Co-living is not here to stay – Lee Chandler

More developers in the last three years have put their money into co-living developments in urban areas. In co-living, residents live in a furnished apartment with others in which each person has their own bedroom and shares both common areas and amenities. This is basically off-campus upscale student housing but with a target group of single young professionals, who are at an age not far off from undergraduate students. 

Todd Rosenberg, a proponent of co-living developments and co-founder of Pebb Capital in Boca Raton, thinks that the demand for co-living will persist past the CoVID-19 pandemic, as “it enables residents to enjoy a sophisticated lifestyle at an achievable monthly rent level through smaller unit sizes” (San Juan, “Rosenberg: Co-living will continue”). On the surface, Rosenberg’s claim makes sense, as many believe millennials have a more dire financial situation than other generations, and thus a greater number of them choose to stay single and opt for co-living. 

However, this will create an excuse for landlords to increase prices of co-living by making amends to crowd people into tinier apartments. Also, as more people look for work in urban areas, it leads to more consumers and thus price increases. However, the co-living developments do not address the problem of social isolation because a person cannot choose their roommates and thus must live with strangers, who potentially could cause conflict within the apartment. Also, people might not even look for co-living apartments in the first place because of their existing relationships, or they may find it more appealing to live in suburban areas with lower rental prices. 

Other proponents of co-living apartments claim that the marriage age now is much higher than a few decades ago. But, Elliott, Krivickas, Brault, & Kreider (2012), when discussing the marriage age of people, note: “for men, the median age in 2010 was only 1.9 years higher than 1890 and 2.1 years higher than 1900” while “the median age at first marriage for women in 2010 was 3.2 years higher than in 1890 and 3.4 years higher than in 1900” (p. 11). The claim that nowadays more people opt to stay single for a much longer period of time is exaggerated. While people are marrying at an older age, the difference is not substantial enough to support that claim.

Additionally, areas hit hardest by CoVID-19 include urban areas, which by definition have a high density and the highest homeless population. As a result, people will become more conscious about their health and will not want to live in an overflowed apartment with strangers who most likely live in unsanitary conditions. Furthermore, living near a work location will not be as necessary for workers in professional services because working from home will become more prevalent in the future due to technological advancement. Technology’s most fundamental impact to people is social isolation that will make them feel comfortable with less socialization, even though they will have some craving for more social life. 

 

References

San Juan, R. (2020, June 12). Rosenberg: Co-living will continue. Expect more outdoor space and fewer shared kitchens. Miami Herald. Retrieved from https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/real-estate-news/article243460996.html

U.S. Census Bureau. (2012). Historical Marriage Trends from 1890-2010: A Focus on Race Differences. [Paper submission]. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/working-papers/2012/demo/SEHSD-WP2012-12.pdf

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