Serviced apartments and hotels eye a growing trend in Singapore

By
/ EdgeProp
|
August 6, 2018 8:00 AM SGT
There will be more co-living operators in Singapore over the next few years as serviced apartment and hotel operators innovate their business models to bring this residential concept to market. While demand for co-living spaces in Singapore may be limited to the 1.6 million non-residents, an increasing number of millennials may choose to rent rather than stay with their parents, according to a report by Edmund Tie & Co (ET&Co).
Serviced apartment operator The Ascott will open Singapore’s first purpose- built co-living development in the upcoming Funan integrated development in 2020, under its co-living brand lyf. Lyf Funan Singapore plans to organise workshops, talks, music jamming sessions and sports activities for its residents. Ascott invested about $80 million last year to develop its serviced residence component. The co-living property will occupy 121,000 sq ft across nine floors, offering up to 412 rooms.
Ascott invested $80 million last year to develop the serviced residence component of the Funan integrated mall (Pictures: The Ascott)
Demand will come from local and foreign business executives, “as well as new market segments such as technopreneurs, start-ups and those in the entertainment, fashion and creative industries”, says Ascott VP for brand, marketing, and digital innovation, Mindy Teo. “Ascott aims to have 10,000 units under the lyf brand globally by 2020.”
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In a sign of its confidence in co-living, Ascott has already planned another lyf development in Singapore. The 240-unit lyf Farrer Park will be the serviced residential component of the upcoming integrated development Uptown @ Farrer, by Singapore-listed construction and property group Low Keng Huat. The co-living component will feature social kitchens and event spacescum- lobby areas, with studios and two-bedroom units. The development is expected to be completed in 2021.
A showflat mock up of a lyf co-living unit
Co-living has become a trend in gateway cities such as Singapore, Tokyo and Hong Kong, where residential rents are high. The concept is a popular lifestyle choice among millennials, says ET&Co. It notes that co-living landlords are collaborating with co-working operators to extend their service offerings to residents.
Established co-living operators include The Collective in London, and US operators such as Common, Ollie and WeLive. The latter is a spinoff from co-working operator WeWork. In Hong Kong, Eton Properties has converted its Mini Ocean Park Station into co-living apartments. Among hotels there, Mojo Nomad Aberdeen by Ovolo has converted the hotel into a 65-room co-living space.
In Singapore, two pioneer co-living operators are Hmlet and Mamahome. Hmlet leases units from landlords, and refurbishes and redesigns units before renting them out on short leases. Hmlet also organises events for members to build its community. Mamahome fits out the units for co-living and matches like-minded tenants based on their interests.
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Ascott has already planned another lyf development in Singapore. The 240-unit lyf Farrer Park will be the serviced residential component of the upcoming integrated development Uptown @ Farrer
In Singapore, the average monthly rent for studio and one-bedroom serviced apartments is more than $6,000, and co-living apartments are a more affordable option. The large communal spaces and facilities in co-living apartments will compensate for the reduced personal space, says ET&Co.
Some hoteliers are taking co-living further. Marriott plans to introduce units with multiple guest rooms and communal areas in its Element Hotels. While guests will have their own rooms, they will share a kitchen, dining room and lounge area. Operators will integrate shared space concepts with revenue-generating outlets such as F&B to offset the costs, says ET&Co.