Business & Economy Personal Finance Cost Comparison — Rental homes vs co-living spaces vs serviced apartments

Cost Comparison — Rental homes vs co-living spaces vs serviced apartments

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Aside from renting a typical residential unit, there are other housing options like co-living spaces and serviced apartments that offer short-term leases at competitive rental costs in Singapore


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With Singapore home prices rising to an all-time high and the housing supply running low since the pandemic, more young couples and singles are choosing to rent a home while waiting for the right time to purchase one.

If you, too, are planning to move out on your own, you may be surprised to note that besides renting a typical residential unit, there are other housing options like co-living spaces and serviced apartments that offer short-term leases at competitive rental costs in Singapore.

Related: Rising Rental Rates: Who Is Affected and Alternative Solutions

Differences Between Residential Homes, Co-Living Spaces and Serviced Apartments

Here is a look at the three types of housing options in Singapore, their pros and cons, as well as annual rental costs.

rental singapore
Source: Unsplash

Residential Homes – Private Properties and HDB Flat

This is the most common housing option for rent in Singapore. From private condominiums and landed houses to HDB flats and Executive Condominiums, there is an abundance of rental listings for these properties on property sites like PropertyGuru, and iProperty.

Such properties are readily available in most towns around the island hence making it relatively easy to find a unit in your preferred location. The flexibility to choose between fully furnished units and vacant ones can be very beneficial if you prefer to move in with your personal furniture.

On the downside, tenants renting a residential property are liable to pay stamp duty and must meet a minimum rental period of six months for HDB flats and three months for private homes. Landlords will usually impose a deposit of a month’s rent for a one-year lease or two months’ rent for a two-year lease.

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Rental costs for a Singapore private property tend to be higher than that of an HDB flat of equivalent size. This is because private homes usually come with private facilities and higher levels of privacy.

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These are estimated rental costs you can expect to pay in 2023:

Property Type Annual Rental Costs
HDB flat:
Three-room flat
Four-room flat
Five-room flat
S$30,000 to S$35,760<br<
S$33,600 to S$43,800
S$34,200 to S$51,600
Private condo:
Two-bedroom unit
Three-bedroom unit
Four-bedroom unit
S$45,600 to S$174,000
S$45,600 to S$720,000
S$76,800 to S$1,200,000
co living space singapore
Source: Unsplash

Co-Living Spaces

This is a relatively new type of accommodation for those who are not resistant to a communal lifestyle because tenants have to share common areas like the living room and kitchen with complete strangers. These agency-managed spaces are usually decked out with designer furnishings and located near the Central Business Districts (CBD). Primarily, such accommodations appeal to expats, young working professionals, entrepreneurs and digital nomads who enjoy networking.

With co-living spaces, you can have a very flexible lease tenure that starts from one month. Daily rental is also available at some agencies. This means you can easily ‘pack and go’ should you decide to move to another location at very short notice. Unlike residential home rental, there is no need to place a deposit or pay stamp duty for your rental.
Additionally, co-living spaces in Singapore are great options if you do not want to incur additional housing costs because the well-thought-out household setup would have everything you need. However, this is not for everyone. Especially for those who prefer more privacy, this option may not be an ideal arrangement.

The estimated rental costs are around S$800 per month for a basic room with shared living spaces to S$5,000 per month for a three-bedroom unit. Annual rental can fall between S$9,600 to S$60,000

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Keen to explore? These are some popular co-living spaces in Singapore:

Service apartment singapore
Source: Unsplash

Serviced Apartments

A serviced apartment offers a home-like environment where the living space is complete with a room, living room and kitchen for light cooking. Most serviced apartments will come with housekeeping, concierge services and common facilities such as swimming pool, gym, saunas and tennis courts. Most serviced apartments work like hotels. You can book a one-night stay or stretch the tenancy beyond months.

Like co-living spaces, serviced apartments offer more flexible terms than residential homes. Tenants need not pay deposit and stamp duty; the leasing period is highly flexible too. What is good to note is that renting a serviced apartment on an annual basis may be quite expensive. Unless you have a large budget, this may not be a long-term solution.

The rental costs for serviced apartments are available only through personal enquiry. But the ballpark figure gathered from Abiel Corporate Housing in Singapore revealed that monthly serviced apartment costs can fall between S$2,900 and S$7,000 per month. Serviced apartments run by luxury hotels will cost a lot more than this range.

Find the Cheapest Home Loans in Singapore

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buying a home save money
Source: Unsplash

Is It Better To Buy a House in the Long Run?

With the homeownership rate going at 89.3%in Singapore, owning a home has always been a priority amongst Singaporeans. If you are one who cares about financial planning, buying a residential property may make a lot of sense since it is one of easiest ways to invest with your monies in your Central Provident Fund Ordinary Account (CPF OA).

A quick look at Singapore property market’s historical data also revealed that residential properties in Singapore have enjoyed stable capital appreciation over the decades. For this reason, property investment in Singapore is perceived as a wealth-building strategy. Coupling that with the fact that the local government offers as much as S$80,000 HDB housing grants to first time homebuyers, owning a residential home in Singapore can be more affordable and less risky than what you think.

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On the flipside, owning a property requires financial holding power and maintenance. You have less freedom to move as you please since there are mandated occupancy periods and buy/sell restrictions that may affect your long-term financial plans.

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Is it better to buy a home or keep renting? It all depends on your personal preference and lifestyle choices. In general, buying a home is a preferred choice for couples who intend to form a family and those who have substantial funds in CPF-OA. Renting is more suitable for singles or couples who want to experience living together before settling down.

Ready to put down a downpayment for a new home? Make sure to research the market thoroughly for the best mortgage loan package with the lowest interest rates before making a purchase.

Refer to Best Home Mortgage Loans in Singapore 2023 for top mortgage deals in the market.

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The article originally appeared on ValueChampion.

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