Ask any young professional working in London what concerns they have for the future and the conversation will inevitably turn to the so-called housing crisis. More and more, young people are accepting the fact that long term renting, rather than home ownership will be the norm. In reality for many, this conjures up images of paying sky-high rent for a room in a shared house often in need of repair with an unresponsive landlord or managing agent.
However, some believe that the solution may be the concept of co-living. Spawning from the success of the co-working phenomenon, co-living may be set to revolutionise how millennials live. The basic idea is that each resident will have a micro-unit - typically around 150 sq ft - built around a shared living space for cooking, eating and relaxing. Moreover some co-living providers, such as The Collective, the company behind the world's largest co-living complex at Old Oak, London, offer the additional amenities of a gym, sauna, concierge and even a cleaning service all of which is included in your weekly rent. The rooms also come fully furnished so you can turn up with a suitcase and move in.
It is not hard to see why co-living along with PRS or build to rent schemes may appeal to 'generation rent' and institutional investors seem to want to get in on the action too. Venture-capital fund Maveron, which has backed the New York based co-living start-up Common, believes there is an 'insanely high demand for reimagining how millennials live in urban environments'.
In June, Common raised $16m in a new venture funding round that included a number of firms. This follows the $7.35m raised by the company the previous year. There is clearly an appetite for co-living with financial backers hoping for rapid expansion and start-up like profits rather than the traditional investments in the real-estate sector, which tend to be a slow-growth market with moderate returns.