Shared living spaces are booming in major cities as young people seek a more sociable lifestyle, according to the entrepreneurs behind the “co-living” accommodation trend. A cross between student housing and hotels, co-living spaces offer tenants serviced rooms in shared apartments with communal lounges, kitchens and bathrooms. Demand for this type of accommodation – where everything from washing-up liquid to toilet roll is supplied – is soaring, according to James Scott, chief operating officer of London-based co-living developer The Collective.
“In every other industry you’ve got an ownership model and you’ve got a service model,” he said. “The property market doesn’t have that. We realised there’s a gap in the market for this new way of living, which we somewhat coined the name ‘co-living’ to reflect it.” The Collective has already opened co-living spaces in prime locations including Kings Cross and Notting Hill in London, and is working on two more this year.
Scott said the movement reflects how young people, who accept they can’t get a foot on the property ladder, now value experiences over possessions. He points to Uber, rental bike and car services, mobile phone contracts, Netflix and Kindle as examples of how Generation Y are choosing to do away with belongings. “I don’t have possessions anymore, I’m all about experiences and it’s high time that our workspaces and living spaces caught up,” said Scott. “There’s definitely a future based on this whole co-movement.” The co-living trend originated in the USA, where startups like Pure House and Common tapped into a market of under 35s wanting the sociability and convenience of a flatshare but failing to find quality accommodation.
By combining the shared living spaces of a flatshare with hotel services, they developed an upmarket version of student-style housing for adult renters, which interior designer Naomi Cleaver has predicted will be the UK’s next big housing market. “The way that people are choosing to live and work is changing,” said Scott. People are becoming really disenchanted with the rental market.