We Ask 11 Young Adults How Much They Pay For Rent Each Month In Singapore

31 May 2023 | BY

We asked 11 youths how much they’re paying for monthly rent and how they landed on a place to stay on our little red dot.

Monthly rent - cover image

We wish that looking for rental properties was as easy as grocery shopping with everything you need neatly arranged at designated aisles. Sadly, the reality is a much more tedious process, especially since property hunting was never a core subject offered in school and most of us dive blindly into the property market.

Take renting as practice for purchasing your first home, and consider every detail before signing any lease. To give you an idea of the current rental market in Singapore, we spoke to 11 millennial and Gen Z tenants to find out how much they’re paying for rent and tips on how they found a suitable place to call home.

1. $4,000/month for a 4-room HDB in Braddell

Realistically speaking, renting a room, let alone an entire HDB flat, can be quite costly for many of us. That’s why sharing the rental fees and using the whole flat as a collective might not be a bad idea. With 3 other roommates splitting the total monthly rent and paying $1,000/tenant, James was able to afford to stay in a 4-room HDB in Braddell.

Monthly rent - additional wallsThe living room was converted into another bedroom.
Image credit: James Toh

Similar to most working adults, James was on the hunt to rent a place close to the central area, but it wasn’t an easy search as units in those areas were in high demand and rental rates were inflated. 

Convenience and connectivity play huge factors when it comes to how attractive a rental home is, and most reasonably priced units get snapped up quickly.

“The rental market is currently very hot and renting a place would really eat into your savings, so do consider the affordability of the place,” James said. “Once you have decided on your budget and found a good listing, take it up quickly as the market moves quite fast.”

James Toh, 25

Monthly rent - Choa Chu Kang districtChoa Chu Kang is one of the cheapest neighbourhoods to rent due to its far-from-town location and facilities nearby.
Image credit: Flickr

The distance to your nearest MRT, supermarket, and kopitiams are things you’ll want to take into consideration. We recommend that you scout for facilities and amenities around your potential neighbourhood before shortlisting properties – if you’re a regular Grab user, it’s worth noting if your rental location is a convenient pickup point too. 

2. $2,800/month for a 3-room condo in Balestier

Utility and Wifi bills can significantly impact your monthly rental budget, as they are not always included in the rental fee and vary between landlords and property types. For Huy and his roommate Brad, the utility bills are a separate fee on top of the $2,800 they pay monthly for their 3-room condominium. 

Monthly rent - older air con models and induction stovesOlder aircon models and induction stoves use more electricity.
Image credit: @nicoettelovesyouhome, @sherrarchi

If you are renting an entire unit, we advise that your landlord sign a Tenancy Utilities Account Transfer Form. This way you’re able to have a full overview of the monthly utility bills and keep track of the costs too. Quick tip to save at least $100 on your utility expenses is to avoid renting places using older aircon models, washing machines, and induction stoves as they require much more electricity.

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Another tip Huy shared was to have a checklist of things to look out for when renting a place: wall thickness, if there are yellow mould stains on the walls, and the house direction. Taking these considerations into account before settling down on a place will avoid unexpected expenses and help find a living arrangement that suits your needs and budget.

“If we moved into a professionally-cleaned house, then we will need to engage professional cleaning services before moving out and the curtains are required to be washed before returning the house,” Huy said about some potential costs he might have incurred. 

“On top of that, if any repairs are needed, my roommate and I will have to share the cost if it’s under $150. But you should talk to your landlord if the fees go above that amount and they should be able to share and relieve the financial burden.”

Huy, 31

3. $400/month for a shared bedroom in a 4-room Serangoon HDB

We know you’re probably as shook as us after seeing the monthly rental fees for this response. Though we do envy Clement’s fortunate position in the current property market, it’s important to note that he does share this bedroom with a roommate. Considering the steep increase in rental prices in Singapore, Clement would have had to pay at least double the monthly rate his landlord is currently charging him if he was occupying the bedroom by himself.

Monthly rent - shared bedroomThe bedroom Clement shares with his roommate.
Image credit: Clement

While it may seem like a spatial constraint to most of us when it comes to sharing a room, Clement doesn’t mind and finds the set-up cosy. But he did share that he had to compromise on some of his regular habits as the homeowners are Muslim and tenants must follow the following rules: no consumption of pork and alcohol within the premises. 

Since we live in a multi-racial society, it’s inevitable that your potential rental space might have additional rules and regulations to follow. Perhaps take some time to consider any cultural or religious sensitivities before moving in, and be respectful of those in shared living spaces.

“I know the monthly rental fee is insanely cheap, but it’s good to contact friends or work colleagues looking for rental places too. They might have lobangs and jio you for a good deal, because my former colleague was the one that hooked me up with this amazing place!”

