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Why co-living is creating new communities

20 August 2019
DWF | Join Us
Co-living has been around for many years in different guises, as many developments have common facilities, sometimes as simple as a shared garden. More recently, and perhaps as a result of the ongoing struggles the younger generation faces in getting onto the property ladder, the emphasis has shifted to a  focus on embedding 'community' aspects into these developments.  

Co-living spaces typically offer communal shared spaces such as gyms, lounges and eating/working areas. Conversely, the sleeping areas are often designed to encourage use of the communal spaces. A number of co-living spaces also open their facilities to the wider community.

The first co-living spaces in the UK were built in London. Over the last couple of years, the concept has branched out to the regions with the intention of disrupting the current housing market and providing another perhaps more financially viable option or different way of living for those looking to rent. Financial pressures, along with a greater focus on rebuilding communities in city centres, is driving the co-living revolution in the UK. 

A recent poll by Development Finance Today has revealed that 76% of industry professionals believed that there would be a rise in co-living developments in 2019. Throughout a short series of articles, we will touch upon the different markets for co-living, pricing models, how a co-living development could be set up, co-living across the globe and why it may be an appealing option for investors and developers.


The current status of co-living in the UK

Not only is co-living purporting to be financially viable at a time when getting on the housing ladder is more difficult than ever, but it is also aimed at fighting the loneliness epidemic. There are currently co-living developments in London, Manchester and Birmingham with discussions emerging in Dublin, Leeds and Liverpool. Co-living is often aimed at people who have just started their careers, but could conceivably be attractive to people at different stages in their lives, particularly those who have retired or moved to a new city who wish to live in a home that comes with its own a lifestyle options too.

It is clear that co-living has a more distinctive offering compared to usual residential developments. There are communal spaces such as a yoga studio, gym, art studio and co-working space all included in the monthly price. There is a very modern feel to these developments and the benefits to residents are obvious. 

In London, the co-living market is more developed, attributable perhaps to the higher rents that the capital city attracts and the smaller spaces available for development. Most of the locations have communal gyms, living rooms and some even have shared kitchens and bathrooms. Some go as far as needing potential renters to be approved by a membership committee to ensure that individuals are a good fit with the community beliefs and principles and require a minimum commitment to avoid the problems associated with very short term lettings. 

The concept of co-living is far from the norm today yet those in the real estate sector should be prepared to consider the logistics of investing and developing in this new style of property. It is more than just a different style of studio; it is a brand, an ideal, a new lifestyle for those that buy into it.


By Anita Gupta, partner, and Elizabeth Riddles, associate, in the real estate team at DWF.

Further Reading