Co-Living – the Affordable Solution for Young Renters?
With high costs of city renting, a lack of affordable housing to buy, and graduates moving house almost as often as they change jobs, could co-living be the economical, flexible way forward for young renters? Guest contributor, Richard, explores the considerations and benefits of this new way of living.
It’s not uncommon for graduates to move around; the current generation moves between jobs like no other, which is mainly due to economic reasons. On average, 18% of the total workforce changes job every 3 years, however, this increases to 42% when looking at Generation Y specifically. Graduates tend to move home nearly as often as they change jobs, whether it is to be closer to work, or moving into more affordable accommodation. But sadly, most graduates don’t have the money or commitment to buy an affordable property, and with the costs of rent continuously rising, some are now turning to a modern housing setup: Co-Living.
You may immediately think of adult dorm rooms when considering co-living, but with more places offering this option for young professionals, the buildings are often modernised and created specifically for a co-living setup, with appropriate amenities such as modern living spaces, a gym and rooftop gardens; more often than not, utility bills and Wi-Fi are included in the set price.
With the struggle of getting on the housing ladder and 50,000 new build rentals completed or under construction currently in the UK, is this the affordable route for grads?
Sharing Space is Essential
Co-living essentially boils down to two key points, saving money on rent and being able to share communal spaces. Being comfortable with living in a home that includes a shared kitchen, living area and more than likely a bathroom, is a major consideration with co-living. So, while you’ll likely get to know these people well, it’s a very different experience when compared to renting a house or flat.
Depending on the particular property you look at, you can generally expect common areas to be stocked with household supplies, from paper towels to tea bags. Modern co-living buildings usually have high-end kitchen appliances and other amenities to help you enjoy the living space. If you’re lucky, properties could even include cleaning services within the rental price.
Ideal for Low Earners
In London, the average one bedroom flat can cost more than £1,000 in rent per month. This is around double the price of what it would cost to live in a co-living space. If you’re beginning a new job which doesn’t pay well, then co-living could be an affordable option while you progress in your career.
Some co-living spaces even include office or working space, so if you have the option to work from home or you’re starting up your own business, this could provide a more sociable solution than working alone or in internet cafés, and a cheaper alternative to renting office/co-working space.
Flexible rental agreements are one of the biggest benefits of co-living spaces. If you’re starting a job that has a difficult probation period, or you have the potential to work away, open-ended leases mean that you can leave with a short notice period, without facing fees and with little hassle moving out.
Attitudes to Life
It has been proven that this generation cares more about their every-day living experiences rather than ownership. Rather than trying to buy a house or own designer clothing, generation Y would rather spend money on travelling, living in the city and going out to enjoy themselves. This attitude also applies to their living arrangements – instead of focusing on what the house looks like, they care more about its location and how it makes them feel. Grads will enjoy a lively inner-city experience rather than living in a ‘nicer home’ further out of the city.
The Modern Way of Living
Having a place to go home that you are comfortable in is key to happiness, and having luxury living amenities can help you enjoy a co-living space. Accommodation and co-living spaces are one of the UK housing markets biggest recent developments, with businesses changing their approach to broadcast the success of this alternative way of living.
Are We Going to See More Co-Living Developments?
Considering the success already seen from co-living flats and houses, there is likely to be a spike in the number of developers offering specially designed co-living spaces. Graduates leave university already well used to shared facilities, and as the system has worked well for years in the student market, developers will continue to aid young professionals needing affordable homes.
For people working away from their hometown and starting at the bottom of their newly chosen profession, finding affordable accommodation is essential. With council tax, utilities and other daily essentials all taken care of within the rental bill, this can reduce stress and make co-living a favourable option for those just leaving university.
It’s worth noting that interest rates are still at a historic low. A variety of ‘Help to Buy’ schemes are available to help first time buyers, making it one of the best times to buy a property, if you can afford it.
About the Author
Richard Meadow is a freelance writer with an interest in housing, commercial property management and land surveying. Richard enjoys writing in his free time and researching current news stories in further detail.