Coliving is an affordable and flexible housing arrangement, which is steadily on the increase in Europe. But what is it exactly?
There are two different types of coliving arrangements commonly found:
1. Several unrelated individuals would share a space. For those who have lived in university dormitories in a communal space, this is a familiar concept.
2. A group of unrelated people who purchase property together to be used as a shared residence.
This blog focuses on the first type of coliving – individuals sharing a space. What sets coliving apart from dormitory living or buying a house with your spouse, is that often the residents are brought together through a shared interest, such as travelling.
This communal style of living is popular because the coliving contracts are more flexible than your standard and formal rental contracts. For example, if an expat wanted to stay in a country for a week only, or a university student requires accommodation for just a few months, coliving would definitely be a viable option for them.
The biggest benefit to coliving is the fact that it makes integrating into the new community an easier process. This is especially helpful to expats or backpackers.
Coliving is also proving to be a sustainable housing alternative, particularly in the face of the housing crisis, but that’s not the only benefit to the shared space environment and arrangement.
Here are some of the benefits that coliving provides:
Many coliving spaces come fully-furnished, allowing you to move in without the added strain of having to furnish. As you are renting just a room as opposed to an entire apartment, you are excluded from the responsibility of paying a security deposit.
Another benefit of coliving is the independence it allows a person who recently moved to or is travelling to a new city or country.
The contracts are often flexible, making it easy to terminate a contract and find another space to live. You can maintain privacy in the coliving space, while being afforded the freedom to explore a new area.
A sense of community
As mentioned earlier, many coliving spaces are created for individuals who share a common interest. This can be anything from a business related activity, to travelling or being part of a sports club.
Living together in a shared space creates a way for people to bond and forms a sense of community with common interests. Whatever the interest may be, a shared sense of community on the whole, can help prevent individuals from feeling too isolated and lonely.
Why is coliving so important in Europe?
Currently Europe is experiencing a housing crisis. Rental rates are continuously increasing and very few affordable housing options are available. This is particularly difficult for low and compensated income households.
Additionally, since the beginning of the pandemic and throughout various lockdowns it has been proven that loneliness has dramatically increased.
Coliving is the only option that can effectively address the issue of the psychological effects of loneliness, whilst mitigating the financial strain a common rental contract creates.
Coliving is an affordable and convenient option for many people, ranging from large families to singles.
Different types of coliving spaces in Europe
Coliving houses each offer their own set of benefits and unique styles. This differs from region to region. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options.
In Spain, some coliving houses allow you to disconnect from the digital world and experience rural life in the mountains. Others are focussed on developing professional and personal skills by housing people who work efficiently together on a project.
If alternative city life is more to your liking, there are alternatives that allow you to immerse yourself in the local culture.
In picturesque France, you can take the opportunity to work in a beautiful chateau and experience its rich and exclusive history. If this is not your “style”, but you still want to experience life in rural France, there are coliving options in the French Alps too.
As in other areas of Europe, there are many urban alternatives available in France as well.
For the adventurous, Switzerland offers digital nomads and expats a beautiful area to work and live. One can rent a room in a chalet in the Swiss Alps, allowing you to experience nature at its finest, while working remotely.
Now, knowing all the benefits coliving has to offer both individuals and groups, would this be an option to consider for in the future? Either for short-term exploration or as a possible revenue stream, the benefits are limitless/endless and one thing which is for certain about this new way of sharing space, is that it is definitely here to stay.