In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving world, the concept of a “home” is transforming. As we adjust to the new normal of communal living, the ongoing discussion about living in a shared space versus living in a traditional apartment is becoming more and more prominent.
The housing and rental market is changing, especially for young professionals and digital nomads looking for flexible, affordable living options. More people are considering living in a coliving space – communal housing with shared spaces and amenities.
But is coliving better than renting a traditional apartment? How do you decide which is the right fit for you?
Our goal is to provide you with valuable information on both options, allowing you to make an informed decision about what your next move will be. Whether you are a digital nomad or a young professional, understanding the intricacies of these living styles will help you choose the one that best aligns with your needs.
What is the Coliving Lifestyle
As traditional housing norms shift, coliving has emerged as a popular choice among millennials, digital nomads, and startup techpreneurs seeking community. But what exactly is coliving?
Coliving provides housing through fully furnished private bedrooms centered around shared common areas like kitchens, lounges, back rooms and coworking spaces to foster social connections. It’s a structured, communal living space arrangement designed for working professionals rather than students.
While it is true that many coliving residents work remotely, the essence of coliving lies in the sense of community and the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with like-minded individuals. It’s about creating a supportive network of housemates who share similar values and interests, akin to a chosen family. This sense of community is fostered through shared spaces, organized events, and communal activities.
Prime coliving locations, typically found in big cities with growing tech industries and high costs of living like London, San Francisco, Barcelona, and Singapore, provide the ideal backdrop for individuals seeking both a vibrant community and professional opportunities. By splitting rent, utilities, WiFi, service fees and more among members, coliving makes sought-after cities more affordable. In addition, this built-in community helps combat loneliness while facilitating networking.
Coliving Costs and Contracts
A major advantage of coliving is significant cost savings from sharing amenities and spaces with great people. Residents pay one all-inclusive monthly fee covering:
Utilities including WiFi
Access to community events and facilities
Little to no security deposit or upfront costs are required. For instance, in Rotterdam, the monthly fee for a coliving space start at €690. Luxury or custom built coliving with extra services and facilities could go up to €2000+ on average. Prices vary based on location, room size, and included perks.
According to the CBRE Europe Coliving Report, coliving properties go for approximately 20 to 50% less than renting a comparable private apartment in the same neighborhood. The affordability makes expensive cities actually attainable for young professionals and digital nomads.
Coliving companies utilize flexible terms allowing members to depart anytime with 30 days notice. Typical coliving residency spans 4 to 12 months, though many spaces now offer short minimum stays for younger people testing it out. No long-term leases bind you in place, which caters to location-independent remote workers.
Building Community and Convenience
Daily shared meals, coworking sessions, activities, and natural socialization in coliving spaces help build strong communal bonds between residents. In a report published by the Worldwide Coliving Membership (WCM), the Flexible Living Trend Report 2023 found 58% of coliving residents say they’ve developed close friendships, while 71% feel less lonely than living alone. Having a built-in community provides a sense of belonging and aids network growth.
Everything is conveniently handled by coliving companies from cleaning to WiFi to amenities so residents can focus time, money and energy on personal and professional pursuits. Many spaces offer shared facilities and communal areas for tenants like gyms, call rooms, outdoor lounges, bike rentals, community cars, organized events, grocery delivery, laundry services and more. No errands or chores required.
Coliving also enables tenants with flexibility and mobility to easily relocate between spaces domestically or internationally month-to-month – ideal for digital nomads and frequent travelers. Those who aren’t ready to fully commit long periods can test coliving with short minimum stays before deciding.
Potential Downsides to Coliving
While coliving solves housing needs for many, there are some potential drawbacks to consider:
Coliving, by nature, demands a compromise on personal privacy and space due to its larger communal areas and typically smaller private bedrooms with limited storage. Moreover, not all such spaces provide ample room between 25m2 to 50m2, a factor that may challenge those requiring more personal space or a quieter environment, like remote professionals. Consequently, while coliving suits socially-inclined individuals, it may not appeal to everyone, especially ‘homebodies’ who prefer their own space.
