11 Studio Apartments in Singapore That You Can Rent For 1.5K or Less

Studio apartments and shoebox condos have recently been rising in popularity among Singapore residents. Find out what's driving this, and check out our list of 11 affordable studio apartments for rent under $1,500 per month.
studio apartment singapore price rent

When it comes to renting an apartment, there is often a sweet spot that balances convenience and affordability. Given that Singapore is the second most expensive housing market in the world, however, the balance isn’t always 50-50. 

Many times, “less is more” in the context of rental prices: smaller-sized units boast some of the lowest rental fees in the market, making studio apartments in Singapore pacesetters when it comes to affordability. 

 

Shoebox and studio apartment trends in Singapore

Data shows that studio apartments and shoebox units are getting increasingly popular among Singapore residents. Why? 

The average household size has shrunk since the 1980s

According to a Population Trends report from 2019, there has been a significant decrease in the average household size in Singapore from 4.87 persons in 1980 to 3.30 persons in 2017. This is due to lifestyle preferences (like marrying later) and the rising cost of raising children. 

Studio apartments are also great for investors

On the investor front, shoebox apartments (defined as 50 sq m or smaller) have also outperformed larger condominium units on the property market.

A study conducted by Knight Frank found that those who have divested their shoebox apartments pocketed an average capital gain of 11.5% compared to the 10.6% average, which resale deals involving units of all sizes have gathered since their launch in 2010.  Hence, over the last 10 years, private developers have ramped up the supply of studio units in response to higher investment demand for renting smaller apartments. 

All these have contributed to an increasing trend of renting studio apartments in Singapore. These one-bedders are commonly rented as fancy bachelorette pads for singles, and affordable homes for couples or expatriates who prefer to live with relatively good access to the city’s central business district (CBD). 

Don’t fret the space constraint, there are many creative ways to maximise room in studio apartments

Although the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) revised its guidelines in Oct 2018 to reduce the number of shoebox units in the new private condominiums, it is believed that small apartment sizes will only gain traction in the future. 

After all, there are many simple yet fashionable ways to manage the space constraint, which is the main downside of shoebox apartments. Changing swinging doors for sliding doors, using multi-purpose furniture, using a suspended or overhead bunk bedding, jack-n-jill bathrooms and opting for a colour distinction to distinguish sections within a home - these are but some hacks to create a sense of space and fresh-looking interiors in Singapore.

Interested to find out more about studio apartments? Then keep reading. 

 

What are studio apartments and who are they for?

A studio apartment is a shoebox condo unit of 500 sq ft or less. It usually houses everything in a single room with a separate bathroom

It’s typically investors who buy studio apartments 

Those who buy studio apartments are generally investors who lease them to tenants for a steady rental income. The purchase price may vary depending on the size of the unit, the location, the age of the development and amenities available within private condominiums. 

If we go from East to West, the purchase price of some popular studio residences like Parc Rosewood, Treasures @G6, Studios @ Marne, Lumiere, and The Scotts Tower are between $500,000 to $2,000,000. 

Hence, studio apartment occupants are usually tenants 

As mentioned, there are many studio apartments on the rental market. Studio apartments are a fabulous rental option for singles, but they may also be big enough to accommodate couples, co-sharing friends or small expatriate families on a tight rental budget. Cheaper utilities, low rent and proximity to commercial hubs, MRTs and bus terminals are their forte.

 

How do studio apartment rental prices in Singapore differ?

Singapore may be a pint-sized nation, but your lifestyle, wallet and commute to work each morning are governed by where you live.

Studio apartment rentals in Singapore depend on factors such as 

  • the property’s proximity and connectivity (local transport) to the city centre, 
  • the relative age of the property, 
  • availability of recreational facilities (such as pool, gym, etc.), and 
  • the quality of fixtures (utilities), and 
  • furnishings (furnished, semi-furnished) that come with the accommodation. 

So, studio apartments located in and around the Central Business District (CBD), the country’s prime commercial, health and entertainment zone, are the most expensive. These areas are popular amongst working singles/ couples and expatriates on lofty salary-packages. These include Raffles Place, Tanjong Pagar, Marina Bay Sands, Serangoon Road, Orchard and River Valley.

