Co-living

Currently a millennial rage – soon to be a baby boomer rage as well?

Co-living is not a commune. It is a new and expanding solution for the many millennials currently moving to urban areas looking for housing, and it is an emerging idea for the future that involves intergenerational living in mostly urban areas. A 2015 report from the U.S. Census Bureau showed 62.7% of the U.S. population living in cities. By 2030 the same will be true for the populations of France, Spain, the U.K., Mexico, Korea, Australia, Brazil and New Zealand. By 2050 it is projected that over 70% of the world’s entire population will be urban residents. Millennials are currently moving into cities in droves. Housing concepts in urban areas must change to accommodate that.

Co-living is a way to ease the cost of living for urban dwellers and improve their quality of life. For real estate investors it increases likely revenue. There is a new generation of co-living companies building shared housing, and co-living is becoming a billion-dollar business.

A start up called Common, which launched its first building in 2015, provides “private rooms and beautiful shared spaces in friendly homes”. They want us to rethink how we live in cities. They currently have shared houses in New York City, the San Francisco area, Chicago and Washington, D.C. The company acts as property manager for each property. Each applicant for an apartment applies for membership. Once approved, applicants can move from one Common building to another. Common’s project in Williamsburg, Brooklyn consists of four 5-story buildings connected to create a 20,000 sq. foot space with 51 bedrooms. The apartments will each have four bedrooms, two bathrooms and one kitchen-living area. There is shared space in the basement and on the rooftop.

Other startups are Open Door and Pure House. WeWork is trying to break into this market with WeLive. We live is currently in lower Manhattan and in the D.C. area. Here is a description of what is offered:

A membership/residence in a We Live building provides beds, couches, towels and linens, fully connected HDTVs, wireless speakers and sensor-regulated environmental controls in each apartment. Also included are premium cable, high speed Wi-Fi and general utilities. Choose a one, two or three+ bedroom apartment. Community areas include a chef’s kitchen, laundry/arcade area, and a yoga studio. There is a full-time concierge and housekeeping staff. There are planned community events. Currently a private studio apartment in the Washington, D.C. area starts at $1,500/month and a four-bedroom apartment starts at $3,700. At this point, co-living is mostly popular among millennials, so it is expected that the four bedroom apartments will be four roommates sharing the rent costs.

The vision for the future is that these shared houses and apartment buildings will morph into communities of multigenerational living. Apartment buildings with shared common space and individual apartment living space sound great to me! I’m already trying to convince our children how fun it would be if we all lived in the same apartment complex!