Renting in Singapore has become more commonplace in recent years, and it’s not just foreigners who are snapping up rental properties and studio apartments. Due to the enduring BTO construction delays, some affected young families rented while waiting for their homes to be completed.
And the want for space and independence has pushed singles to rent and unmarried couples to rent before marriage, leading to soaring demand for rental properties, according to the PropertyGuru Singapore Property Market Report Q2 2022.
However, there are many choices when it comes to renting as an individual. If you’re renting in Singapore alone, should you rent a room in an HDB flat or condo? Or would renting an entire studio apartment be better?
Whether you’re a single millennial renting for the first time or looking for a bachelor pad, here’s a comparison between the housing options so you can make an informed choice.
What Are Studio Apartments in Singapore?
Studio apartments are 1-room units and are typically found in condo projects. Your living room, kitchen, and bedroom are in the same area, while your bathroom is usually hidden behind a door. Sometimes, studio apartments in Singapore are referred to as ‘shoebox apartments’ because you have everything you need in one tiny space.
Usually, the apartment has dedicated, built-in spaces where you can cook and sleep. If you’re lucky (or willing to pay a higher price), you can get a studio apartment with a balcony.
Comparing Renting a Room Vs Studio Apartment Singapore
The pricing and sizing information in this article is referenced from existing PropertyGuru listings at the time of writing. We’ve also filtered out rooms that allow co-sharing; the below figures are what it’d be like if you were a single inhabitant living in the rental space.
Without further ado, let’s dive in!
Renting a room is obviously much cheaper than renting an entire apartment, no matter how small the apartment is. You’re paying for less space if you rent a room than a shoebox apartment.
If you rent a studio apartment in Singapore, be prepared to set aside at least $1,200 a month. Prices can go up to $4,950 a month, excluding utilities, in the case of this studio located in Chinatown on McCallum Steet.
You’ll probably have to forgo little luxuries like bubble tea and happy hours with your friends on the weekend to afford this price. Those who like to treat themselves probably won’t be too happy with this arrangement.
Here’s a table comparing how much it costs to rent a studio apartment, a room in an HDB flat, and a condo in different districts in Singapore.
Within each housing category, the range in monthly rent varies according to:
- Where your house is located
- What condition your rental home is in
- How well-connected it is to the city and public transport networks
- When it was built, and
- What amenities does the building have
Conclusion on price: Studio apartments are easily the most expensive rental option. Be prepared to pay twice or thrice more for such a studio than a room. The cheapest studio apartment is two to three times more expensive than the most affordable HDB flat.
However, bear in mind the space you are renting is completely different. A studio apartment has everything you need in one room, which brings us to the next point on space and size.
Still, have your heart set on a studio apartment in Singapore? Check out these 10 studio apartments you can rent for $2,000 or less. If not, browse condo room listings for rent and HDB flat room listings for rent.
2. Space and Size
In condos and HDB flats, there is the option to pay more for the master bedroom. The pro is you get an en suite bathroom. If you enjoy long, hot showers, this is great. No one’s going to fight you for the bathroom. The con is you likely have to fork out more for rent.
While HDB and condo room units have fairly standardised sizes, newer HDB flats and condos tend to have smaller rooms.
There is more variety in studio apartment sizes. More luxurious, boutique units can be as large as a small 2-room HDB flat. You could even take ‘boujee’ living to the next level by getting a waterfront condo with a sea view.
Before you throw your money to get an apartment due to the larger space, it’s good to remember: studio apartments are bigger because you’re supposed to be able to sleep, cook, and socialise in a singular room.
Condo and HDB rooms are usually part of a larger house, and you’ll be able to separate your sleeping and living quarters. Objectively, you’ll have more space due to this arrangement. However, you might have to compromise on privacy.
Conclusion on size: Even the smallest apartments are thrice the size of the smallest HDB rooms. But remember, studio apartments can be smaller than master bedrooms, and you’re expected to squeeze in your cooking, sleeping, and socialising spaces into a single room!
The biggest argument for why you should get an apartment is the space is wholly yours. You can have people over whenever or decorate your rental home as you please.
In a shared HDB or condo flat, you may not be able to cook or have people stay over, depending on the terms of your lease. And if you have unfriendly or inconsiderate flatmates, the state of your home might deter you from leaving your room.
Ask any girl, and they’ll tell you their worst nightmare is having to share a toilet with a boy who drips pee onto the rim and leaves the seat up.
Plus, if your kitchen is not well-maintained, you wouldn’t want to cook and end up paying more for take-out. Eating in your room also means your living situation might not be too different from living in a studio.
Conclusion on privacy: Studio apartments win hands down if you value your privacy. Depending on the flat’s cleanliness, who your roommates are, and room size, living in a single room might be worse than living in a small studio.
4. Amenities Available
When comparing prices per square foot (PSF), renting a room in a condo isn’t much more expensive than getting a studio. This could be because studios tend to be part of condo launches and offer facilities such as additional security, gyms and swimming pools. The condo maintenance fee and other charges are probably factored into your rent.
If you’re renting in a recently-built condo project, there’s a good chance your surroundings and room will look nicer than one in an older HDB flat. The plumbing, electrical wiring, and housing condition could be in better shape too.
Conclusion on amenities: Unless you’re sure you’ll use the facilities in your condo building, you might be better off renting a slightly more expensive but newly-renovated HDB flat. Some HDB flats in Singapore have interiors like condos!
As this TikTok user said in her viral video trend: “Show me the life hack you randomly saw one day that is now a standard unconscious practice in your life.” Ours is living within walking distance of an MRT station.
The thrill of a short commute to and from work will never get old. And if you don’t drive, living near an MRT station will save you time and money.
The downside is paying a premium for connectivity and the MRT effect. If you don’t mind living further away from the hustle and bustle of the city, good for you. You probably can get cheaper rent and the peace and quiet you desire. The Seletar and Punggol neighbourhoods might be somewhere you want to explore.
Conclusion on connectivity: Unless you’re a major homebody, paying more to be located near public transportation networks could be a worthwhile investment.
Should You Rent a Room or Studio Apartment?
Generally, couples waiting for their BTO home to be built or individuals looking to buy a bachelor pad (or bachelorette pad) will benefit most from living in a studio apartment in Singapore. They’re great if you want a cosy space that offers privacy at a comfortable price point (compared to renting a 2-room condo unit).
Students, young adults, and those on a tight budget may be more suited to rent a room. Renting a room with strangers makes sense if you don’t spend much time at home or aren’t too particular about your living situation.
If you would prefer to have access to the common spaces, you could look into renting a whole apartment with a few friends.
Ultimately, you have to pick a home your like. The most affordable option might not always be the best. There are tons of listings for rent you can browse on the PropertyGuru website, and you’ll surely be able to find what you’re looking for.
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