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5 February 2019 Comments (0) Real Estate

‘Coliving’: community life 3.0

In Brussels, the number of homeowners living in their homes is falling considerably. A situation that means the rental market must reinvent itself. New concepts are emerging. Among them, ‘coliving’. A kind of house-sharing 3.0. Analysis.

Roughly 10 rooms, a large lounge, a lovely garden, rest areas, a gym and other “all-in” services (Internet, breakfast delivery, fees, cleaning, insurance, etc.). In this charming place, in Brussels, community life has been organised through an application. Is a room available… Everyone can choose their future neighbour. Just like Tinder, the 21st-century economy will be one of sharing and new technologies. Offices are already making the most of this: through co-working, spaces and skills are being shared. It was only logical that at some point, housing should follow this movement.

Shared accommodation has been around for several decades in the United States and England and has since become more widespread. It is no coincidence that home sharing is attracting more and more users of all ages and social classes. Indeed, it meets the need of finding housing in large urban areas where supply is scarce and real estate prices are high. It is increasingly difficult for town dwellers, students or young working people to find adequate housing considering market prices and the strain on land in urban areas. Coliving is a partial response to this housing problem affecting generation Y and Z and provides a new form of home sharing with often smaller private bedrooms and larger shared spaces.

A new kind of house sharing?

While it is not a major upheaval, coliving is akin to a hybrid model between traditional home sharing, urban hotels and serviced residences. As a follow-on from house-sharing, coliving arrived in a context where tenants are having more and more trouble finding a house-sharing lease. Coliving brings both a regulatory and customary response to this situation, providing a better framework for ‘shared homes’. Indeed, coliving clearly determines shared spaces and private spaces where a house sharing lease binds the roommates to their landlord without distinguishing between private and communal.

The other small difference is that as offers grow, the idea is to provide a logic of complementary services. Within the context of coliving, each user pays their room according to the hotel model. The lease is for an ‘all-in package’, in other words, an overall accommodation service with the added benefit of conviviality. This is no longer a traditional lease but a new form of accommodation. ‘The classic coliver profile is someone aged between 25 and 40 in a period of transition and who will stay from six months to two years,’ explains Youri Dauber, co-founder of Cohabs, one of the Brussels’ three main players in this sector along with Colive and Ikoab. ‘Hence, the millennium generation happily live together with other age groups.’ Also, at a time of low interest rates and abundant funds, investors are also interested in this alternative product, which offers a better return than traditional real estate assets.

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