Clement, 22

4. $3,200/month for a 4-room HDB in Outram Park

Would you rather pay $3,000 for a studio apartment in the city fringe area or share that cost with 2 other roommates for a 4-room HDB at Outram Park? For Dewi, it was clear that the studio apartment was not financially viable for now and she decided to sacrifice the solo studio apartment for an affordable shared space. 

Monthly rent - Figment studio apartmentMonthly fees for a room at a co-living space, Figment, located at Tanjong Pagar start at $3,000.
Image credit: Figment

Paying slightly over $1,000/month is reasonable for the location that’s a 5-minute walk from Outram Park MRT, 10 minutes from Tanjong Pagar MRT, and near 3 supermarkets. Another benefit of renting the entire unit is that “no cooking” rules do not apply and the kitchen is up for usage, which helps to save some money.

“One perk of renting instead of living with family is the freedom and independence that comes with living on your own. But there are a lot of financial sacrifices that come with deciding to rent – I don’t shop as much, eat out or go out for drinks as often, and travel as much as I’d like to. But I wanted a space I can call home instead of feeling like I need to escape every now and then.”

Dewi, 29

5. $3,350/month for a 4-room HDB in Tiong Bahru

If you’re curious about co-living spaces, renting a flat with more than 2 roommates might help determine if you’re up for it. Jay rents a 4-room HDB unit at Tiong Bahru and pays around $560 after splitting the monthly rental fee with an astonishing 5 other roommates, 2 of whom are her friends renting while waiting for their BTO to be built.

Before Jay moved in, the landlord added walls to create 2 extra rooms to accommodate more people, making it more affordable as the cost of the space can be split between more parties.

Monthly rent - more laundry Expect heavy laundry loads when living with multiple roommates.
Image credit: HDB

Sharing a house with multiple housemates might seem intimidating, but maintaining a positive environment and keeping the peace is possible by establishing ground rules and good communication. Taking the initiative to keep shared areas clean and respecting each other’s space can also contribute to a harmonious household.

Monthly rent - shared kitchenKeep common areas clean and tidy after using them.
Image credit: ZLC

“Find others to rent with you. Right now, the market is so bad for those who want to rent, so make sure you get to know good housemates to not only share the cost but ensure that your rental experience won’t be a nightmare.”

Jay, 32

6. $3,800/month for a 4-room HDB in Bishan

Our kan chiong senses were definitely triggered after hearing stories of the fast-paced rental market in Singapore, not to mention how rental prices were inflated up to 28% by the end of 2022. Charlotte shared that finding a suitable property was quite challenging as she had to prioritise different factors such as location and costs while trying to secure a place to live.

Monthly rent - co living spacesAll housemates are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of all living areas.
Image credit: Charlotte

Although the 4-room HDB unit she settled on was not her dream rental, she signed a 2-year lease for the $633 monthly rent after sharing the total fees with other housemates. The location is quite a distance from Bishan MRT station, and she also shares the unit with 5 other roommates. 

Monthly rent - multiple roommatesImage credit: Charlotte

Charlotte, 24

7. $2,500/month for a 2-room condo in Tanah Merah

Living with landlords is one of many concerns you should have when sharing a rental room, even though it seems like a convenient way to have direct access to them for any issues that may arise. Other tenants living under the same roof may give rise to negative experiences if not communicated well, especially if they aren’t from your existing social groups. 

Monthly rent - shared living roomHousemates share all the common living spaces aside from their personal rooms.
Image credit: Carousell

Steph shared her previous rental nightmare where she suffered an ordeal as she made the mistake of moving in before meeting the other tenants. This led her to renting a single-bedroom condo at Tanah Merah for $2,500 per month. Setting a date to view the rental space when the roommates are home may help to be aware of potential conflicts. And by taking steps to set clear expectations and boundaries, you can increase your chances of having a positive rental experience.

“When I moved into my previous rental apartment, I noticed that my housemates were unhygienic snobs who wouldn’t clean up after cooking or making a mess in the common areas because ‘the landlord comes by to clean once a week’. They also invaded my fridge space, shifting my things without permission. It was hard for me to say anything as I was technically the ‘newcomer’ and they’d already established the rules of the house.”

Steph, 33

8. $2,500/month for a 3-room HDB in Queenstown

Monthly rent - makeshift roomThe housemates spend most of their time in their own rooms.
Image credit: Diyor

Here’s a heartwarming rental story we’d like to share: Diyor, after sharing an entire 4-room HDB unit with 5 other roommates for the past 2 years, found himself thoroughly satisfied with the living environment and chose to renew his lease in January 2023. Overall, Diyor pays around $420/month excluding the utility bills and after sharing the total rent with 5 other housemates.

