More young Singaporeans are renting a flat in their quest for more privacy and space.
With the work-from-home arrangement becoming the norm amid the COVID-19 pandemic, more young Singaporeans are renting a flat in their quest for more privacy and space.
Among the eight unmarried new tenants under 35 years old that TODAY spoke to was Hans (not his real name), a 32-year-old creative freelancer who mostly works overseas and is seldom home for more than four months. He currently lives with his parents in their three-room condo apartment, but has recently rented a room of his own for $600 a month as he wanted more personal space.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, his family would be out working in the day, leaving him with the space to live how he wanted. But when the circuit breaker measures kicked in on 7 April, his mother started working from home, whilst his father and sister also saw changes to their schedules. This led to an intrusion to his personal space.
Now Hans is into his sixth month of staying in his parents’ three-bedroom condominium, and he felt that his “sense of self” has eroded. Thus, he was forced to work from 11pm to 7am when everyone is asleep to truly concentrate.
However, his preference for a night light within the living room had been a constant source of quarrel with his parents, who feel he was wasting electricity.
“Being overseas allowed me to define certain parameters of my life – what time I go to sleep, how I arrange my chores, my duties for the house. It sort of builds an own rhythm or timetable which works. Back home, I have to settle with somebody else’s rhythm,” he said as quoted by TODAY.
Therefore, he decided fork up $600 per month to rent his own room, even though he already has a room of his own and despite it being a strain to his finances.
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Meanwhile, a 34-year-old healthcare professional, who declined to be named, rented a studio apartment for $2,000 per month to avoid facing her parents, to whom she does not have a good relationship.
She shares the cost of the apartment, located in the central part of Singapore, with her partner.
She revealed that the partial lockdown triggered anxiety as it meant constant contact with her parents.
“In that period when you have to be home and home only, it brought me back to my teenage years when you have no choice (but to deal with them),” she said as quoted by TODAY.
Melissa Tham, a 29-year-old lawyer, faced parental objection that “a girl should only move out after she is married” when she broached the topic of renting an apartment with her boyfriend on New Year’s Day.
However, her parents softened their stance when it became apparent that couples not living together would not be allowed to meet during the circuit breaker period.
Once living apart, she began taking control of her life by changing her job, adopting a hamster and getting horse-riding lessons.
Although she could have done such things while living with her parents, she noted that there was a “psychological” barrier to what her parents would say.
“When I realised that I could adopt a hamster without telling anyone, I felt very liberated, as silly as that sounds,” she was quoted as saying.
Property agent Susan Mariam said the recent months marked the first time in her 22-year career that young Singaporeans under 35 years old accounted for 30% to 40% of the rental deals she helped broker.
With them, the 39-year old agent was able to seal over 10 rental deals in June, over 20 deals in July and eight rental deals in the first half of August.
Want to rent your own space? Find rooms for rent on PropertyGuru now.
Colin Tan, Director for Research Consultancy at SRE Global, believes that more will rent should rental prices decline.
This comes as “millennials as a group have always looked to move out but have been deterred by the high rents,” he said.
Meanwhile, ERA Realty Head of Research and Consultancy Nicholas Mak noted that while the idea of renting a flat as a single person is “no longer unacceptable” particularly for those who lived and studied overseas, the norm is still for children to stay with their parents until the arrival of their flats.
Ultimately, it all “comes down to money”, he said.
“If they were to lose their income in this period of economic uncertainty, it means that they will still have to go back to their parents. It would also mean breaking a lease,” he added.
Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email email@example.com