While it’s said that the new estimated waiting time for newer BTO projects now ranges between three and five and a half years (compared to the average waiting time of 4.1 years for projects delivered since January 2020), the additional waiting period could be a year too long for young families or couples to bear.
After all, we’re sure we’re not the only ones who are sick of being squeezed into the same cramped, noisy spaces with little to no privacy. That’s why it comes as no surprise that home rentals and resale flats are seeing an increase in demand among locals.
So, why are more and more young people renting out?
Maybe because the benefits of moving out outweigh the costs of staying in. Whether it’s living closer to your workplace, making your own lifestyle choices, or defending your personal privacy, young professionals are opting to rent instead of waiting even longer now for a BTO home.
In fact, the cost of personal space might be well worth the value of your mental health, time and relationships, such as developing a better relationship with your family, meeting new and interesting people, or exploring Singapore’s culturally-dense neighbourhoods.
This is evident in the numbers released by the Singapore Department of Statistics, which revealed that there’s been an increased demand for rentals of at least 24% by millennial renters between 2019 and 2020.
But renting can suck if you don’t spend time studying the market prices or going for viewing appointments.
Choosing the wrong home can be inconvenient, uncomfortable, and lonely. For the uninitiated, the rental process with agents or landlords can also be inflexible, cumbersome, slow, and untransparent.
Worse still, it could even be a crippling drain on your financial reserves in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Taking all of these into consideration, it’s not hard to see that a newer rental concept, known as co-living, is steadily gaining traction in a number of Southeast Asia’s urban centres, including Singapore.
One of the most prominent co-living operators on our sunny island is Cove, which is founded to help those with younger lifestyles to find a comfortable place to call home.
How does Cove work?
Cove is set up to purely take the hassle out of renting – yes, this means that the team takes care of everything for you and all you have to do is pack your bags and show up at the location that you’ve chosen to rent.
How is this possible? For starters, all of the homes operated by Cove are fully furnished and to streamline the entire process, these home rentals are tech-enabled and managed from start to finish.
When browsing Cove’s listing of fully furnished rentals, you’re using a state-of-the-art online search platform that’s combined with virtual home tours so you can see the rooms without actually being physically there.
Your booking process is also fully digitalised with fair, transparent pricing displayed on each listing for you to consider and compare. In addition to fully furnished rental spaces, Cove also offers regular housekeeping and maintenance for tenants.
Perhaps, Cove’s most unique selling point is that it offers easy, flexible contracts that start from three months and are inclusive of Wi-Fi and utilities.
And because most of Cove’s listings consists of rooms in larger spaces, you’re really getting an instant community with other young professionals while getting your own space at the same time.
So whether you’re a single individual looking for your first starter home, a couple waiting on a delayed flat, or a family looking for a way to escape the endless background noise of nosy neighbours or home renovation, co-living solutions offered by Cove could just be your answer.
What options does Cove offer?
For anyone just moving out or looking to save a pretty penny, you can keep it simple with Cove Basics. A cosy space outfitted with the bare essentials (so you can decorate right over them), Cove Basics have your basic furnishings and kitchenware with monthly communal housekeeping starting from just S$700 a month.
Those looking for something a little less pricey but just as comfortable can go for Cove Classics. The quintessential Cove home, Cove Classics offer stylish furnishings, kitchenware, and monthly housekeeping for communal areas from just S$1,100 a month.
The latest addition to Cove’s portfolio, the first Cove Luxe apartments in a Tanjong Pagar condominium called Lumiere are a mixture of one- to two-bedroom apartments perfect for young families, couples, and executives looking for a stylish, comfortable abode in the CBD.
A step up from the Cove Classics, Cove Luxe apartments are premium spaces replete with luxury furnishings, kitchenware, and full-service monthly housekeeping for your all-around needs, starting from S$2,200 per month.
To clue you in on how Cove really works and how co-living works, AVENUE ONE is here to share our exclusive media experience where we stayed two nights in one of the Cove Luxe apartments at Lumiere.
What’s it like renting from Cove?
Upon arrival, we were greeted by Yang, a member of the Cove operations team who swiftly led us to our allocated unit after exchanging pleasantries.
