Families used to be in the focus of real estate developers, but the rising demand of young urban singles challenges the supply, especially in core urban areas. When looking for living space, singles tend to choose locations in proximity to their workplace and with good access to public transportation. Good facilities in the surroundings, like convenience stores, restaurants and sport facilities, are another important factor. They focus more on cost efficiency, and prefer smaller and cozier units compared to traditional units targeting families.
Both government policies and housing market are responding to singles housing demand while promoting a better use of the existing housing stock. Shanghai is currently enlarging its share of small-to-medium-sized apartment units, especially in downtown areas. Home-purchasing restrictions further accelerate the expansion of the rental housing market.
The market is responding with new housing concepts, for example long-term rental apartments, dormitories and co-living spaces. They suit the needs of young urban singles and their modern way of life. Compared to traditional family apartments, long term rental apartments focus on privacy for individual rooms and offer shared public facilities. (See fig. 2). Buildings dedicated to such apartments often provide additional service facilities, like gymnasiums, billiard rooms, laundry, where social interactions can occur.