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Co-living and Micro-homes

Peter Hemple looks at the growing demand to share, or simply make do with less

There have been many ideas floated as solutions to the lack of available housing in the UK, but the most popular amongst homeowners is to build more co-living developments and micro-homes in urban areas, according to research released in October last year by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

The FMB asked 2,000 homeowners across the UK if there is a housing shortage and if so, how best to address this shortage. Two-thirds believe that there is a shortage of housing in the UK and when asked for views on the most appropriate solutions to the housing shortage, the most commonly cited solution was co-living developments (33%), followed by building more micro-homes in urban areas (31%) and more retirement housing (31%). These solutions were twice as popular as building on the greenbelt (17%).
Getting a foot on the housing ladder is still out of reach for many young professionals, particularly in the larger cities across the UK. Rising rents, large deposits and stamp duty taxes all make it especially hard for young workers to save the money required to buy a home. As a result, co-living schemes are becoming an attractive option for renters looking to pay less rent in exchange for less personal space.

A poll conducted in January by Development Finance revealed that 76% of industry professionals believe that there will be a rise in co-living developments this year. Several new entrants have entered the market over the past year and, while co-living developments will always be popular in expensive markets like London, demand is increasing for them in the regions also, according to Barry Glantz, managing director at co-living developer The Studios24, who told the publication: “Any densely populated city or region could support co-living. However, I see cities such as Coventry, Leicester and Walsall as prime hotspots due to high demand for affordable homes for the young and a lack of supply.”

Three-quarters of those aged 18-44 would consider co-living
A study conducted by the law firm Collyer Bristow, of 424 people aged 18-44 that were living in London and the South East last year, found that while just a very small percentage currently live in co-living schemes, 74% would consider co-living as a step towards home ownership.

Janet Armstrong-Fox, head of private client property at Collyer Bristow says: “Our study found that co-living schemes appeal equally to men and women and, surprisingly, to all ages. Successful schemes work as residents feel that they live in the whole building rather than just one room. That means room sizes can be much smaller when compared to studio apartments. Our study found that co-living schemes are, however, seen as a stop gap measure towards the longer-term aspiration of home ownership.”

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