In our “home away from home”, Yang continued the usual renting process with us which started by personally showing us around the house – something that you’ll only get if you’re staying in a luxury five-star hotel.
From there, he directed us to a link to access a digital report that all tenants have to take some time to go through to ensure that all the furnishings and kitchenware (if the unit comes with them) are in good condition and working order.
The report was also very transparent, which we appreciated, as it didn’t leave out anything that may have defects or imperfections that we may have overlooked.
The entire process from check-in to completing the digital report took less than 15 minutes, and that was with us taking our own sweet time in going through the report.
Being a Cove Luxe unit, our studio apartment comes with a kitchen that’s fully stocked with a functioning fridge, microwave oven, and a complete set of basic crockery, cutleries, and even wine glasses should there be a need for entertaining.
There’s also a decent washing machine outfitted in the kitchen area for laundry too.
Being tenants of a rented home ourselves, we definitely can see the perks of renting with Cove especially for young families or individuals who are looking to have their own private space.
While the cost may be slightly pricier than conventional rentals, what you’re really paying for is the hassle-free experience that allows you to just show up with your belongings and check in to a fully furnished space without a single worry about furniture that you may have when you rent a partially furnished or non-furnished unit elsewhere.
And if you’re willing to fork out a little more, you’ll get a condominium unit like the one that we stayed in, which was situated on one of the higher floors that overlooked Marina Bay, a view that we don’t usually get living in suburban neighbourhoods.
Even though it came with sights of the ongoing construction, we didn’t mind it at all as we enjoyed our breakfast at the rather spacious balcony – something that we don’t have in the rented HDB flat we’re currently staying in.
Lumiere’s prime location is worth highlighting as well, as you’re just a stone throw’s away from Icon Village and 100AM malls which has plenty of eateries to satisfy any craving that you may have.
Walk a few minutes further and you’ll reach Tanjong Pagar Plaza, where you can easily get fresh produce from the market there if you wish to whip up your own meal in your co-living home instead.
The only gripe we have was something that anyone who lives in a unit just outside a refuse chute would have – there were tiny pests along the corridor and if you’re not careful with your food and drinks, you may even end up inviting a few into your home. Well, nothing a few cockroach traps and Baygon spray can’t fix though…
During our media stay, we had the opportunity to chat with Sophie Jokelson, chief marketing officer and co-founder of Cove, who shared with us that Cove’s occupancy rates have been maintained at over 90% since 2020 with the share of locals growing very well into 2021.
“We initially catered to foreign expatriates in Singapore, who are looking for a flexible and hassle-free place to stay. But since the pandemic, we have experienced a shift with more locals renting with us. Before, locals made up about 5% of our tenants. Nowadays, they are closer to about 35% of our tenants. As the pandemic drones on, there has been an increase in locals yearning for privacy and space. Young married couples are also breaking convention by renting apartments short-term due to delays in their BTO flats or renovation,” Sophie shared.
And when asked why co-living has become so popular among young professionals despite the pricey rentals, Sophie explained that Cove’s rental prices include Wi-Fi, comprehensive furniture, kitchenware, appliances, housekeeping, dedicated maintenance support, tenant app, community perks and events, just to name a few.
“So in actual fact when you add everything up, we’re giving a lot of value for our rentals and our prices are affordable. We also provide preferential rates to tenants who stay with us on a long term with discounts of up to 10% to those who would like to stay for 18 months or longer,” she let on.
“Unlike traditional rentals, everything is set up and move-in ready so there’s no need to go through the hassle of buying and setting up furniture, paying the hefty deposits and upfront payments, researching the best Wi-Fi provider or finding a reliable cleaner or handyman, and having to find your own flatmates to offset rent.
A lot of millennials and Gen-Zers want flexibility in this day and age, and the last thing they want is to get tied down in a traditional 12-month or 24-month contract. Staying in a co-living home is also the perfect place for new expatriates to build their new social circle too.”
From what we’re seeing, the co-living trend isn’t abating; in fact, Cove already has its sights on expanding its reach in Vietnam and the Philippines in addition to opening up even more co-living spaces over Singapore and Jakarta by the end of the year.
If you’re keen to rent your own space or to learn more about Cove, click here.