The CBD is followed by areas around the city’s fringe, which are again accessible to the city’s centre under 20 minutes by any mode of transport. These come within the high rental realm and include Alexandra, Newton, Novena, Balestier, Beach Road and Braddell Road. Rents tend to drop the farther you go from the city’s centre. Hence, as you go further in the West, East, North and Southeast districts of Singapore, residential apartments become relatively bigger and more affordable.

Here’s a range of approximate rentals of some studio apartments based on their location:

Orchard (city core)

$3,200 to $4,500

Tanjong Pagar (city core)

$3,300 to $3,800

Raffles Place/ Marina Bay (city core)

$2,800 to $4,000

Newton, Novena (city fringe)

$2,500 to $3,000

Tiong Bahru (city fringe)

$2,000 to $3,500

Farrer Park/ Little India (city fringe)

$2,600 to $3,000

Clementi (West)

$1,700 to $2,300

Paya Lebar/ Eunos (East)

$2,100 to $2,650

Woodlands (North)

$1,450 to $1,500

Pasir Ris (Southeast)

$1,400 to $1,800

 

Are there studio apartments under $1,500 for rent?

The adventure of moving into your own place can fade away fast if the rent drains your pocket. To save you the trouble of finding a budget-friendly studio in the area of your choice, we bring to you a nifty list of studio apartments spread across locales of Singapore that cost well under $1,500

Orchard (city core) 

$1,400

Upper Bukit Timah (city core)

$1,500

Raffles Place, Marina (city core)

$1,400

Newton, Novena (city fringe)

$1,500

Farrer Park, Serangoon Road (city fringe)

$1,380

Yishun (North)

$1,500

East Coast, Marine Parade (East)

$1,400

Eunos, Geylang (East)

$1,500

Bedok, Upper East Coast (East)

$1,500

Hougang, Sengkang (Northeast)

$1,500

Tampines, Pasir Ris (Southeast)

$1,480

 For studio apartments under $1,500 - amenities, quality furnishings and options get better as you move further towards the East. 

 

What about HDB studio apartments?

Not many people know this, but HDB studio apartments also exist. However, unlike condo shoebox units, most people do not qualify to rent them. 

HDB studio apartments can only be rented to Singapore citizens under the Public Rental Scheme as a family (with no household income), as a couple, or as single individuals. There are extremely stringent income and financial background requirements you must meet in order to rent a studio apartment flat from HDB. 

This is because these are rental flats that are reserved for those in dire need with no other option. HDB studios are subsidised to cater to Singaporean households with a low monthly income not exceeding $1,500. The monthly rental rate charged also depends on the household’s income. A district-wise map of studio rental accommodations under this scheme can be found here. 

If you do qualify, HDB studio apartments are an affordable housing option for low-income Singaporeans above the age of 21. However, getting hold of one is not easy! These studios come in the form of 1-room/ 2-room flats and are located islandwide, but you can only choose from the following 4 zones -

  • Ang Mo Kio
  • Bedok/ Tampines 
  • Bukit Merah/ Jurong 
  • Woodlands

The monthly rent that the HDB collects is calculated based on your monthly income and whether you are a first- or second-time applicant. You are a first-time applicant if you have neither bought an HDB flat (including resale flats bought using your CPF) nor received any other form of housing subsidy, such as SERS benefits. Otherwise, you are a second-time applicant. 

Generally, if the eligibility is met, a 1-room HDB flat can be obtained on rent. At the time of signing the tenancy agreement, a 1-month rent deposit has to be paid. 

HDB studio apartment rental prices

The range of monthly rent that 1st-time and 2nd-time applicants pay for an HDB studio apartments are as follows:

$800 or less

First-timer

$26 to $33

$44 to $75

$800 or less

Second-timer

$90 to $123

$123 to $165

Between $801 and $1,500

First-timer

$90 to $123

$123 to $165

Between $801 and $1,500

Second-timer

$150 to $205

$205 to $275

Renting a studio apartment with a private condo in Singapore costs anywhere between $1,300 to $1,600 a month. So, even the most expensive rental price of $205 to $275 a month is subsidised by HDB to only a fraction of that amount. 

 

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This article was written by Manasi Hukku. Manasi likes to cover the intersection between research and relevance to help readers find a place they'll love. She is a UX Conversation Designer, Medium Columnist and mother of two.

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