You’re Probably Living The Biggest Trend Of The Future Without Knowing It
If you’re living with roommates, you might actually be ahead of your time. In a world in which the cost of living continues to rise while wages remain largely stagnant—and people are waiting longer and longer to settle down to start families—it’s become increasingly unaffordable for most millennials to live alone. So, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the newest trend in living spaces is collaborative, with multiple people sharing common areas, duties, and costs in what most resembles commune-style living. This solves for two problems increasingly faced by our generation—the first is financial, and the second pertains more to the loneliness that results from remaining single for the better part of a decade or more. Here, 6 co-living companies paving the way for what may just be the lifestyle norm of the future.
Open Door is based out of San Francisco, where the modern concept of co-living in the U.S. first began. The company's website boasts lofty ambitions, but ones that ultimately make a lot of sense for millennials: "Mainstream housing products are based on antiquated notions of hyper-individuality, consumerism and the suburban American dream. We envision housing that honors the needs of individuals, while also optimizing for our fundamental need for community and social interaction." Open Door purchases homes and then rents them out to individuals who want to live and work collaboratively. What's the difference, then, between Open Door and any other real estate company? Arguably, it's in the curation of its residents. "We are in the business of human experience—curating communities and cultural containers that enable a lifestyle rich with purpose and connection." Average rent for an Open Door resident is $1000/month.
Roam takes co-living to the next level by incorporating another millennial trend into the mix. As more and more of our generation commit to freelance work as a way of life, Roam hopes to enable them to move about the world freely by offering one lease that includes access to global properties. So, if you sign up for Roam, you'll pay $1800 a month to live in communal spaces in Miami, Bali, Madrid, Buenos Aires, and London.
Common is based in New York City, another metropolitan area with exorbitant rents and an abundance of single millennials lacking deep roots in the city. Like other co-living companies, Common's spaces offer furnishings and other amenities in exchange for the sharing of household duties with strangers. As the New York Times put it, "The company solves what it calls “the tragedy of the commons”—waiting for the cable guy and hiring housecleaners. There’s a chat room on Slack, where members can plan activities, and a “house leader,” who functions a bit like a college R.A."
As with Roam, Common residents pay a membership fee, also around $1800/month, as opposed to a monthly rental fee. This enables them to inhabit a room in any Common home, and while it's not necessarily cheaper than the rent one would pay for a studio apartment in the area, the quality of the home is much nicer than anything available to an individual renter at that price.
Pure House is appropriately located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with plans to expand TBD. To move in, you don't need to pass a credit check, and you can commit month-to-month. Events are frequent and include such things as life-coaching sessions and storytelling nights. Rent runs from $1395 to $1950 a month and includes utilities plus perks such as regular cleaning and fresh juice.
WeLive was recently launched in Manhattan and Washington D.C. by the founders of WeWork, a successful co-working company with shared office spaces all over the world. Membership to WeLive allows you to inhabit its co-living space for a night, week, month, or longer and includes a furnished bedroom, access to all building amenities including a yoga space and a chef's kitchen, community events, and even a concierge. Rents start at $1375 per month and, like other co-living spaces, there are no credit checks involved.
LA's first foray into co-living is called PodShare, and it's decidedly less glamorous than its SF and NYC counterparts. At PodShare, you rent a murphy bed in a room full of murphy beds, which turn into desks in the daytime. It attracts a slightly more transient clientele than do other co-living companies; however, it's also averaging a 92% occupancy rate, so it's definitely fulfilling a need in a city where housing costs are rising. Rent is $40/day.