Lifestyle

Millennials flocking to urban co-living spaces: 'It's like living in a dorm again, but more mature

Millennials are flocking to ritzy co-living spaces in big cities as a communal alternative to traditional housing. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

Millennials are flocking to ritzy co-living spaces in big cities as a communal alternative to traditional housing, MarketWatch reported.

What's the concept?

“It's like living in a dorm again, but more mature. It's great," video game designer and developer Chris McGlade, 24 — who rents a co-living space in New York City called Ollie — told the outlet.

For the most part, residents live in fully-furnished bedrooms and share everything else — bathrooms, kitchens, and living rooms. The amenities are all high-end, and hotel-style perks such as weekly housekeeping, clean linens, and refreshed toiletries are typically included in the monthly price, MarketWatch said. Plus there are often additional community spaces for things like meetings and fitness.

The added attraction? Built-in community

Therapist Elle Bernfeld, 29, has lived at a Common co-living space in Brooklyn since June and told the outlet that experiencing a "sense of community" was a big plus for her.

“I love having an expanded network of friends that I might not otherwise meet," she told MarketWatch.

“We all had a big Friendsgiving," McGlade told the outlet about life at Ollie. "There were probably 30ish people there, and it was cool because it's everyone you know — they are all your friends, because you go to all the [building] events together."

Indeed, "every Common home has community spaces, perfect for a potluck meal, movie night, or book club with your neighbors," its website says.

And at Ollie, residents can "cultivate meaningful relationships and experiences" through the co-living concept, which "reflects the shifting value system of today's renters — values that embrace the quality of relationships and experiences over the quantity of square footage," its website notes.

At another co-living outfit called Node, the idea is to "re-imagine community living where you can connect with your neighbors locally and globally," according to its website.

“We're called Node because it means a connection between people," CEO Anil Khera explained to Moneyish. “Actually knowing your neighbors and doing things together — we have lost a bit of that in society."

The price?

What about the monthly bill? MarketWatch says its fairly decent:

The affordability factor is a big draw, too, which is why you see these spaces popping up in pricey cities like New York and San Francisco. Though you can certainly rent rooms on Craigslist for less, you typically don't get all of the amenities that you would with co-living. Common points out that its NYC spaces rent for $1,650 a month, which includes utilities, laundry, Wi-Fi, housekeeping and supplies; meanwhile, a room on Craigslist might cost about $1,300 (though many do cost far less), but without those perks. And living in a studio in NYC typically costs even more — which Bernfeld says was a big reason why she opted for co-living instead of solo living. “I have lived alone, but I didn't want to spend more for a lower quality of living," she said.

The draw?

According to Node's Khera, “for every project, we have five to 10 times the demand versus what the supply is." In other words, the co-living concept seems to be gaining steam, and there might be a long wait depending on where you want to live.

“The younger generation of renters is looking for Instagram-worthy, full turnkey solutions for housing in an affordable way that embraces urban community living," Khera added.

More from MarketWatch:

That explains why Node opened a new NYC location earlier this year, and will open a new spot in L.A. next month with properties in Toronto and Seattle in the works. And that's why Ollie currently has seven buildings under development, and roughly 50 more in the pipeline; and why Common just broke ground on a Chicago property, will open an LA property in the next few months and its first Manhattan locale next year.

“This could be a gamechanger," Ollie CEO Christopher Bledsoe added to Moneyish. “Other cities look to New York City. They look at what it is doing to fix housing issues. It could become a template for other markets."

This story has been updated to correctly attribute the "Friendsgiving" quotation to Ollie resident Chris McGlade.

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