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Is co-living the new co-working?

With a global focus on the work/life balance, the co-living trend is becoming more and more popular as it accommodates younger renters with all the benefits of millennial life.

Co-living in Dublin

Co-working spaces have already seen success in Dublin, offering an alternative to people who would’ve previously worked from home or from cafés and public spaces. Following this trend comes co-living – spaces with the same idea to provide a space for separate people to live communally. 

With some co-living spaces such as Node and The Collective recently establishing themselves in Dublin, it looks as though many more might follow suit, especially following the changes that were made to the minimum apartment size guidelines by Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy last year. 

Changes included the removal of the requirement for car parking spaces, an increase in the number of units allowed on each floor, and the change in height restrictions.  

Economic Factors 

The co-living trend stems from economic changes and working trends.

Millennials are seeing different types of working opportunities than those presented previously. They are often short term contracts requiring flexibility for international placements, working from home and travel, with flat wage growth. 

Co-living is the answer to this short term, unpredictable working life. It is also the most cost efficient solution. 

Sociological Factors

Millennial generation prioritises convenience and flexibility.

It is human nature to want human interaction and a sense of belonging, two things that co-living can create. Co-living creates a social circle with minimal effort and no long term commitment – perfect for the millennial lifestyle. 

Is co-living a good thing?

The pros and cons of co-living have to be looked at from two points of view – the landlord and the tenant. 

For the landlord, there is a higher yield in co-living leases than traditional leases. But cons include a high turnover of tenants and non-standard lease terms. Extra expenses to ensure comfortable co-living also occur, as it is up to the landlord to facilitate a communal living experience.

The tenant experiences benefits such as flexibility, convenience and living with like-minded people in similar stages of life. But on the flip side of this, tenants also live in a much more compact space, have comparatively higher rent costs per square foot of space and also must navigate communal living, which may not be the tenants’ cup of tea. 

It’s not for everyone, but for some people, it’s the perfect solution to city living. 

What does co-living mean for developers? 

The task for developers is to create co-living space. A co-living space is quite different from the traditional setup – co-living requires spaces to be used more efficiently and to be more compact.

The spaces would be well-designed communal spaces, alongside ensuite bedrooms. 

It is a totally different market, with totally different needs. 

The Irish Times reported that there is a prospective co-living development, Niche Living, by Richard Barrett’s Bartra Capital who have appealed to An Bord Pleanála against a recent decision to reject its plans for a 105-unit co-living space in Rathmines.

Dublin City Council rejected Bartra’s original plan as “over-development” of the site due to concerns about height and fears it provided a “poor standard of residential accommodation”.

The developer has responded by saying the development was both top quality and more than one third larger than minimum standards.

Is Co-living the future? 

Predicting whether this trend will last is where the struggle lies.

Will huge co-living ventures reap long term rewards for tenants and landlords alike, or will they be another residential blip at the result of a new trend? This is what developers and An Bord Pleanála need to decide before moving forward.