Pragmatic Singaporeans usually live with their parents until they get married, and some even continue doing so after tying the knot. While the reasons for this used to be largely traditional, these days a lot of people continue to stay at home simply because it’s cheaper, and renting or buying their own property costs too much to make it worthwhile, especially in a small country where you’re never more than a few kilometres from everyone else.
Still, a growing number of young people are moving out of the family home, scraping together the cash to rent a room or a unit. Still others in their late 20s or early 30s, usually with high paying jobs and who manage to afford the downpayment on private property, decide to move out on their own instead of renting their property while continuing to live with their parents.
While the financial burden of such a decision is heavy, rents have been falling steadily, and other than the obvious benefits of greater independence and more privacy, here are some pragmatic reasons young Singaporeans might opt to move out of the family home.
A shorter commute to work
You might be one of those Singaporeans who prefer to sacrifice a bit of privacy in exchange for having someone do their laundry and cook for them every day. But even the laziest, most convenience-loving person might be willing to trade a bit of that comfort for a shorter commute every day.
For instance, my parents live in an area that’s connected to the public transport system by one single bus service, which has been known to take up to half an hour to arrive, and takes you a suburban MRT station a 15 minute ride away. When I was working in the CBD, I lived for a period in a property that was just 15 minutes away from work—and it was totally worth it. The days seemed longer and brighter because I no longer had to battle heavy traffic jams or face a frustrating commute to work.
If your parents live in Pasir Ris and you work in Jurong East, or the commute to the nearest MRT station requires you to rely on feeder buses, unless you can find a faster way to get to work, this might justify the added cost of moving closer to your workplace.
Being able to stay with your partner
One huge reason many young Singaporeans move out is to live with a partner. Sharing a rented room with a partner lowers your costs considerably, and can be a good way to share your lives together especially if you have busy work schedules and wouldn’t be able to meet often otherwise.
While getting married will certainly qualify you to purchase an HDB flat, many young couples put off marriage for personal reasons or are unable to wed. Still others have to wait years for their flats to be built and prefer to live together in the interim.
Having the luxury of more space
If you have a larger than average family, having everyone under the same roof results in everyone having a very tiny amount of personal space. Most people make do with what they have, sharing rooms with family members or simply coming home at night when nobody’s home. But if you work from home or run a home-based business that requires space, it might make sense to move to a more spacious place.
For instance, one of my friends is a full-time tutor who teaches multiple students at the same time. He conducts classes in his living room every evening till late at night, which means nobody else in the house can watch TV or relax in the living room. Next year, he plans to move out of the HDB flat he shares with his parents into his own place, where he’ll have more room to conduct his business undisturbed.
Do you think it makes financial sense for young Singaporeans to move out of their parents’ homes? Tell us in the comments!