Co-Living: A Solution to the Housing Crisis | Co-Living As a Potential Solution
we explore the extent to which “co-living” could provide a more affordable route to home ownership in the UK, building on some of the existing initiatives discussed in the previous articles and providing a compelling alternative model of home ownership. This includes:
• Swimming pools
• Laundry rooms
• Cinema rooms
• Car sharing facilities
• Communal dining spaces that can be booked for large parties
• Communal lounge spaces
The costs associated with providing these facilities can be paid for by residents through ongoing service charges. Other co-living models place some emphasis on residents themselves being responsible for upkeep of communal facilities. The sharing of facilities and spaces allows individuals to rent or buy smaller and in turn more affordable homes that would otherwise be the case. For example, having access to communal laundry facilities and a gym reduces the need to have a washing machine or exercise equipment within the living space being bought or rented out. Individuals can gain access to facilities that would be beyond their financial means if they lived alone (such as a cinema room).
Co-living has been discussed through a number of media outlets in recent months – both positively and negatively. Some hail the housing model as a way of reducing loneliness and a “new way of living”, while others speak negatively about the idea of individuals living in small rooms or “glorified student digs” . However, very little of this commentary is based on survey research and an understanding of how the public views this type of living arrangement.
Furthermore, very little of the commentary acknowledges the breadth of existing potential co-living arrangements – in terms of size of housing spaces available and communal facilities provided. Here, we aim to shed more light on the potential of co-living, including through presenting the findings of Opinium survey research commissioned as part of this study. Our analysis suggests that a significant proportion of prospective homeowners have an interest in co-living arrangements – pointing to demand for this type of housing. Specifically, the survey suggests there is interest in a co-living housing offer available to buy (rather than just available to rent), suggesting co-living could provide a viable route to home ownership for some individuals.
The survey findings focus on under 40s living in urban areas, as a key target audience given the difficulties this demographic faces in getting on the property ladder. In addition to survey findings we also explore the current co-living landscape in the UK and elsewhere, to understand the existing diversity of housing offers in this space.