It’s true, coliving isn’t a new concept. We’ve been sharing spaces for centuries all around the world. From boarding houses to dormitories, hotels, and motels – temporary living arrangements have always been around. They accommodate the nomads, newcomers, and transitioning adults among us. So why all the hype about coliving lately?
Nomads are the ones roaming all corners of the world, whether for work or adventure, this group is constantly on the move. Tech has torn down the barriers to roaming. Farther and more frequent flights, data roaming and widespread WiFi access combined with digital infrastructure that streamlines our work and keeps us connected has enhanced our mobility. There’s no reason to be chained to the office anymore. The obstacles to developing your business across the globe are only getting smaller. Even if you’re not working, connectivity has dramatically changed the landscape of travel and tourism. It empowers wanderers with information about local eats, experiences, and transportation. For these reasons, there’s no accommodation arrangement more suitable than a temporary one.
New in town
Real estate is serious business. Both real estate ownership and rent rates can greatly impact a company’s financial success. As they say: Location, location, location! Companies committing to a dedicated space will factor in geographic ease of access, rent rates, cost of doing business, and potential for growth when assessing where to settle (or expand). For these reasons, many large companies have relocated their offices in order to keep themselves profitable. Often, corporate relocation means moving the team as well. Even with a protracted timeline, employees often find themselves scrambling to find their bearings in a new city. The struggle to find a home, set up all the utilities, and other bare necessities overnight can be incredibly stressful. Flexible short term leases provide a landing pad for newcomers which also covers all of their bare necessities to help them acclimatise to their new town.
From temporary arrangement to lifestyle choice
Just as easily, you may find that the coliving stepping stone becomes your new modus operandi. Just as companies scrutinise the financial feasibility of committing to a fixed spot, so do individuals. In the United States, both median asking rent and median asking price for a vacant home increased 36% in the past 10 years. Meanwhile, median income only grew around 6% in the same period. There are reasons the sharing economy trend is taking hold in more than just workspaces and wardrobes. For many people, sharing accommodations just makes more sense than renting or owning. Coliving is a new living arrangement option on the menu of accommodations offerings that is financially sustainable without compromising quality of life.
Especially in cities notorious for high rents, the process of finding an apartment of reasonable rent and respectable living standards can be a real challenge. Beyond accepting the financial adjustment of a higher rent burden, a very important further consideration is compromising on standards of living. A lesser recognised benefit of coliving is that it helps to raise the industry bottom for living standards. By offering lower cost, higher quality living quarters, the coliving industry very subtly raises the floor of acceptable rental units.
The rise of the coliving trend and the hype around it is very understandable. A new option in the real estate market has emerged, and everyone involved is excited. In many ways, coliving is a refresh of the boarding houses from the days of yore. More importantly, it’s elevated non-fixed accommodations from a temporary arrangement to a very feasible and realistic long term lifestyle.