Coliving is Here

By on Nov 11, 2019 in News

You’ve heard about coworking, but how about coliving? Now is the time to learn more about this urban rental trend that’s gaining momentum with young renters across the country, including millennials looking to save money by sharing amenities.

Not sure how this trend applies to your business? If you’re a multifamily property manager, you’ll want to keep reading. As the market appears to be headed for a downturn in the near future, flexible leasing strategies could be your best bet to recession-proof your properties and maximize rental revenue.

What is coliving?

Currently, coliving is mostly an urban trend with residents sharing a house, apartment or building. If you’re thinking of the kind of roommate arrangement that is the result of random pairings through online postings, think again. Today’s coliving spaces offer modernized community experiences — sometimes referred to as “intentional communities” — and often include options for more privacy and luxury, such as microsuites.

Residents will usually have a private bedroom and sometimes a private bathroom. Shared spaces typically include kitchens, lounges, laundry rooms, gyms and rooftop areas for social gatherings. And while the experience is not too foreign for renters who’ve shared housing before, coliving spaces are usually cheaper than traditional rentals.

For most coliving enthusiasts, the social connection is important — they don’t want to feel like they’re living in a hotel. The essence of coliving is bringing compatible renters together in one space, with an emphasis on the quality of relationships and experiences over the quantity of square footage.

For single renters new to an area, coliving can provide a sense of community as they get to know their greater surroundings. For cash-strapped renters looking for great amenities or seriously swanky accommodations, coliving is the answer. And for the many young people moving to expensive cities in search of work, coliving provides an affordable way to share desirable accommodations with other likeminded residents.

What is a short-term rental?

Made famous by Airbnb, short-term rentals are just that — limited time rentals for a few days, a week, a month or any number of flexible options to accommodate a wide range of guests. For property owners, short-term rentals provide a compelling revenue stream. For those who travel and leave their home bases for considerable lengths of time, short-term rentals are an opportunity to put unused spaces to good (and profitable) use rather than leave them empty and potentially vulnerable or neglected.

For multifamily managers, short-term rentals and other flexible leasing options could be a lifeline in a slow or ailing market.

What do new renters really want?

As reported by Multifamily Executive, In a 2017 survey conducted by Space 10, Ikea’s research lab, respondents were asked about their coliving preferences. More than 7,000 people in 147 countries gave their feedback. Here are some highlights:

  • People really don’t want to share bathrooms or bedrooms but are fine with sharing kitchens, workspaces, gardens and the internet
  • People were most open to living with childless couples and single women, and would prefer not to deal with teenagers or small children
  • Privacy is a big concern — except for people over 65, who are most worried about having arguments and dealing with other people’s messes
  • People were most interested in living in shared houses of between four and ten people

To the last point above, developers building giant housing towers and skyscraper apartment buildings might be missing the mark for many renters who are interested in the social aspects of coliving.

How do I offer more options?

At the 2019 Maximize powered by NAA meeting, revenue management experts discussed the upcoming market downturn, and how to prepare for it. Embracing short-term rentals for multifamily properties is a strategy to consider in uncertain times. But, why wait?

“Short-term rentals are a revenue stream that property managers should seriously consider, in any market. It’s an opportunity to be flexible with quality prospects who have plenty of options — especially in a downturn. To see if it works for you, testing a short-term rental strategy in a healthy growth market is a great idea,” said Esther Bonardi, vice president of marketing for Yardi.

Ready to learn more? Get the scoop on the next generation of flexible leasing tools including coliving and short-term rentals with RENTCafé Flex.