Singapore’s Singles Get Minimalist Apartments: Just Enough Space To Think About Your Dating Choices

15 March 2023 | BY

HDB’s newly announced room rental scheme for singles in Singapore give rise to memes and makes us ponder over our dating choices.

HDB Single Room Rental - Cover 2

For singles in Singapore, 35 is an important age. After all, that’s when they finally get to spread their wings and soar towards independence. But between soaring HDB resale prices, terrifyingly competitive BTO exercises, and long BTO wait times, single Singaporeans may have to wait till 40 to truly be able to leave their nest.

Singapore’s government has paid attention to these gripes, which is why they recently announced news of the Single Room Shared Facilities Scheme, where unmarried citizens aged 35 and above get to relive their university hall days in a hostel that’s giving NS camp chic.

P.S. We know it’s for low-income singles, but as a trial pilot, we are just imagining the possibilities.

Minimalist co-living space from $26/month

HDB Single Room Rental - repurposed single roomFully furnished single room.
Image credit: @muhammadfaishalibrahim

The hostel is home to 480 single rooms where occupants have just enough space to re-think their dating choices. These rooms, which measure a cosy 9sqm – about ¼ the size of a Type 1 2-room BTO flat – come fully furnished.

You get a single bed since you don’t have anyone to sleep with, a wardrobe, a table and chair, shelves, and even a mini-refrigerator. The barebones, minimalist aesthetic of the place will make Marie Kondo wannabes proud. Do note that you’ll have to buy your own mattress.

HDB Single Room Rental - Shared kitchenShared kitchen on each floor.
Image credit: Housing & Development Board

The prisoncore staycay spot also boasts comprehensive communal facilities such as simple shared kitchens, showers, and bathrooms on every floor. Other shared spaces include dining and laundry rooms, as well as a dining area that could double as a co-working space.

HDB Single Room Rental - dining areaDining area that used to be a study room.
Image credit: Housing & Development Board

Although there’s no word on rental rates yet, prices of 1-room flats under the Public Rental Scheme range from $26 to $205 depending on income level and eligibility criteria. In other words, rooms here will likely cost around the same, if not lower. 

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. 

HDB Single Room Rental - twin roomTwin-sharing room without an attached toilet at the former AJC hostel.
Image adapted from: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

“Waste not, want not” is a mantra that permeates the hostel, which is converted from the former Anderson Junior College hostel just a short walk from Yio Chu Kang MRT station. The original 240 twin rooms, which used to house international students up till 2019, were converted into 480 single rooms with a Bear Grylls-style partition.

Though the facilities aren’t exactly worthy of a 5-star hotel, officials say that this is a pilot exercise for HDB to gather data, and configurations will be fine-tuned further down the line. The first batch of occupants will get a limited edition, exclusive experience that may never happen again in the future, so be sure to seize the day and submit your application ASAP. 

Love Island Singapore

HDB Single Room Rental - love island singaporeImage credit: Mandon Lee

With 479 other singles in the Single Room Shared Facilities hostel, who knows, you may very well find love here. Sequestered away from the world, in a hostel that looks like it never left the early 2010s, the whole thing feels like a Singaporean version of Love Island funded by 1 person on an NSman’s pay. 

HDB Single Room Rental - dating appsImage credit: Mandon Lee

To qualify for this once-in-a-lifetime, exclusive staycation, all you need to do is delete every dating app from your phone and avoid talking to the opposite gender to prevent forming romantic relations that can result in a legal marriage in Singapore. Applications for the public rental scheme will commence at the end of 2023. It’s a wonderful chance to relive your uni hall or NS days, and you’ll get to feel young at heart again.  

Read and weep over our BTO content:

Cover image adapted from: Housing & Development Board, Housing & Development Board

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