Monthly rent - renting bedroomImage credit: Diyor

As Diyor’s lease was coming to an end, he noticed that the rental prices drastically increased and figured the best financial plan was to renew his lease at his current place. If you have a good relationship with your landlord, it may be worth trying to negotiate the monthly rental fees to ensure that you won’t face financial struggles in the future. Securing an ideal place with reasonable rent will make it easier to decide if you choose to stay there long-term.

“The rental rates in central areas have become unreasonably unaffordable, which makes me appreciate my current place even more. The location is generally quite convenient and it’s a peaceful neighbourhood with a forest nearby where I can go for frequent jogs.”

Diyor, 23

9. $2,820/month for a 3-room condo in Tanah Merah

Navigating official property websites can be daunting, and the additional burden of agent fees is frustrating to pay. A potential solution to finding a favourable deal by exploring alternative platforms such as Carousell. These platforms often provide cheaper listings, allowing you to find suitable options in your desired location.

Monthly rent - Carousell property lisitingCarousell and Facebook groups are unofficial sites that might have better renting rates.
Image credit: Carousell, Facebook

More often than you think, Carousell has a quick turnover for rental spaces and the price range is significantly lower than the more popular property portals. Grey secured a 3-room condo at Tanah Merah from a Carousell listing and splits the rent with 2 other housemates. 

Of course, it’s important to note that since these are unofficial listings, you should do your due diligence and research on the landlord and property before committing to a lease. Additionally, we recommend visiting the property in person before signing any agreement to ensure it meets your expectations and requirements.

“It took awhile and we struggled to find a place with reasonable rent, but we finally found one on Carousell and it’s a short bus ride away from some nice aesthetic cafes.”

Grey, 32

10. $650/month for 1 bedroom in a 4-room HDB in Central Area

Communication and setting boundaries with your landlord might be a good idea before deciding to move in, especially if you’re staying with the homeowners. Unfortunately, Rachel had to learn this the hard way when she experienced a traumatic rental situation where the previous homeowners allowed their 50-year-old son to enter her rented room unannounced.

Monthly rent - rental repairsLiving with the homeowner allows for any repairs to be solved efficiently with lesser delays.
Image credit: So Cool

Fortunately, she was able to find a new place and has established a healthier relationship with her current landlords and fellow tenants, sharing a 4-room HDB flat for $650 a month.

Being confident in your relationship with the landlords or homeowners can ensure that there will be lesser misunderstandings between both parties. This arrangement also gives you a sense of security and peace of mind, knowing that you have an open line of communication if anything goes wrong.

“As you can guess from my previous renting experiences, I learnt my lesson and was able to communicate better with the current house owner,” Rachel reflected. “We discussed a laundry schedule that works for both of us and whether it’s okay to reheat food in the microwave or lower the TV volume during the day since I work night shifts.” 

“These conversations have helped us establish mutual respect and consideration for each other’s needs.”

Rachel, 25

11. $7,500/month for a 5-room condo at Somerset

Renting a condo in Singapore’s prime shopping district sounds like a Bling Empire dream, which Jiayi managed to manifest when she rented a 5-room condo, shared among multiple roommates at Somerset for $1,500/month, inclusive of utilities and cleaning services. 

Monthly rent - aspen heights rent lisitingAspen Heights is one of the most popular condos in the Somerset area that has many rental listings.
Image credit: Property Guru, Straits Home

Though this rent fee is pretty steep, Jiayi was willing to settle for the place as it met her requirements of being located within a central area and sharing a bathroom with at most one more tenant. Typically, rent in these highly-desirable areas exceed $1,000/month due to the convenience and better quality properties. Jiayi also mentioned that she adjusted her budget based on her priorities and adopted a thriftier lifestyle.

Monthly rent - central loactions draw crowdsLuxury stores and big brands draw crowds to the area.
Image credit: Apple

While renting at popular locations like Somerset may have its advantages, there are a few downsides to consider as well. For instance, there is a lack of cheap food options and landlords may increase the rent by $100-$200 during the initial negotiation stage. Additionally, the area is usually crowded as it’s frequently visited by both locals and tourists, which may not appeal to everyone. 

“My landlord originally tried asking for $100-$200 more but gave in when I said it’s out of my budget. Price was definitely an issue especially since I have a lot of requirements and preferences when it comes to a place but I ain’t exactly rolling in the dough.”

“I was specifically on the hunt for a master bedroom with an ensuite as I was not a fan of having to share it with 3-4 other tenants, but even in non-prime areas, they were crazy expensive.”

Jiayi, 30

Monthly rental budget in Singapore

Moving out of our parent’s house is often driven by the desire for more independence. But it’s important to remember that renting a space also entails tenant rules and a financial burden if you aren’t able to sustain the lifestyle. Hopefully, these rental insights from a range of profiles can help you navigate your way to scoring a suitable rental space within your budget.

Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

For more renting tips: 

Cover image adapted from: SilverKris, @commontown_official_, Youtube

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