Co-Living: Is It Just For The Elderly And Students?

Co-Living: Is It Just For The Elderly And Students?

Co-living developments have taken the real estate market by storm and everything suggests they’ll keep gaining popularity. The past few years have brought about profound changes in how we perceive basic concepts like work and home, and co-living has emerged as one of the most important trends of the 21st century. But is this solution only an option for trendy Millennials and the elderly? In this post we take a look at the growing trend of co-living and discuss the pros and cons of these communal arrangements.


Co-Living Origins And Growth

Co-living first appeared in the mid 2010s. Although it was initially dismissed as student housing for adults or the modern version of 19th century boarding houses, it has carved an important niche in the housing market.


Today there are co-living developments in major cities around the world and the market is fast-growing. It’s not uncommon for co-living operators to run multiple developments in a single city and to have ambitious expansion plans. For example, Venn aims to be present in 100 cities by 2030, whereas Medici Group has spoken about goals of moving into the US market and investing 1bn Euros to expand its global presence.


Prior to 2016, just over 10% of co-living spaces were in brand new buildings, but over the past couple of years their popularity has soared, so landlords and developers have more reasons to invest in new and high-quality builds. Co-living as evolved parallel to co-working office space and it seems to attract a similar customer base: the number of digital nomads and freelancers keeps growing and it’s expected that co-working users will exceed 5 million within the next couple of years.


For some, co-living and co-working are the next big things in residential and commercial real estate, and their growth is linked to the crucial role they play in the sharing economy. People today are more mobile and flexible, so they’re less likely to commit to a mortgage or to long rental terms. And as work arrangements like flexitime or remote work become more widespread, people spend more time at home and may miss the social interaction that traditional work patterns provide. This is where co-living comes into play.




Pros And Cons Of Co-Living


Both co-living and co-working have a strong social element. Co-living arrangements can help tackle feelings of isolation which can be common in young adults as well as in the elderly. Convenience and accessibility are other benefits of co-living: a study found these developments are usually located within walking distance of public transport, which is convenient for older residents who may not be able to drive (6). Many co-living developments feature co-working space in the same building, eliminating the need for the dreaded commute. And since these are furnished spaces with utilities included, they can help budget better fixed monthly costs.


Flexible terms another reason why co-living may be appealing, as units are rented out on a weekly or monthly basis. Also, this is a manageable solution for seniors with mobility problems, who aren’t up for housekeeping a large property, or who are familiar with similar living arrangements, such as co-housing.


On the downside, there’s no choice about who other residents are, so co-living isn’t a guarantee of a convivial atmosphere. Also, this arrangement isn’t necessarily cheap, and the most affordable options may have a waiting list.


However, the real question is whether co-living is a natural evolution of the housing market or a response to financial pressures. Some argue that co-living has appeared due to the inability of young generations to secure traditional leases or workspaces. The cost of living -and of housing- keeps rising, but wages and pensions don’t, so sometimes Millennials and the elderly may only have access to lower-priced options, such as shared living space.

Co-living may not only be for young renters and seniors, and eventually it could become an established category within the housing market that appeals to all demographics, including families. For now, the 21st century housing paradigm continues to evolve and it remains to be seen if co-living will take off and become a housing alternative for renters other than Millennials and the elderly.












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