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  • What the Rise of Co-Living Means for the Build-to-Rent Market

What the Rise of Co-Living Means for the Build-to-Rent Market

20 June 2021 Lucy Brice Read time: 2 min
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Lucy Brice

Billed as “the end of urban loneliness”, Co-Living communities have had a sweeping effect on cities like London and Manchester. Their rise is no coincidence, as renters in these cities crave a sense of community that is often found lacking. But what does Co-Living’s popularity mean for the Build-to-Rent market and the broader renting landscape? In this guide, we’re looking at the impact of Co-Living and what it means for the future of renting.  

A quiet revolution

Somewhere around 2018, the rental market underwent a quiet revolution. As part of the growing number of Build-to-Rent units in the market, Co-Living began to emerge with its part-dwelling, part-hotel, part-office and part-community lifestyle. 

The result was a growing number of city residents finding homes that welcomed them with open arms for the first time. That’s because cities like London and Manchester can be lonely places, despite all the great things they have going for them. 

However, the Co-Living communities that keep popping up offered something different for people living the city life – especially younger renting demographics who are millennials and Generation Z. It spoke to their modern-day living desires and offered them something not seen before in the UK. 

A solution to the UK housing crisis? 

On top of being an outlet for people seeking communal living, Co-Living is billed as a solution to the UK housing crisis. Co-Living homes tend to be more affordable while also offering flexibility not found with traditional renting. 

As a growing number of younger demographics are priced out of owning their own home, Co-Living does so much more than give people a roof over their head. It’s a lifestyle – something younger renters can embrace as our society continues to evolve. With work/living hybrids, the ability to move when it suits the renter, and more interaction with neighbours, Co-Living ticks many of the boxers of renters, and they often prefer the idea of this lifestyle than owning their own home. 

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The beginnings of Co-Living

While Co-Living communities are still relatively new in the UK, they have thrived in countries like the United States and China for many years. The first communities can be traced back to 2012 in China, with it becoming a common set up in the US a few years later. 

Co-Living first rose to prominence in the UK in 2016, though it didn’t really hit its stride until around 2018. The Collective is one of the major Co-Living brands and has set the bar with its communities in West, North, East and central London. 

Pandemic-proof living

When the pandemic hit, many feared for Co-Living. After all, it’s billed as community living, where interacting with your neighbours is highly encouraged. With lockdowns separating everyone, most wondered how this new type of renting would fare in the long term.

It seems that the longer we spend apart, the closer we want to be together. The desire for Co-Living didn’t diminish (even with restrictions), and occupancy rates remained high throughout the lockdowns. 

Why is Co-Living so successful? 

Co-Living’s success lies in its togetherness. People don’t feel like they live in soulless apartments where they don’t know the neighbour's name. Instead, there’s a strong community spirit thanks to regular social events, games’ rooms, residents’ lounges and co-working spaces. 

It provides hotel living with style and charm, something that appeals to younger renters and is bringing them the Co-Living table. As part of the Build-to-Rent offering, Co-Living is an asset to the sector and offers an alternative to the multi-family home concept that has become so popular. Essentially, it offers choice, and the more choice renters have, the happier they will be in their tenancies, leading to longer stays and a better-renting landscape. 

All in it together

Co-Living continues to go from strength to strength and is a true asset to the Build-to-Rent sector. As the world edges back to normal, expect the Co-Living boom to continue with its utopian approach to renting that's providing a better living experience for modern-day renters. 

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