When Malaysian Chan Chee Hao walked across the Causeway to Singapore on the first day of the border reopening in August, he did not expect that he would join hundreds of other workers seeking cheap rooms to rent.
Two months later, Mr Chan, 36, still has not found a room near his workplace in Sungei Kadut that meets his budget of $600 a month.
"The rent kept rising for every unit that I saw. I found out that it would cost between $600 and $850 per person to share an air-conditioned room," said Mr Chan, an air-conditioner installer.
"Most of the landlords also wanted a minimum of one-year lease when I am looking to rent just for six months."
He entered Singapore on Aug 17 under the Periodic Commuting Arrangement scheme, which requires him to stay here for at least 90 days before he can return on home leave.
"I already started calling the property agents from Malaysia, but all of them told me they didn't have anything available for me," said Mr Chan.
He then asked his brother's landlord if he could share his brother's room until he found a place.
The landlord said "yes", but the HDB rent in Sin Ming rose from $500 to $900, Mr Chan told The Straits Times. His commute was also 90 minutes each way.
Two weeks later, he moved in with his sister in her Sengkang flat.
"I am hoping for the border to reopen fully, so I can return to commuting daily by bike," said Mr Chan, who is single.