Mention the word, affordable rentals for singles, or unmarried working professionals, you might immediately be thinking if the latest HDB Joint Singles Scheme Operator-Run (JSS-OR) model will have any takers given that there is requirement for applicants to be assigned unfamiliar flatmates by the operator.
Affordable rentals aside, but it really depends on how open one is able to get along with a complete stranger in a HDB flat. Moreover, one must also be willing to accept new flat mates, and be tolerant about the other’s behavioural norms.
What exactly is this HDB Joint Singles Scheme Operator
In a December 17, 2021 press release by the Housing & Development (HDB), lower-income singles in need of rental flats can apply for a HDB rental unit at affordable rates, and be paired up with a flatmate by the operator, taking into consideration factors such as gender, age, ethnicity, living habits and so on.
In addition, the JSS-OR model will first be undergoing its first trial immediately starting on December 17, 2021 with the launch of a mix of 1- and 2-room HDB flats, with partitions installed to accommodate two or three persons per flat respectively. These units also come with general household furnishings and appliances such as wardrobes, a water heater, a washing machine, and a refrigerator, so that tenants can move in easily.
The shortlisted operator being appointed for this trial run under the JSS-OR scheme is a locally-based social agency, Good News Community Services, who will run the pilot project at both HDB sites, namely Bedok North Road (left), and Buangkok Crescent (right). More details can be found in this link.
Currently, there are no published rental rates under this new JSS-OR model, however, according to the quarterly public rental statistics by HDB, during the third quarter of 2021 (3Q21), the average public rental prices of a two-room HDB flat located in Geylang works out to be around S$1,300 per month, and the highest average public rental prices recorded for the whole of 2021 is around S$1600 per month for a two-room unit located in Bukit Merah.
What would the factors for the JSS-OR scheme to work
The two locations, Bedok North Road, and Buangkok Crescent are not exactly close to the city centre or MRT stations. For example, for the Bedok North Road HDB blocks known as Bedok North Woods, the nearest MRT station, according to OneMap.gov.sg, is Bedok Reservoir MRT station which is part of the Downtown line (DTL), and is located around 671 metres from the HDB block.
As for the flats’ proximity to the Bedok MRT station (EW5) on the East-West Line (EWL), you may want to check out this map extracted from OneMap.gov.sg website to determine its accessibility.
As for the Buangkok Crescent flats, also known as Buangkok Parkvista, the nearest MRT station, according to OneMap.gov.sg, is Tongkang LRT station, which is located approximately 778 metres from the flats.
As for amenities wise, the closest hawker centre is Fernvale Hawker Centre & Market which is located about 835 metres, while Ci Yuan Hawker Centre is located about 1.1 kilometres, according to information provided by OneMap.gov.sg.
Desires for bigger flats to accommodate work-from-home workers
As for space wise, with the existing work-from-home (WFH) policy and where only 50 per cent of the workforce are only allowed to return to their workplaces, there is an increasing need for bigger living spaces to accommodate this need.
Moreover, most of the singles who would choose to have a place of their own is mostly due to space constraints in their present living environment, either with their parents, and/or siblings. Plus, there is also an increasing need for freedom and personal space among singles.
Therefore, under such circumstances, it remains to be seen if the JSS-OR scheme will work. But, if one is accommodative to accept new flat mates, there is no reason why the JSS-OR scheme will not be a hit. Plus, the rental is also within most budgets of singles which is not too overwhelming, particularly if one has to look for private or open market public rentals which typically do not have the essential fittings in place, or could be lacking.