The Innovation of Coliving


Worldwide commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield, wrote a report this year in June on the current environment of the coliving industry. Jeffrey Steele from Forbes, digested this, and wrote about how the future is becoming more innovative with the growing influence of coliving.

The report noted how coliving was increasing in popularity due to it meeting the demands of a crises in the housing and rental market, alongside a growing urban population. The United Nations stated over half of the world’s population (55%) currently live in urban areas, with this expected to increase to over 68%, within just 30 years. Those within the age bracket of 18 to 30 years old, are choosing to start their adult lives in large metropolitan centres at a higher rate than seen before. This is all resulting in an even more competitive living market.

Furthermore, thirty-percent of urban resident’s incomes are being sent to their landlords, indicating rental prices are becoming an exceeding burden. Young adults are dealing with student debts from tertiary education, and the cost of living is becoming higher, yet wages are not rising accordingly. This all makes finding an accessible and low-cost place to call home, exceptionally difficult.

But luckily, it is no longer socially stigmatised to choose renting as your choice of home, and it is also more acceptable to move around, rather than settle. From this, coliving has evolved and the number of coliving spaces seen around the world is likely to grow. Steele said that residents of San Francisco, in the United States of America, are reaping the benefits of coliving. In one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, where one new home is built for every 4.5 jobs created, coliving offers a solution and relief to those searching for a place to live.

Andrew Collins co-founded Bungalow, a coliving space in San Francisco, when he moved back there after attending business school in another city, and found the prices for renting a flat had risen over 80%, while he was away studying. He decided to “revolutionise and democratise” the way we live in cities, redesigning the space of private homes to enable multi-unit housing as rentals. 

This resulted in providing a larger number of housing units to the market in a decreased amount of time with less capital. Furthermore, if you choose to colive with Bungalow, you’ll be spending 30–40% less than if you were to rent a studio apartment. Bungalow spaces also allow you to move between homes within the same city and between different cities, without breaking the lease. Their company is expanding, with Bungalow coliving spaces in 10 markets across the country, with over 500 properties and more than 2,500 individual units within these spaces.

The key is ensuring those in the coliving industry still build their spaces founded on ideas on community, wellbeing, sustainability and accessibility. It could become a problem if coliving areas develop into luxury rental communities, abetting not aiding the problem of rising rental prices.

Do you think coliving could be a tangible and able solution to the worldwide metropolitan housing and rental crises we are facing?