If you visited the internet in the last few years, you’ve probably read an article or two about coworking. However, there’s a new kid in town called co-living, which is the housing equivalent to coworking. This new trend is experiencing huge growth, especially in big cities, offering a great new solution to affordable housing. Young people all around the globe are embracing this way of life and reaping the benefits co-living offers to their personal and professional lives. While this concept might seem totally foreign to you, co-living is a great way to find a community that will embrace you and make you feel at home. So, why is co-living popular?
What is co-living?
Simply put, co-living is a trend of sharing a living space with many other people often while working and interacting with each other. Co-living spaces are usually owned by companies that recognized the need for affordable housing in big, expensive cities people are moving to in search of a better life. This type of housing offers a very familiar atmosphere because it’s aimed at people who wish to create a network of like-minded individuals around them. Most residents have shared interests, values and philosophies.
Just like coworking spaces, co-living has openness and collaboration in its core, so it’s not unusual to have communities with similar values sharing one co-living space. The housing itself is an example of the sharing economy. Usually, residents have their own rooms (bedroom and bathroom) but common areas like living rooms, game rooms, kitchens and dining rooms are shared. When it comes to finances, all the expenses are shared between residents, which makes this a very affordable way of living. The price of a room will depend on your location, but it’s always cheaper than renting an apartment in a traditional way.
And don’t even start imagining a hippie commune or a classic student dorm. Co-living is designed to fit young, ambitious working professionals in the city. While it has the potential to work anywhere, it’s still solely an urban settlement phenomenon.
Why is it popular?
Communal living isn’t a dream many people have, so why is it so popular today? Here are a few benefits of this type of living that attract plenty of interested parties:
While young people today are hard-working and full of ideas, wages are still rising too slowly to keep up with sky-high rents in big cities. This makes it practically impossible to live alone. So, young people have two options: live with their parents or join some sort of shared economy system—a big number of individuals choose the latter. Many experts thought that the improvement in the job market will cause the number of people living with their parents to fall, but that’s still not the case. Wages have yet to rise significantly enough to allow people to live alone.
It’s practical and comfortable
Co-living also offers people a way to experience amazing amenities and plenty of luxuries they couldn’t afford otherwise. For instance, let’s take a look at serviced apartments for rent in Hong Kong which are known for their Instagram-perfect décor. Their private rooms are all equipped with luxury furniture and cute decoration. And you have a top-of-the-line kitchen and dining room at your disposal, together with greenery-filled roof perfect for afternoon relaxation (these are shared spaces). Unfortunately, it’s really hard for a regular Millennial to afford something like that if they want to live alone.
It allows savings
Also, there’s an issue of student loans. Student loan bills are at an all-time high, which is why many Millennials struggle with their financial situation. Seven in 10 seniors end their education in debt (about $30,000 per person) which is too hard to pay off without several years of hard work. This resulted in some defeating results: the homeownership rate for Millennials is lower than that of Gen X and Baby Boomers at the same age. Young people are also having kids later in life, which means there’s less of an impetus to buy a house even if they can afford one.
It prevents loneliness
Many co-living spaces also offer engaging amenities filled with interesting people. While some communities usually house people who choose to separate themselves from the rest of the residents, co-living spaces encourage interaction with like-minded individuals. Many young people love to spend time with others, and co-living spaces offer just that—an opportunity to open your door and start a conversation, friendship and even business partnership with someone. It also provides people with a sense of belonging even if you’re in a completely foreign county. Just imagine moving to a new country alone and you don’t know anyone there. Well, co-living creates an instant community so you can socialize and create connections as soon as you arrive. That’s why digital nomads are so keen on the idea since they can feel a lot less lonely living in such communal conditions.
It allows easy traveling
Digital nomads also love co-living for other benefits it provides. For instance, you don’t have to worry about mortgage while traveling. It also provides great flexibility, so you can move from destination to destination without any sort of anchor. In most traditional apartments, you need to sign a one-year lease, move your furniture, set up utilities and then renew your lease next year. With co-living, you can have no lease or a minimal-commitment lease. Security deposit is also often left out and you can forget about setting up utilities. Additionally, most co-living spaces are already furnished, so you don’t have to hull your furniture across the country and spend money on movers or new things. Plus, if there’s a practical coworking space nearby (and there usually is) you can experience enhanced productivity and get plenty of new ideas from your many living companions.
According to research, less than one in three Millennials under the age of 25 owned a house and this number is almost 10% lower than in previous generations. Young people are delaying becoming property owners as much as they can, so they gravitate towards co-living. The shared economy provides young professionals with the freedom to pursue their dreams and work on their growth before they settle down. So, co-living today is popular not just because it’s an affordable housing model, but it’s also a solution for many problems younger generations face.