As coworking concepts have disrupted the traditional office landscape, it’s no surprise that coliving has similarly found a home in the multifamily market. Offering shared accommodations with communal spaces and amenities, coliving brands have made their mark abroad and are becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States. The renters of today are looking for next-generation abodes to provide the community, flexibility, pricing, and locations that work for them.
While communal housing has existed as long as people have, demand for modern coliving properties is reaching an all-time high. Coliving communities can be purpose-built or renovated multifamily assets — standalone buildings or a section within a larger conventional multifamily property — designed around unrelated individuals sharing an apartment unit. Residents typically have private bedrooms and share common spaces like kitchens, living rooms, and bathrooms.
As the renters of today are community-minded, coliving offers a promising solution for developers to create a sense of community, a large driver of multifamily retention, in otherwise impersonal multifamily housing. While renters may come for the community, they stay for the amenities. Not only are they decked in stylish decor, many coliving properties are padded with perks like cleaning services, on-site social events, and access to fitness studios, spas, and coworking spaces. Additionally, coliving companies typically offer leasing and move-in flexibility, all-inclusive rent pricing, and pre-furnished rooms — perfect for the on-the-go renter.
Despite the upscale amenities, coliving’s upscale digs come at a relatively affordable price tag and have attracted young urban-dwellers, typically ages 25 to 35. Geographically, coliving communities are largely concentrated in large and expensive urban markets such as New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC and located in the trendy, central neighborhoods that appeal to young professionals.
Current State of the Market
Surprisingly, there were only a handful of coliving properties in the United States just a few years ago, but CBRE Research reports that number jumped to over 5,000 beds in 150 coliving communities at the close of 2019. While the total is still small, the rapid growth represents the phenomenal interest from both the multifamily industry and the renters of today.
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