With a quantum leap in the number of people moving to cities for work or education, prices for rental housing have shot through the roof. With affordability being a problem for the young, the concept of co-living has caught on in cities such as Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi. Co-living is a new take on an old idea, invented to cater to the housing preferences of millennials.

What is it?

Co-living is a modern form of housing in which individuals with similar tastes and lifestyles opt to live in a common apartment or building, while sharing common facilities. They may be brought together either by the owner of the building offering co-living facilities, or a specialised co-living firm.

Co-living options in India are springing up in metro cities close to office hubs. Individuals who come to metro cities looking for work or education prefer to live close to their office or institution. For instance, the key areas in Bengaluru such as Bellandur, HSR Layout, Electronic City and Mahadevapura have seen a spurt in co-living options. The Indian demand for co-living is being driven by high prices of real estate, increasing number of digital nomads and solitary lifestyles, which lead people to seek the company of like-minded folk.

Why is it important?

The concept of co-living relies on the fact that a working individual typically spends close to 9 hours a day at his or her workplace and less than 30 minutes in the kitchen and living area. In co-living, areas such as kitchen, utility space, lounge area are shared as common areas of among residents, with each resident allotted a private bedroom and bathroom. This helps share utility bills with other residents, bringing down the rental cost per person. Co-living not only brings down costs, but also ensures privacy and security. Consider Bengaluru, one of the most sought-after places for work and education. In the Whitefield area, an employment hub, a residential rental unit costs around ₹24,000 to ₹31,000 per month, this is excluding electricity, water and housekeeping. In addition, a resident has to pay 6-10 months’ rent in advance as security deposit. Such a payout would be quite steep for youngsters in the age bracket of 20 to 35.

Co-living is a blessing for such people. The rent amount one pays for co-living not only includes common area maintenance but also includes electricity, water, housekeeping and internet connectivity. The security deposit requirement is usually 3 months or less. You can hire co-living options at ₹10,000 to ₹15,000 per month in Whitefield, according to a report by Knight Frank, the real estate consultant. Increase in co-living could also temper rental price spirals in metros by allowing better utilisation of existing property assets.

Why should I care?

Co-living is a win-win situation for both the tenant and the owner of the house. If you are a new to a city and looking to rent a room, co-living can offer a cost effective, flexible and asset-light lifestyle. Companies such as CoHo, StayAbode, and Stanza Living offer co-living services in cities such as Bengaluru, Mumbai and Chennai. These companies have over 90 per cent occupancy. However, you may not get a room in a locality you prefer given the demand. Co-living spaces are usually suitable for young and unmarried individuals and not for families.

If you are the owner of a property in a prime location, then co-living could be the answer to earn regular cash flows from your property. However, keep in mind that the burden of maintenance of property falls on your shoulder. It is also not always easy to get the required permissions from your housing society to set up a co-living facility.

The bottom-line

If can’t afford renting an entire apartment, co-living may be your saviour.

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