CO-LIVING – A SOLUTION TO A BROKEN HOUSING MARKET?

22.11.17

The publication of the government’s White Paper – “Fixing Our Broken Housing Market” revealed something of a change of tone, with more emphasis on real estate development for the next generation. At the beginning of the 1960s, the average age of a first-time buyer was in their early 20s according to Home Office statistics. Times have changed and today’s first-time buyers are unlikely to be moving from their parental home into their first owned property. Most will rent a flat, perhaps with friends at first. Many will seek to buy their first property while single and so be relying on one salary rather than two, and few will be carrying or be carried over the threshold by their new spouse on the day they move in. We don’t tend to pick up the keys to our first house on return from honeymoon these days.

But it’s not just the financial landscape that has changed – social mores - being part of a modern, urban lifestyle that values openness with a shift towards a sharing economy, are influencing the housing market too. Take our social media minded Millennials – a much-maligned demographic they may be, yet they’re shaping the future of how we live more than we could imagine. The latest national statistics reveal that more than 8.7million people live in London and this number is set to increase by 12.7% before 2025, with a net migration flow for ages 16-29. The net result has shunted prices higher and higher yet, without a corresponding lift in the quality of accommodation. But now there’s a fresh and innovative solution coming into play in the context of the capital’s housing crisis. Co-living.   

Average rent prices in London stand at £1,564 per month. Co-living property by contrast, will offer shared amenities and quality accommodation starting from £850 per month. One co-living developer, Spaces, explains that it’s aiming to ‘recreate the community spirit of times gone by when civilizations used to live together in the old villages in South America and the rooftop slums of Hong Kong.’  

As urban planning becomes increasingly more sophisticated – delivering appropriate housing, infrastructure and commercial benefit – co-living strikes me as a breath of cool, fresh radical air. Anything that brings more affordable property to market in an incredibly housing crunched city has to be a positive thing – even more so if it’s helping us to ‘re-connect.’ We have Generation Y to thank for that.

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