Is Co-Living Really the Next Hottest Trend?

Updated: Jan 9

In the 1960’s, the term “commune” became one of the key buzzwords for young people looking for a unique place to live. It was derivative of “communal living,” where like-minded people gathered together to share living spaces while paring down their expenses. Many communes popped up and often included opportunities to grow their own fruits and vegetables, helping to reduce their cost of living even further.

Today, the term replacing commune is “Co-Living”. There are many different variations of Co-Living; including co-working spaces where people share working space but usually have no professional or financial connections with the people sharing the space. The terms “house hacking” has popped up to describe Co-Living arrangements, and the biggest supporters of this concept are Millennials.

Cost of Living: the Driving Force

When you think of America’s top cities like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago, you think of great restaurants, top cultural attractions and a vibrant workforce. Add to that list exorbitant rents, and you’ll see why Co-Living is becoming a popular option to living alone.

In San Francisco, for example, a small one-bedroom apartment can often rent for $3,000 and more. It’s the same in the other cities mentioned, and there’s no sign that the rents will decrease anytime soon. Rather than settling for roommates that are unknown to each other, Co-Living is often a diverse group of professionals who have unique jobs and work in different industries. Each resident in a Co-Living space is called a “member,” and the goal is to provide a private bedroom for each member and often a private bathroom as well.

Members enjoy many amenities like free Internet, maid services and the ability to make new friends. The friendship aspect is one of the main drivers of Co-Living, as many members are new to the city and don’t have many contacts or friends.

The communal spaces are designed to foster interaction and camaraderie, but are designed on a “human scale,” enabling interaction without feeling like a college food hall. Many Co-Living spaces have two entrances: one that opens into the public spaces, and one that enters into a private area where the bedrooms are located Because of the design, members can choose to interact with others, or opt to be off on their own.

Companies Behind Co-Living

Many have likened Co-Living to coworking. In fact, one of the top coworking companies, WeWork, has added Co-Living to their roster with WeLive. They currently have 3,000 beds in several cities in the U.S., and are having trouble meeting demand. In San Francisco, they received over 300 applications for 9 spaces that were available.

In fact, many Co-Living spaces include coworking spaces as well. The similarities between Co-Living and coworking are based on the fact that you’re able to be around like-minded people and form relationships. That’s a hallmark of Millennials - having connections with others. A strong sense of community is an extremely important part of the equation.

Another big player is called Common. All of their properties feature private bedrooms, with all other common spaces open to all. The homes are fully furnished, feature high-end kitchen appliances, and include basic supplies like pots and pans, coffee, paper towels, soap and other items. Their spaces also include weekly cleaning by a professional cleaning company, and most bedrooms feature an ensuite bathroom.

Currently, Common has Co-Living spaces available in San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, DC, Seattle, Los Angeles, and their largest market, New York City. Other cities and more beds are planned for the company. Ollie is another player in the Co-Living space. They have Co-Living facilities in Manhattan, Long Island, Pittsburgh, Boston and Los Angeles. They feature fully furnished units that includes towels, dishes and linens, weekly housekeeping, high-speed WiFi and cable TV and more. Their approach is to provide hotel-style housekeeping without the hotel feel. Other amenities include workout rooms, lounges, pools and more. </