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Newly Weds: Where Can You Stay If Your House Is Not Ready Yet (And How Much Will It Cost)

Marissa Saini

Marissa Saini

Last updated 30 August, 2021

Once the honeymoon glow fades, your next big decision to make is where to stay while waiting for your BTO flat. If recent delays have left you in the lurch, here are some housing options to consider.

Waiting for a BTO flat after getting married can be a real buzzkill. Once you tie the knot, all you’re looking forward to is living together in your matrimonial home.

But this may not be happily ever after for most Singaporean couples.

Before the pandemic landed on our shores, getting the keys to your BTO meant having to endure an excruciating three- to four-year waiting period.

In 2021, the wait has only gotten longer. 

A recent spike in COVID-19 cases has resulted in tighter border restrictions for travellers from high risk countries such as Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh. This has caused a manpower crunch in the construction sector and consequently, delayed BTO projects with extended delivery possession dates that could stretch up to a year or more.

For couples who originally planned to have their house within the three- to four-year timeline, this would mean having to wait at least five to six years instead.

However, there is some good news. The government recently announced that couples whose BTO flats are affected by the COVID-19 construction delays can now make an appeal to cancel their bookings. For successful appeals, this means getting reimbursed for the fees that they've forked out (option fee and downpayment depending on which stage they're at) as well as the waiver of the one-year-wait-out period to allow them to get a housing grant should they need to arrange for immediate accommodation options.

If you’re starting to worry about where you can call home while waiting for your BTO flat to be completed, or if you're planning on cancelling your BTO booking, don’t fret. There are many alternative living arrangements for you to consider.

Let’s explore them here.

Apply for Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS)

PPHS allows you to rent directly from HDB. As such, you can look forward to lower rental rates than those in the open market. For those working with tighter budgets, this is definitely a worthy option that’s lighter on your wallet.

On the other hand, it also means having to try your luck and ballot again. 

However, you’ll be happy to know that first-time couples waiting for their BTO will get priority in their PPHS application.

If your application is successful, you would have to sign the tenancy agreement and make these payments:

  • 1-month rental deposit 
  • Rental for the first month 
  • Stamp fees

The rental rates largely depend on where the flat is located as well as the flat type but you won’t find homes with rates that exceed S$1,500.

LocationFlat typeRental rate
Sumang Lane2-roomS$500
Canberra Street2-roomS$400
Hougang Ave 5 Hougang Ave 73-roomS$600
Clementi West St 23-roomS$900
Tiong Bahru Road4-roomS$1,500

Check out the full list of flats and rental rates available under PPHS here.

Rent a resale HDB flat or private property 

Arguably the fastest way to secure housing while you wait, this requires you to check current market rental rates as it fluctuates according to supply and demand. Rental rates are also showing an upward trend now that a highly volatile pandemic is in the mix.

HDB rental rates are also not subsidised by the government so prices are considerably higher. On the bright side, there’s no restrictive eligibility guidelines in place, which means you’ll be guaranteed a place if it fits your budget — that is, if the landlord is cooperative and easy to deal with.

To start your search, here are some property sites to check out: 

  • HDB’s own Market Rental Rates
  • Property Guru
  • Carousell 
  • Ohmyhome 
  • SRX

As is usually the case, renting an entire HDB flat or room is more affordable than renting a private property. If you’re more budget-conscious and don’t mind living somewhere without a gym, 24-hour security and swimming pools, this is the housing type to stick to. 

Assuming you are looking for a temporary place for just you and your partner, here are the market rates for housing types that are ideal for two.

HDB rental rates

TownFlat typeRental rate
Bedok3-roomS$1,300 - S$1,900
Bedok4-roomS$1,900 - S$2,400
Tanjong Pagar3-roomS$2,000 - S$2,500
Tanjong Pagar4-roomS$2,950 - S$3,600
Clementi3-roomS$1,500 - S$2,300
Clementi4-roomS$2,200 - S$2,700

*prices are approximate and subject to change

Private property rental rates usually depend on the district the property is located in. The further you are from the city centre (i.e. Outside Central Region), the more affordable the rent usually is. But if you’re a true-blue urbanite who wants to stay in the beating heart of town, one option to consider is studio apartments. While small in size, it gives you a taste of CBD-esque condo living without the exorbitant price tag.

