Although co-living is unknown to many people and even some local authorities, to others it is a well established form of renting, especially in the larger cities within the UK. This is largely due to the housing shortage in these cities where land is scarce and what land there is, comes at a premium. Co living developments are quite established in London, with a number of developments throughout the capital but now other large cities in the UK are following suit. The trend for co living has grown for the past decade but is now being seen as maybe an answer to the severe housing shortage within the larger cities within the UK. The reason that it is becoming so popular is due to the all inclusive bills included in the one monthly payment, a major plus point in these current times.
London jumped upon the idea of co living a long time ago and has since developed many co living buildings throughout the capital. London needs co living developments more than any other city within the UK, it has a chronic housing shortage and is the greatest challenge facing the city in 2023. Whilst London has opened its arms to big business, creating amazing jobs opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people, it hasn’t built the homes needed to house the people that it attracts. This leads to people either not being able to afford the extortionate London rents or end up renting affordable but totally unsuitable housing.
London desperately needs high quality affordable homes in inclusive neighbourhoods and is part of the Mayor of London’s plan for tackling the housing crisis within the city. Co living can offer Londoner’s the opportunity to reside in high quality purpose built buildings that are affordable as bills and amenities are included in the monthly rent. Around 29% of all of the properties within the capital are rented but there is still a huge shortfall. Young professional Londoners’ simply will not have the opportunity to get onto the housing ladder, it is something that is simply unattainable and so they have no other option than to rent. Therefore, it is no wonder why there is such a demand for co living developments within London, offering Londoners affordable high quality accommodation whilst also offering them a chance to feel part of a community. For decades London has been seen as a lonely place for young people starting out in their careers but co living developments create a sense of togetherness for all residents, allowing them the opportunity to have their own space when needed and the chance to mix with likeminded people when social interaction is craved. Co living will help to meet the demand for homes for those young people who simply cannot fathom the idea of owning a property within the capital anytime soon. Co living developments will play a vital role in housing young people in London and help towards the housing supply.
Whilst London is at the forefront of established co living developments within the UK, Manchester is following not so far behind. Developments are located throughout the city and the city is fast becoming known as the co living capital of the North. At the beginning of the pandemic some of the large co living developments were being rejected by Manchester City Council but after a few rejections they have now embraced this new form of alternative living. Manchester, like London, has a severe housing shortage, in fact rents within the city between 2014 and 2019 rose by 37.8%. Manchester has one of the highest graduate populations within the UK and the council would like to retain them within the city. Therefore, the council needs to increase its housing percentage and co living is an excellent way to do this. The third quarter of 2022 saw the lowest rate of available rental properties than ever before and as a result rents are spiralling across the city. Co living London seems an apt choice for many young renters because it is an affordable rental option compared to what is actually available elsewhere within Manchester. Over the past year rents have increased by over 20% in central Manchester, Trafford and Salford and with the population of Manchester increasing year on year, the council desperately needs to do something about the housing shortage within the city and co living could be the answer.
Another city where rising prices and a shortage of rental properties is creating a housing shortage is Exeter. A university city that has a thriving student population is also popular with the second home buyers community, all equating to the housing shortage within Exeter. As a result, the city council has begun approving co living developments within the city to offer affordable rental accommodation to the young professionals here. The leader of the council Phil Bialyk agreed that the concept of co-living is good principle and therefore Exeter will probably see more co living developments spouting up around the city, which can only be a good thing when 58% of the housing stock is let out to students during term times. Co living developments will release these houses back onto the market for families and allow young professionals to live in a purpose built development that offers them a sense of community and a place that they can really call home.
Another city council that has begun giving the green light to co living developers London, allowing developers to establish their brand there, is Guildford. Typically seen as an expensive place to rent, Guildford has a chronic housing shortage and the demand for affordable housing in the city must be tackled. Guildford Councillor Tony Rooth stated that Guildford needed to supply more affordable smaller properties if it was going to address the housing shortage within the city. Therefore co-living within Guildford will work well, rents are notoriously high here but co living offers its residents an affordable option to the traditional rental route. With the all bills included aspect of co living, renters would be safe in the knowledge that they would only be paying the one bill every month, unlike other renters in Guildford. Guildford is an expensive borough with a costly rental market, co living is an affordable option here and has now established itself as one of the leading co living cities within the UK.
No doubt many other UK cities will follow suit when it comes to co living becoming an alternative to the traditional rental option. As more and more council include co living into their housing policies then local authorities across the country will see co living as a solution to meeting their housing supply, providing their cities with high quality affordable developments that offer a sense of belonging and community like no other when times are extremely difficult and the country is facing a cost of living crisis like no other.