Hi, I’m Tate.
I’ve been studying co-living and its impacts on society for years. I truly believe it is the next step forward in property technology and improving housing for everyone, not just the few. Not only does co-living put downward pressure on housing prices due to its efficient use of space and resources, but it’s become a haven for those seeking community where they live.
Learn more about co-living and all that it has to offer in this blog.
Let’s face it, the idea of saving up and buying a home in today’s economy is not as feasible as it once was.
Housing prices have skyrocketed relative to wages, and there are more roadblocks in place than previous generations had. While I’m eager to be proven wrong, I don’t believe a majority of 20-35 year olds have thought, “Hey, I can realistically afford a home in a few years.”
While this may not be true for a large swath of people, it rings true that for many young professionals, buying a house is a “holy grail” or “American dream” moment in their lives that may never come true. But that’s okay. There are larger forces at play when it comes to buying a home and settling down – fluctuating economic changes (i.e. the Great Recession, COVID-19), resource utilization, bank lending programs for mortgages and more.
These same young professionals just can’t do much when it comes to these forces, except hope that by saving up and playing it safe, they too can buy a home. So for many, paying extravagant rental prices is normal, not just in large metropolitan areas like NYC and LA, but even in smaller cities across the US.
This is where co-living comes into play.
Co-Living (or Shared Living) refers to the organization of people around a property for purposes of affordable housing and community building.
The idea has been around for decades, evolving from dormitories to shared communal housing. In the modern world, we’ve gotten used to services like ride-sharing (i.e. Uber, Lyft) and short-term rentals and experiences (AirBnb). We like to call this the “access economy”, and it’s something that’s constantly evolving with changing behaviors, technologies and mindsets.
Behaviors like sharing housing and co-living are becoming the norm due to complex economic reasons like rising rents, student loan debt and more (in addition to the forces I’ve talked about). With migration taking place from larger cities to more affordable smaller ones (places like Raleigh-Durham, Provo, Nashville, Portland, etc.), renters young and old are looking more and more at co-living arrangements (longer term housing, affordable rent).
Co-living provides people with the freedom to choose where they want to live without the hassle that comes with moving; including the stress of finding roommates, setting up utilities and building a community or network in an unfamiliar place.
If the purpose of co-living is to create living situations that are empowering and communal, why hasn’t the housing market tipped toward this movement?
Why Co-living has been difficult in the past
In the past it was extremely difficult to find affordable housing in a place you want to live while also finding great roommates to share it with. Co-living can only be successful if certain preferences match up: location, timing of the lease and roommate compatibility. I like to call this the “Goldilocks effect”.
If these preferences line up, then roommates are able to share homes together, while having the comfort and privacy of their own rooms. But it’s a notoriously difficult problem to solve. However, once solved, [co-living] could end up being the movement that changes behaviors and mindsets in the US – “Maybe I don’t need to live in a luxury place by myself. Maybe I can find community in a co-living home.”
How does Co-Living work?
Co-living works for both sides of the table — tenants and landlords. For tenants, things like affordability, flexibility, included amenities, and a sense of community are a few of the reasons why co-living is enticing. For developers and landlords in the real estate market, co-living presents the opportunity to achieve higher occupancy, guarantee rent and trust that the tenants are their for a shared purpose.
In co-living situations, leases tend to be more flexible, amenities like utilities, wifi and more are included, and people share common spaces (kitchen, living room, backyard). But don’t fret, you’ll have a private room! You’ll also sometimes share a bathroom with a roommate.
What is the co-living experience like?
Co-living isn’t just for people who are artistic or extroverted or need a purpose-driven place to live. Many co-living tenants come from all walks of life, are all professionals in various industries and needed housing. Over the years, I‘ve learned that housing is a deeply personal and complex situation for many people. At the end of the day, most young professionals want to come home to a place that is safe and comfortable, with some socializing mixed in.
Because of this, the co-living experience is what you make of it. After talking to countless individuals who are living in co-living homes, it’s best to put yourself out there and try to find community within your household.
What’s next for Co-Living?
As behaviors change, we’ll start to see more shared living arrangements in cities both big and small. Due to the affordability and built-in community of co-living, I really believe people will congregate to these kinds of living situations. With bigger spaces and cheaper rent, it is more enticing than traditional apartment life.
The story of co-living isn’t over, it’s just begun. I’m excited to be at the forefront of the co-living industry and see it expand to cities across the country. Perhaps it can really change how we live.
So if you want to continue learning about co-living and all that it has to offer, feel free to keep reading the blog.