Conflicts Between Residents
Personality clashes or lifestyle differences are unavoidable when living in houses with strangers. Compromising and cooperation are critical to household harmony in coliving houses.
Coliving spaces are concentrated primarily in major metro areas, so availability in smaller towns or rural regions is very limited. Even in popular coliving cities, demand often exceeds supply which increases prices and waitlists for vacancies. Not everyone seeking coliving has the flexibility to relocate, so lack of options near them restricts access.
Traditional Apartment Living Benefits
Renting an unfurnished apartment offers unique advantages. With the privacy and control over your environment, you can facilitate living however you choose. You can decorate and arrange your apartment to your taste, and this creative freedom is a major perk. Moreover, long 12-month leases provide stability and consistency for tenants. More overall square footage comes with renting a 1 to 2 bedroom apartment compared to a single coliving bedroom. You can spread out and make use of all the space.
Traditional Apartment Drawbacks
However, privacy and independence in an apartment come with certain tradeoffs:
One of the drawbacks of traditional apartment living is the potential for isolation, especially for those who are new to an area. Without the built-in social community of coliving, it can be challenging to meet people and establish meaningful connections with neighbors. The absence of shared spaces and organized events can contribute to a sense of isolation and make it difficult to form a sense of belonging within the community.
Another tradeoff of traditional apartment living is the sole responsibility for all financial obligations and household chores. When living alone, you bear the full burden of paying monthly rent, utilities, and maintenance costs. Additionally, household chores such as cleaning, repairs, and maintenance fall solely on your shoulders.
Traditional apartment leases often come with long-term commitments, typically lasting 12 months or more. This inflexibility can complicate plans for relocation or changes in living arrangements. Breaking a lease prematurely can result in financial penalties or fees.
Living in a traditional apartment building means sharing walls with neighbors, which can expose you to potential noise disturbances. Loud neighbors or thin walls can disrupt your peace and quiet, making it challenging to relax or concentrate. While there are also noise issues in coliving spaces, established house rules can effectively manage conflicts and maintain harmony.
Key Differences Between Apartments and Coliving
Traditional living apartments
Emphasize privacy through individual units with personal living spaces
Allow freedom to decorate and manage your home
Provide 1-year lease stability once settled
Bear full costs and responsibilities like utilities, cleaning, etc.
Facilitates community via private bedrooms within shared common areas
Requires compromise on shared spaces and decisions
Offers flexibility to relocate month-to-month with notice
Splits costs and household chores evenly among residents
To further navigate and understand the differences between traditional apartment living and coliving, we have provided a comparative analysis below.
This analysis highlights key property features, including community, property privacy, costs, responsibilities, flexibility, property personalization, networking opportunities, safety, location, and sustainability.
Comparative Analysis: Coliving and Traditional Apartment Living
Coliving: Emphasizes building a community and fostering social interactions among residents
Traditional renting: Can feel isolated, but opportunities for community building depend on individual effort and neighbor interactions
Coliving: Limited privacy due to shared living spaces and common areas
Traditional renting: Offers greater privacy with individual units and separation from neighbors
Coliving: Often more cost-effective due to shared expenses, such as rent and utilities.
Traditional renting: Can be more expensive as all costs are borne individually.
Coliving: Shared responsibilities for chores, maintenance, and sometimes bills.
Traditional renting: Sole responsibility for managing chores, maintenance, and bills.
Coliving: Some coliving spaces offer flexible lease terms, allowing for shorter stays or easy transitions between locations.
Traditional renting: Lease terms typically follow traditional rental agreements, offering less flexibility.
Coliving: Limited personalization options in shared spaces, but individual living spaces can still be customized to some extent.
Traditional renting: Freedom to decorate and personalize the entire living space according to individual preferences.
Coliving: Provides netv…-orkingo pportunities through soeial events, workshops, and a community of like-minded Individuals.
Traditional renting: Limited networking opportunities within the apartment complex unless actively pursued.
Coliving: Usually equipped with security measures, such as CCTV cameras, access control, and on-site staff.
