The concept of a co-living space has been gaining popularity across the world for quite some time now, but it has only caught on recently in Singapore. It wasn’t too long ago that the notion of moving out of our parents’ homes, either alone or with our unwedded partners before the age of 35, seemed far-fetched and just a pipe dream. Today, the increased presence of co-living space providers in Singapore is proof of its growing demand and appeal to both locals and foreigners alike. How did this trend come about in our sunny island, and what does the future hold for co-living hopefuls?
The Need for Shorter & More Flexible Leases
Before the concept of co-living took flight in Singapore, rentals were mostly centred around HDB flats and condominiums and had a minimum lease period of 3 months for the latter, and 6 months for the former. This is an issue for prospective tenants who are only looking for short-term living arrangements, like a temporary home whilst waiting for renovation works to be completed, or if they’re just here on a short-term business trip. Moreover, most landlords are unwilling to lease these apartments out for short stays and prefer tenants who are willing to stay put for a year or more. The only alternative at that time were hotels whose rates are exponentially higher than renting an apartment or hotel.
One of the reasons why a co-living space in Singapore is often seen as an ideal alternative to traditional rental options is the flexibility of lease contracts. Many co-living space providers offer monthly leases, or if they also possess a hotel licence, weekly or daily rentals. These options are much more appealing to tenants who are only looking for short-term accommodation, or would like to slowly dip their feet into living independently.
An Increasing Need for Privacy & Personal Space
When you think about the demographic of tenants taking up a co-living studio apartment for rent, expats often come to mind; Singaporeans moving out of homes they’ve been living in rent-free just to pay to live elsewhere wasn’t a common practice at all. However, a population census in 2020 highlighted a key trend amongst younger Singaporeans — namely, fewer next-generation Singaporeans are getting married and those who do get married much later in life. At the same time, they’re feeling increasingly claustrophobic living with parents or even relatives and are seeking to move out. Additionally, as working from home becomes more prevalent, they’re also looking for a more conducive place to work from. With more co-living space options made available, Singaporeans looking to move out now have a viable, short-term place to stay while they adjust to a new chapter in their lives.
The Future of Co-Living
As the concept of co-living spaces in Singapore gains momentum, the sector is expected to grow steadily over the next 5 years and beyond. Many co-living space providers also leverage on modern and innovative technology to make the rental process more seamless and hassle-free, which is a welcome departure from the paperwork required for traditional rentals. In other words, renting your next home could be as fast as booking an airline ticket or a hotel.
Another major driving force behind the growth of co-living is the desire for younger people to experience life abroad, not as tourists, but as residents with the opportunity to engage in everyday life with local communities. There’s also a greater desire for international experiences in education and early in their careers as a holistic approach to work is preferred to the 9-to-5 grind.
Many co-living spaces are also offering more perks that are included in the rental cost. While some co-living properties like a studio apartment for rent can be comparable to the traditional rental rate, it comes with a wide range of amenities and services that the latter doesn’t have, such as housekeeping, fully furnished homes, and hotel-esque facilities from swimming pools to gyms, to cosy lounges. Some operators like Coliwoo even offer member discounts with partnering retail brands to help residents save a little more.
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