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How big is a 452 sq ft apartment?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

UPDATE (October 2018):
I have lived in a shoebox apartment for 4 years!

A while ago, there was quite a lot of discussion about apartments smaller than 500 sq ft in size and, in some quarters, there was also talk about whether they are good enough as habitats for humans.

When I revealed that I bought one such apartment early last year, there were mixed response from people. 

Some said I made a good decision since there are many advantages of buying a small format apartment. 

Some said I made a terrible decision since there are many disadvantages too.

Many of those who said it was a terrible decision questioned if there is actually going to be enough space for me to live in.

The smallest apartment I lived in as a child was a HDB one room flat. 

As a teenager, the smallest apartment I lived in was a HDB three room flat. 

For 13 years of my life (in my late teens and as a young adult), I lived in a HDB five room flat. 

In the last flat, my share of living space was about 300 sq ft.

So, a 452 sq ft apartment is more than enough space for single me, I reckon.

Anyway, to stop all the guessing, I went online to search for videos of what 452 sq ft of apartment space might look like. 

Here is one which doesn't have some background music or commentary:

Fit for human habitation, you think? ;p

What about a 200 square feet apartment?


mark said...

I quite like the layout. My own pad doesnt make a master bathroom but I have gotten used to this.

Bath tub.. is that what I see? Seriously?

At least i dont see many useless corners

AK71 said...

Hi Mark,

Nah, this layout isn't of my future home. LOL. I am a bit shy about sharing mine.

Mine doesn't have a bathtub. -.-

AhJohn said...

Good for single to stay. Not sure it's good investment for rental income or not?

AhJohn said...

Anyone survey which type is best for rental income? 1,2,3 bed room?

AK71 said...

Hi Ah John,

It really depends on circumstances but I think if we can get a net yield of at least 4%, it is not too bad. Generally, the yield is higher for smaller apartments, everything else remaining equal.

Patrick T. said...

I live in a 1100 sqf HDB but I utilize less than half of it. When my in-laws stay over, I feel cramped.

It's the number of people for me, not the space. I can have a 5000sqf property but will still feel awkward living with someone I am unfamiliar with. For my wife and I, 500sqf is plenty since we just need each other for company.

Ok, I am lucky to find a spouse who is as liberal about her personal space as me so this can work for me. :)

AK71 said...

Hi Pat,

My old pad was a "spacious" 980 sq ft condo. I rented out the spare bedroom to a good friend. Still had lots of space, I felt.

"Do we have enough space?" It is all very personal. Some people just need more space. Some want more space.

I had to think hard about what I need and what I want. I decided I really don't need that much space and I don't want that much space. Of course, things could change.

Anyway, with home prices being what they are now, this is really a practical choice as well. :)

la papillion said...

Hi Ak,

I think if I'm living alone, 500 is more than adequate. Easier to clean up too. If it's too big, like 1000+ and you're alone, it'll feel too empty and depressing. If I don't cook a lot, I would prefer a bigger bedroom. Toilet is just utility space for me, so smaller the better. But I bet there are some pple who prefer bigger living room/bigger toilet etc. So it's not just about the sqft but also the layout :)

Unknown said...


452 sq ft was enough for me and my wife. We stayed in a studio at Imperial Heights. Had to move out after our kids arrived though. Haha!

It was quite a nice experience. Not much cleaning to do. Easy to maintain. Rented it out at $2.5K for a year before we sold it at a good price last year ;)

Unknown said...

We even played mahjong in it! haha!

AK71 said...

Hi LP,

Oh, I agree. Different layouts will appeal to different people.

Some will say that location is the most important consideration and overrides everything else. Well, for me, the building itself must appeal to me.

The property could be in a fantastic location but if I didn't like the building, it would be a no go for me.

AK71 said...

Hi Cen,

With kids, 452 sq ft is less ideal, I agree. Well, maybe with a baby, still OK. Just need a crib by your bed. ;)

Imperial Heights is near Haig Road where my grandma stays. I am familiar with the area. I think the price went up some 40% since TOP. Nice!

Well, from what you and Pat said, I think 452 sq ft is going to be plenty of space for a bachelor like me. :)

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


"I am pretty happy about it. That is what matters most to me."

Need we say more?

Have fun bachelor boy!

P.S. Your change in housing from child to adult is the classic Singapore meritocratic story - although that's more about your parent's story.

Your story is just as impressive in the equities arena ;)

AK71 said...


Well, I am downsizing from a 2 bedroom condo to a 1 bedroom condo. Definitely not a classic Singapore meritocratic story. More like a classic story of pragmatism. ;p

It was really a case of value for money staring at me with this purchase. Of course, there is a host of other reasons why a smaller apartment makes sense for me.

I see, I like, I buy. ;p

Unknown said...

Hi! AK,

you achieved the Swiss standard of living!

But to have a Singaporean family with 3 kids and overcome our demographic problems, we need 2500 sq ft.

AK71 said...

Hi Jimmy,

Thanks for the link. Very interesting!

"... children are staying on in the same house with their parents for longer, often living there with their first partner.

Living space per person is generous: the 2000 census showed the average figure to be 44 m2 (474 sq. ft.).

Families with children prefer to live outside the big cities, if possible buying their own homes. However, the proportion of owner-occupiers remains the lowest in Europe, although the number rose in the decade 1990-2000.

Two thirds of people in Switzerland do not own their home, although the proportion varies considerably from one canton to another."

I think Singaporeans have it better since a much bigger proportion of our citizens are owner-occupiers.

I think the survey also lumped together living space outside the cities and in the cities. To have a like for like comparison, we will have to compare the amount of space for each person in the cities only since Singapore is really a city state. :)

AK71 said...

I have lived in a shoebox apartment for 4 years!

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