3,900
|Lotus @ Paya Lebar
|$3,180 to $3,830
|$2,300 to $2,500
|$2,400 to $3,000
*Prices were taken from available listings on the PropertyGuru website as of 14 May 2023 (subject to change as listings are added or removed).
3. Co-living in Singapore: Prices Are Generally More Affordable
Generally, co-living in Singapore offers prices which are more affordable than a studio rental. For a single person, a studio rental in Singapore a studio apartment can easily be twice the cost of living in the most basic room of a co-living space. But like rental apartments, there are varying room sizes for co-living options.
Some co-living spaces offer the option of sharing a room with multiple persons. Others have rooms of different sizes to choose from, with the monthly cost increasing proportionately to the living space.
In the past, it was possible to get an affordable studio apartment to rent for under $2,000 in the Outside Central Region (OCR) or a much smaller space in the Core Central Region (CCR). But with the recent rental surges, it’s now normal for common rooms in a condo unit to go for the same price. Ouch!
For the more budget conscious who aren’t fussy, you could look toward renting a shared bedroom or common room in an HDB flat.
4. Co-living Spaces Provide Cleaning Services; Studio Apartments Generally Do Not
Many co-living units provide weekly cleaning services, which are included in the price of the rent. Rental studio apartments in Singapore typically do not come with cleaning services.
5. Co-living Spaces Are Fully-furnished; Studio Apartments Come In Various Furnished States
Co-living apartments are thoughtfully furnished and aesthetically designed to embody the community’s style and values. Living in these spaces allows you to enjoy a tastefully decorated environment without the need for personal furnishing and decorating. Many individuals choose co-living specifically for the appealing decor it offers.
However, when it comes to renting studio apartments, there is a potential drawback regarding the property owner’s interior design choices not aligning with your own preferences. It is important to consider that landlords may have restrictions on painting or installing decorations that would allow you to personalise the space according to your taste.
Rental studio apartments in Singapore offer different furnishing options: fully-furnished, partially-furnished, or unfurnished. If you’re relocating, an unfurnished apartment allows you to bring your furniture. As a first-time expatriate, a fully-furnished studio apartment is more suitable. Choose the option that best fits your needs.
6. Co-living Spaces Have Amenities and Utilities Provided; Studio Apartments May Not
Renting from a co-living provider means the nitty-gritty and amenities such as utilities and wifi are automatically provided. For studio rentals in Singapore, you have to sign up for a wifi and/or utility provider on your own, more often than not.
7. Co-living Spaces Can Offer Short Contracts; Rental Spaces Are Good for the Long-Term
While co-living operators offer short-term rentals starting from a few days, private studio apartments require a minimum rental period of three months.
Rental HDB properties have a minimum rental duration of six months. For individuals planning to stay in Singapore long-term, renting a studio unit or an HDB flat or private rental property is more suitable.
Co-living Spaces in Singapore: Prices and Options
Looking for a place to live? Here are some prominent co-living operators to consider:
- Dash Living
- The Assembly Place (TAP)
While we’ve included the approximate prices, do note that some offer studio apartments and/or whole apartments too, which will raise the upper end of the price range.
|Co-living spaces in Singapore
|What is it?
|Refurbishes and decorates heritage shophouses into stylish boutique spaces; shophouses are located in attractive neighbourhoods in central or city fringe locations, all bedrooms are suites with their own bathrooms
|$2,300 to $5,100 per month
|Private and shared accommodation in popular locations such as One North, Tiong Bahru and Katong; fully-furnished studio apartments and full 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments are also available
|From $1,988 per month
|Co-living homes, serviced apartments and hotel residences in the CBD and suburban areas like Clementi and Paya Lebar; choose between common rooms, master bedrooms and whole units
|From $1,000 per month
|Co-living units in the city centre and on the city fringe, some of their locations include Balestier, Keppel and Boon Lay; has over 800 units islandwide
|$1,300 to $2,000 per month
|Fully-furnished rental units in 3- to 6- bedroom shared apartments as well as studio apartments in numerous popular neighbourhoods including Orchard, Changi and Serangoon
|$800 to $4,200
|The Assembly Place
|Fully-furnished rooms with the option of shared or ensuite bathrooms; private apartments that are partially- or fully-furnished also available, ranging from studio, 1- to 4- bedroom and penthouse units
Do note that these prices are subject to change and may be adjusted by these co-living operators.
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