Published on July 27th 2019
What is coliving? Examples from NYC
If you aren’t aware of the coliving phenomenon, it has been born directly out of a lack of other accommodation options. With regular apartments priced too high, or properties that are affordable too far away.
Coliving is often confused with communes, community housing or other forms of integrated living spaces, yet this is a new take on an old idea. Involving people willing to share communal spaces with strangers, and rather than just have ‘roommates’, residents have utilities and amenities provided within the cost of rent and optional extras such as events and community gatherings.
The Potential of Coliving
The rental market for coliving spaces is ever growing, with some reports stating that co-living apartments make more money for the owner/operator per sq ft than regular rental properties.
Some estimations predict the US coliving market is going to triple in the next few years, from around 3,000 available units to well over 10,000.
With maximised revenue for operators and satisfied residents, opening a coliving space could be the golden ticket for anyone interest in Real Estate property management.
New York is a metropolis like no other, it’s unique atmosphere, culture and popularity have been immortalized in countless films, TV shows and books. One of the things these perceptions of the city rarely show is the difficulting in finding suitable accommodation for a reasonable price, or finding accommodation at all. Anyone who has gone through the headache of finding an apartment in NY is acutely aware of this, hence the growing popularity of coliving spaces.
More and more people are asking ‘What is coliving?’ This article takes a look at the most popular (and profitable) coliving companies in NYC to try and work out the formula for success in the coliving world.
There are multiple different companies operating in the NYC area, and each one has a different way of providing a coliving environment to its residents.
With 15 locations to choose from across New York City, (Crown Heights, Williamsburg, Boerum Hill, Park Slope, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Ridgewood in Queens, Manhattan) it’s no wonder Common is such a popular choice for renters.
The cheapest rent starts at $1340 a month and residents are provided with a private room, storage space, desk and other furniture. Essentially residents pay for the room and everything else is provided for you (common area kitchen, bathroom, utilities.)
Members can move between buildings and locations fairly easily and are usually on a 6 month - 1 year rental contract. The option to move rooms easily is a very popular element, allowing ‘Commoners’ to live in multiple locations around the city during their contract. Community events and outings are generally organised by residents themselves and the company intentionally take a back seat in the organization of these events, allowing members to feel some autonomy within their living space.
Quarters is an immensely popular co-living service and claims to be the largest coliving community in the world. They have recently expanded worldwide, and have buildings in New York, split between Lower East Side and East Village.
The concept is simple, you pay a lease for a furnished bedroom and everything else is covered (utilities, housekeeping, utensils laundry). The idea of sharing everything communal with your housemates is the way things go at Quarters, and it works very well.
Apartments range from one to five bedrooms and the community feeling is very strong. Each building has its own coworking space, with plenty of events and networking gatherings to satisfy even the most sociable of co-livers.
Designed for the professional with a little extra disposable income, the ultra refined Dwell coliving spaces emphasise comfort, luxury and functionality.
On average, rent is a little higher than its competitors, but the company estimates that all-inclusive members have access to over $400 worth of amenities, for example: wifi, laundry, cleaning, Netflix, Amazon Echo, olive oil, juice, bread, eggs, snacks and breakfast.
One of Dwell’s standout features is outside space. Anyone who has lived in New York will be acutely aware of how rare accommodation with outside space can be, so this is a big plus point and it allows the company to charge premium prices.
With houses and buildings in locations across New York, Outpost Club has established itself as one of the frontrunners in the industry for customer satisfaction, value for money and prime locations in NYC.
With rents starting from as little as $690, it’s no surprise that this co-living service is extremely popular with those struggling to pay the rent in New York.
A little less refined than its competitors, Outpost Club provides basic accommodation in a laid-back, sociable atmosphere. The aesthetic inside their living spaces is reminiscent of a hostel that has recently been refurbished. Bedroom options include shared rooms- college dorm style and privates. All bathrooms, kitchen and living rooms are communal and for the enjoyment of everyone and the minimum stay is one month, meaning lots of international visitors prefer Outpost Club.
The residents can enjoy weekly events and gatherings designed to foster a community spirit, but the social aspect seems to be less of a priority than value for money.
An interesting take on coliving culture, Roomrs approach the industry a little differently than its competitors.The founder, Or Goldschmidt, saw a gap in the market for young professionals and college graduates who didn’t fit the formula of the average renter. The company quote is “Live Easy’ and what you see is what you get. Multiple locations across the city means renters can choose where they want to live between Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Studios are available, along with one, two or three bedroom apartments. Included in the rent are utilities, bedding, housekeeping, kitchen utensils and community events. Prices are between $1000 and $4000 per month.Applications are super quick and efficient, and renters can move in 24hrs after being accepted into the space.
There seems to be less emphasis on community than other co-living spaces, so this may suit the less sociable residents and the type of real estate owners who don’t want to get too involved.
June Homes, formally Residenz, was recently taken over by a San Francisco based startup . A lot of money has been put into these properties in recent years - and it shows. Potential residents have the choice of five townhouses with one, two or three bedroom apartments in each (a one bedroom apartment isn’t typical of co-living, as not too much is shared). All of the properties have access to an outside area, either decking or garden, thus prices are premium in comparison with competitors. The typical June Homes resident can be anything from a young professional to an international student. A minimum 30 day stay means there is a constant revolving door in larger apartments with people coming and going regularly.
There is however, less of a community feeling at June Homes and the experience is closer to renting a standard apartment.
Probably one of the more stylish places on this list, Node offers elegance, luxury and location in a smart little package. For long term co-livers who have tried other services, this seems to be a popular choice as it ties in all of the fundamentals of Co-living without pushing too many unwanted extras.
The Node premises are made up of five Bushwick townhouses and potential renters can have a detailed high resolution video walk-through before they apply.
The company provides a NY ‘community curator’ to assist residents in fostering a positive atmosphere, planning events and generally being a go-to spokesperson for Node.
Coliving has been described as many things: private apartments with hotel features, adult dormitories, coworking spaces with beds.
The names may differ yet the industry thrives. Thanks to its popularity and success in New York, other cities, countries and companies are taking notice.
According to a report by the real estate firm Curtis and Wakefield, the factors determining the growth in coliving include higher rents for standard inner city property, more competition and less affordable housing due to the airbnb culture. The generational shift that has led to an ever growing network of remote workers has led to the coworking phenomenon, and this in turn has developed into a living solution as well.
Co-living is (and should be for years to come), a serious contender for those involved in Real Estate Property Management. The new kid on the block is turning heads and changing the industry from within.