Residential real estate is an investment area which will offer interesting new opportunities in the years ahead. Shared living will become a major phenomenon, especially amongst young people who cannot afford to buy or rent a property in cities, but don’t want to be stuck in the suburbs. Community environments will offer an alternative way of living; you only pay for your room but share the costs of all other facilities.
WeLive is leading the way in the US, creating shared living spaces for young executives who are unwilling or unable to pay for an apartment. They emphasise community and flexibility, challenging traditional apartment living by creating shared physical spaces that foster meaningful relationships: communal kitchens; yoga studios; arcades. Their mantra is that we are only as good as the people with whom we surround ourselves.
I’m sure this is an idea that will take off in the UK before too long. Old Oak, launched in London in 2016, was once an office complex, but now bills itself as one of the world’s largest co-living spaces, with around 550 beds. Shared spaces and communal facilities lead to a more fulfilling lifestyle, say owners, The Collective.
Like all the best ideas, co-living is not new. Go back to nineteenth century America, for example, where boarding houses were quite common, offering a halfway house between family life and full independence. But it is an idea that has particular resonance with Generation Y, who have grown up with the concept of the sharing economy – if it works for cars and holidays, why not homes too?
In London, where house prices make it impossible for many under-35s to get on to the housing ladder, the attraction is obvious. Shared living offers good quality accommodation at an affordable price, with the bonus of being part of a ready-made community.