Co-living in Singapore: A possible housing option for youths?

Join DAYNA WONG in finding out what the co-living experience brings to youths and what it means for locals.



Dayna Wong
Hype Editorial Admin

Hype Issue #59

Published on
June 28, 2024

According to the National Youth Survey conducted by TODAY in 2023, housing and renovation costs were ranked as the biggest concern of youths, among other cost of living concerns such as healthcare, groceries, utilities and eating out. 60% of respondents cited it as a worry, a jump from 41% in 2022.

This sentiment is shared by Mr. Wong Wei Jun Raybriel, 20, who expressed wanting to stay near his parents in the future but is concerned about the cost of living in that area due to rising housing prices.

“Seeing the cost of living in my current estate… to live in the same neighbourhood now it’s not very feasible,” he said.

With stringent criteria to obtain housing as a young adult in Singapore, it’s not a surprise that alternative housing options are on the rise, with more youths and young adults choosing to rent out a place before owning a home. If you’ve ever thought of moving out, let me introduce you to co-living.

What is Co-living?

On the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) website, co-living is defined as “developments providing accommodation with communal facilities (such as shared kitchens and lounge areas) and social programming that cultivates communities among tenants”. Essentially, it’s a private rental of a room in a residence shared by multiple tenants where communal areas and amenities are shared, while rooms are private.

Co-living is marketed as a cheaper and easier alternative to renting out an entire apartment, since the rental and utilities costs are shared across multiple tenants. It comes in two forms; private rental under co-living developers, and homeowners who rent out part of their residences.

Pet Sitter

Infographic made on Canva by Dayna Wong. 

Sources: URA, The Income Blog, Casa Mia Co-living, Interviewees

In land-scarce Singapore, public housing is prioritised for nuclear families, leaving limited public housing options for single young adults. This is slowly evolving, with singles over 35 years old being able to apply for two-room flexi BTO flats in all locations as of 2023, compared to previously being able to do so only in non-mature estates. More young Singaporeans are looking towards co-living for reasons ranging from favouring independence to expanding their social circles.

Looking For The Right Place

Upon viewing listings of rooms provided by co-living developers, our interviewee Mr. Wong responded positively, preferring them over staying in a studio apartment alone. He welcomes the opportunity to get to know new people, finding comfort in the fact there would be other people around.

Lion Dancing

Image taken from the Cove website showcasing the listing of one of their standard rooms for one occupant situated in the Lavender and Farrer Park area.

“If I had to move out myself, I’d look for these kinds of opportunities because at least you’re not exactly living alone. You’ve other people in the house, but you still have your own private space,” he says. 

More practical concerns like paying the rent and the lifestyle habits of the other tenants were mentioned by those currently residing in a co-living apartment.

When Malaysian native Mr. Lim Foo Ee Calvin, 32, came to Singapore for work in 2021, he chose the option to co-live with others to alleviate costs. Currently, he rents a room in a four-room Housing Development Board (HDB) flat with five other housemates. 

“I consider whether it’s convenient getting to work, the rent, and more importantly the tidiness and hygiene of the landlord’s home. Previously, when viewing homes I came across one that was really messy and I didn’t want to rent it … [despite it being] cheaper than my current place,” Mr. Lim said.

He currently stays in the east, sharing a room with a friend in a house of five tenants. Each of them pay $700 per month, amounting to $1,400 for one room (exclusive of utilities). This is considered average for renting a single room in Singapore, with the monthly rent of co-living spaces typically starting at $800 per month, and going up to around $2,500 for a standard single occupant room. Rental costs depend on the location of the residence, size of the room, duration of stay, and availability of private amenities like a personal bathroom.

Learning from Experience

However, living with others is no easy feat, especially with strangers. Completing simple chores requires intentional planning when multiple tenants share one amenity. Even after two years of living with others, recent graduate Mr. Lee Guang Yu, 24, who currently stays with five other tenants in a four-room flat, is still grappling with this. 

“There’s six of us …, so when we wash clothes we [have] to take turns. Sometimes when the owner wants to wash his clothes, he’ll see that our clothes are still inside [the washing machine], then he’ll tell us to … [put away] our clothes quickly. But… [often, they are] not fully dry.”

Mr. Lim’s home adopts an alternative arrangement, with each tenant agreeing to wash their clothes on different days to prevent clashes.

Having to adapt to the peculiar habits of others may be a deterrent for some, but learning to be self-sufficient at an earlier age is a benefit you might not have thought of. 

Co-living in a shared apartment can be the training wheels to eventually living on your own, or with a partner. This sentiment is shared by Mr. Wong, who feels that co-living is a “good short term way to see how [you] thrive alone”. 

Though it’s unlikely that co-living will replace single-family residences, the appeal of short-term leases and low costs make it a popular choice for a first taste of independence. For some, it’s also about getting to network with like-minded individuals.

If you’re keen on experiencing it for yourself, here’s where you can get started.

Rental Under Homeowners

Platforms for renting with homeowners provide a large variety of room options with different locations, making it ideal for those looking for listings with a monthly rent of under $1,000. There are also options for a virtual or live tour to view the room before making a decision.

1. Property Guru

Lion Dancing

A listing of a room for rent found on the Property Guru website. Accurate as of 25 June 2024.

Property Guru is a property search website where each listing is linked to a property agent, allowing for peace of mind when viewing listings. Private and shared amenities are also explained in detail so you know what the listing has to offer.


Lion Dancing

Examples of rooms for rent on the website. Accurate as of 25 June 2024.

Similarly, features a variety of property listings for both rental and purchase of rooms and homes. Commuting routes to locations nearby the home are illustrated in detail, allowing potential tenants to consider nearby services when looking for a place to stay.

Co-Living Developers

Situated in multiple locations in Singapore, co-living developers ensure tenants stay in easy-to-access locations. The rental prices differ according to the amenities and furnishing provided, suiting the needs of those on a budget and those who are willing to pay more for comfort and privacy.

1. Cove

Lion Dancing

Image taken from the Cove website.

Cove’s homes are located in multiple locations across the island at different price points, with rooms available for immediate move-in for those urgently looking for a place to stay.

2. lyf by The Ascott Limited

Image taken from the lyf website showcasing activities held as a community.

If you are a young working professional looking for a co-living space that focuses more on building a community, lyf may be more suitable for you, with communal spaces for work and play situated in their apartment buildings.