Condo rental rates

RegionCondo typeRental rate
Core Central Region (CCR) & Sentosa StudioS$1,300 - S$6,500
Core Central Region (CCR) & Sentosa 1-bedroomS$1,200 - S$8,300
Rest of Central Region (RCR)StudioS$535 - S$4,200
Rest of Central Region (RCR)1-bedroomS$700 - S$3,788
Outside Central Region (OCR)StudioS$1,000 - S$3,500
Outside Central Region (OCR)1-bedroomS$600 - S$3,200

*prices are approximate and subject to change

Fun fact: Studio apartments and 1-bedroom apartments are not one and the same. The main difference is that studio apartments lack walls that distinguish the living room from the kitchen and the bedroom area. A 1-bedroom apartment gives you a smidge of privacy as your bedroom is demarcated by walls (and a door) in case guests come over.

Stay with your parents or in-laws

This is by far the most affordable option on the list. Depending on how you’ve talked it out with your parents or your spouse’s parents, it could mean saving thousands on rent money that would have gone down the drain. Better yet, you’ll also be able to build up savings for your upcoming renovation in preparation for your new home.

Financial prudence aside, this living arrangement does have its challenges due to space constraints and lack of privacy as you’ll be under someone else’s roof. The high possibility of butting heads with your in-laws is also something to mull over (and discuss with your spouse) before you move in.

Assuming that your other option is to rent out a 3-bedroom Tanjong Pagar flat from the open market throughout the six-year waiting period, you would have saved = S$2,500 x 12 months x 6 years = S$180,000

This excludes your property agent’s cut, security deposit and various utility expenses such as electricity, water and gas (if your rent doesn’t already cover them).

Try out co-living spaces 

Co-living is the newest kid on the block when it comes to living arrangements. Much like co-working spaces, co-living allows you to work live in tastefully decorated places and bond with a community of like-minded peers. Unlike traditional renting, you can expect perks such as full furnishings, free coffee, housekeeping services and a packed social calendar with many community events. However, these events are mostly virtual now during the pandemic.

Like the name suggests, be prepared to live alongside tenants and mingle (or network) with them in shared communal spaces. If that sounds like your cup of tea, we suggest you try this out and make some new friends along the way. Plus, if you’re the sort of person who balks at having to share a bathroom with strangers, you can always spring for rooms with ensuite bathrooms, albeit at a premium price.

Depending on your budget and what you fancy overall, rental rates could range from competitively priced ‘Small’ rooms (starting from S$870 a month) to more luxurious, boutique-style living situated in gorgeous restored shophouses (starting from S$2,580 a month).

Co-living providerRoom typeRental rate
LyfStudio and 2- to 3-bedroom duplexS$3,536 - S$5,832
FigmentStudioS$2,580 - S$3,410
HmletStudio and whole apartmentS$870 - S$5,990
ST SignatureCabinS$2,530 - S$6,038

*prices are approximate and subject to change

Read these next:
Home Insurance Promotions And Discounts To Protect Your Home
The Real Cost of Breaking Up Before Your BTO Flat Is Ready
How To Buy A House In Singapore: A Complete Guide
Cost Guide to Weddings in Singapore 2021
HDB BTO Launches In 2021 (Bukit Batok, Tengah, Kallang - Whampoa, Toa Payoh - Bidadari, Woodlands, Bukit Merah, Geylang, Hougang, Jurong East, Queenstown, Tampines)

Your friendly neighbourhood cat enthusiast who enjoys not being broke. Spend less, save more is the name of the game. Firm believer that being financially savvy is not about the destination, but the friends you make along the way.


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