Coliving A Growing Trend
Coliving is the millennial’s answer to having your cake and eating it, too—at least in terms of housing. It typically refers to communal-style living, particularly in urban areas, of like-minded or similarly-interested people. As housing costs soar and the current population of younger would-be homeowners has shied away from taking on mortgages, the coliving trend continues to gain momentum as a viable and thriving alternative – especially for untethered digital nomads. Offering rentals from a few days to several months, coliving spaces normally bridge the gap between a hotel and an apartment. Most rentals are fully furnished with access to standard housing features like communal kitchens and either shared or private bathrooms. Options for coliving spaces range from dormitory-style to upscale depending on the housing stock available in a given city and your budget. The majority of current selections cater to the younger set of travelers and working professionals looking to embrace a new sense of family in whichever city they choose to settle. The shared responsibilities and interactions produced by a coliving setting create unique opportunities for camaraderie and cooperation. The ready and stable nature of these setups allows for easy transitioning into and out of a given dwelling—or city—with ease. Coliving spaces tout an instant network of friends and an all-inclusive format that doesn’t demand the time or startup expense that is often required when moving to a new city. There’s no need, for example, to start utilities in your name or coordinate purchasing or moving your furniture. That’s already taken care of, so you can hit the ground running. Some coliving properties are independently run while others are managed and built or refurbished according to an ever-expanding portfolio of corporately branded coliving facilities. Properties run the gamut from high-rises and renovated brownstones in New York to a 16-bed rural farmhouse community outside of Bern, Switzerland. Set your parameters and search; you may well find just what you’re looking for.
Guide To Coliving Spaces
There are a variety of spots to start your search for coliving units. Here are a few platforms to check for coliving situations, especially in major metropolitan areas along the east and west coasts:
Coliving.com is the Airbnb of coliving. Plug in your desired location, budget, and dates, and the site will list available options. It includes private coliving situations that may be a couple of units run by a collective all the way to multi-property coliving brands with offerings in multiple cities. Coliving.com also allows you to dictate whether you want a shared room or private space, as well as what specific amenities you want from your space. This gives you a simple way to gauge the typical prices and provides a comprehensive view of the options available in the city of your choice.
Although Ollie now offers only two coliving spaces, one in New York City and one in Pittsburgh, it plans to open new locations in Boston and downtown Los Angeles as early as next year. Each Ollie property is all-inclusive, with an emphasis on trendy spaces in hip neighborhoods. You can search availability at a given property, view floorplans, and peek at the amenities. Ollie runs closer to the hotel side of the coliving spectrum with a weekly towel, linen, and housekeeping services, along with regular community events. Prices vary on whether you’re willing to share a room or want an apartment-style space.
Common has a handful of properties in several major US cities including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, and Washington, DC. They offer fully furnished private rooms within a suite-style setup that place a strong emphasis on inviting and unique common areas designed to encourage interaction. Utilities and weekly housekeeping are included, and most of your basics like soap and paper towels are replenished for you. Transfers within the Common system between properties are simple and encouraged. The company boasts that it can move you in and get you on your way in 30 minutes.
The Collective offers coliving experiences at three properties. Two are in London—Canary Wharf and Old Oak—and the Paper Factory location in NYC will open by September 2019. You can rent rooms at each site much like a hotel with daily, weekly, and monthly prices. The amenities and available length of stay depend on the property. To promote a cohesive environment through cultural programs, The Collective offers activities such as family-style dinners and morning rooftop yoga classes. Its trendy, sophisticated vibe is geared towards wellness and community.
The Outpost Club
This club currently has coliving properties in New York City and San Francisco. Private and shared rooms are available in dwellings repurposed as coliving facilities. Each renovated abode maintains its local charm and is fully furnished in a unique style, reflecting the architecture and locale of each space. Outpost Club rents include all utilities, essentials, and housekeeping services. Each dwelling also has a house leader and sponsors occasional community outings and events. The rates are quoted on a month-to-month basis with discounts for pre-booking longer stays.
Many coliving facilities are fully self-contained. The rent at these spaces normally covers all utilities, including high-speed internet. Some of the more premium properties also offer housekeeping (including linen service) and cable TV. In dwellings that are purpose-built for coliving, gyms are often available, too. Each coliving space promotes their shared spaces differently, but they all feature a central highlight. Most have fully-stocked kitchens and well-appointed and inviting living areas. Some even offer dedicated coworking spaces and highlight their ability to expand your professional network. A few coliving platforms tout their “house leaders”—that is, onsite staff members ready to ease your transition into a coliving space and coordinate events and activities. Depending on the level of engagement and interaction that you seek, most coliving facilities offer community-building activities, but the frequency and type vary widely.
How Does Coliving Differ from Standard Housing?
Coliving is like plug-and-play housing. You pay for the convenience of stepping into a living situation that is ready to go, replete with furnishings, utilities, and friends/housemates who are, at least on some wavelength, similar to you. The main distinction between coliving and standard housing is the flexibility and community. There are no annual leases like a typical apartment, providing for rapid entrance and a smooth exit. Theoretically, a suitcase with clothes, your communication devices, and some items to personalize your space are all that you need to thrive in a coliving environment.
What Is The Average Cost Coliving Spaces?
Although coliving arrangements can be cost-effective, the more premium the digs, the more you’ll have to shell out. At the end of the day, you pay for the freedom and convenience of coming and going at will and having everything constantly ready for you to drop in. Pricing depends largely on the city and the type of space as well—private rooms are more expensive than shared rooms with suite-style bathrooms, for example. That said, most coliving spaces offer luxury-caliber rates that are competitive once you include the value added from the comprised amenities; but, they normally run on the higher side of rents in the city. Older, privately managed coliving spaces in more rural areas can run as low as $500 per month, with many of the pricier, corporately managed urban options topping out above $5000 per month at a prime property in a major metropolitan area. Different amenities yield differing price points as an increasing number of available coliving options continue to enter the market.
Are Coliving and Coworking Hybrids the Future?
Some coliving models already include coworking spaces, and many in development have coworking features at the heart of the design. The fundamental idea of coliving, after all, is that the people and the space itself inspire connection and creativity. In San Francisco, for example, the lack of affordable housing in a tech-centric area has led to the development of a coliving space at 475 Bryant. This property will feature many coworking elements throughout the design to effectively eliminate commuting and provide a solution for the current lack of affordable housing. This dual coworking and coliving situation is well-suited for tech companies who might like to use these facilities as extensions of their campus. Enmeshed coworking facilities also serve the young traveling professional who makes up the typical coliving demographic. As a feature of the coliving space, environments that are conducive to work allows the individual to assimilate quickly without losing downtime to finding an auxiliary coworking space or reducing productivity by seeking out a local coffee shop. At present, coliving and coworking models are best geared toward millennials and younger people. As this demographic replaces baby boomers, the coliving trend will continue to gain in popularity.
The rise in coliving has been fueled by the needs of a dynamic generation looking for better alternatives to traditional means of housing. Whether coliving evolves to accommodate older residents or become more sustainable and home-like, remains to be seen. Regardless, it is a growing opportunity well-suited to people who desire freedom, socialization, and convenience, and are willing and able to pay the price to access its advantages.