Traditional renting: Security measures depend on the apartment complex but may include standard safely features like locks and entry systems.
Coliving: Locations often chosen for proximity to amenities, transportation, and vibrant neighborhoods.
Traditional renting: Locations vary but can also be chosen for convenience and access to desired areas.
Coliving: Some coliving spaces prioritize sustainability and implement eco-friendly initiatives, such as energy-efficient appliances and recycling programs.
Traditional renting: Practices vary but may include green building design, energy-efficient features, or community-wide initiatives.
The Data is Not Available
How to Choose Between Apartments and Coliving
This significant housing decision depends on multiple factors:
Compare total expenses. Include rent, deposit, utilities, furnishings, service costs and fees associated with each option based on the cost and your location.
Are you energized by constant social interaction or do you recharge through solitude? Do you prioritize personal control of your home or don’t mind compromising communally?
Are you planning to stay in your new city temporarily or for a longer period of time? Coliving offers flexibility for both short and long-term stays.
Are you an extrovert who thrives on meeting new people and forming connections? Or an introvert who values privacy and quiet?
There is no definitive one-size-fits-all answer. Carefully reflect on your resources, lifestyle, timeline, personality and goals to determine whether shared or private housing best supports your needs.
Coliving tends to work better for:
Outgoing people who crave community involvement and constant companionship
Budget-conscious individuals looking to reduce expenses
Those staying short-term in a city before moving
Young professionals wanting an instant social circle
Frequent travelers who value location flexibility
Apartments typically suit:
Introverts who need solitude and space alone
People able to pay the higher housing costs
Long-term residents who want to settle down
Creatives interested in customizing their home
Those who enjoy household chores and errands
Tips for Deciding Between Coliving and Apartments
Tour potential spaces and chat with residents about their experiences first-hand
Reflect on your social personality – do you recharge around others or alone?
Consider your timeline in the city – temporary or long-term?
Weigh which amenities are essential to your lifestyle versus those you could compromise on
Envision and compare a typical day in each living arrangement
Start with short monthly stays if undecided before committing
Make a pros/cons list based on your needs and preferences
Trust your intuition about which environment would make you happiest
Every journey is unique, but learning from others’ stories provides a helpful perspective. In the end, focus on which option best caters to your goals and lifestyle needs based on who you are.
The Choice Ultimately Comes Down to Personal Priorities
The optimal housing option is the one catering to your unique needs and desires. Carefully reflect on your resources, lifestyle, timeline, personality, and goals to determine whether shared or private housing best supports your needs. With this self-understanding, you can find the residential situation that enriches your life.
The Citylifer Perspective
At Citylifer, we are dedicated to cultivating a community that is both diverse and inclusive. Our model embraces a broad spectrum of individuals, catering to a range of preferences with our flexible accommodation offerings that span short to long-term stays.
Recognizing that our potential residents harbor a rich variety of personality types, including those who are more reserved, we’ve thoughtfully crafted our spaces to balance vibrant social interaction and personal solitude. Our shared areas and family rooms are designed to naturally foster connection and camaraderie, while our private apartments offer a sanctuary for relaxation and personal space, ensuring every individual can find their own comfortable niche within our community.
While we strive to accommodate a wide array of preferences, we acknowledge that The Citylifer might not be the perfect fit for everyone. Our prime locations are nestled in the vibrant heart of bustling cities, offering an energetic and dynamic living environment. This vibrant urban setting, however, means we can’t offer the tranquility found in more rural settings.
Furthermore, while we welcome a diversity of personalities, including those who are more introverted or shy, we encourage a basic willingness to engage with the community. The Citylifer thrives on a spirit of togetherness, a place where like-minded individuals can come together to form a harmonious community. As such, if forging connections isn’t something that appeals to you, you might find a more suitable home elsewhere.
That said, you don’t need to be the life of the party to find your place at The Citylifer; we champion all forms of connection, be it a warm smile in the hallway or a casual conversation in the communal areas. It’s not about being a pace-setter but about being open to the enriching experiences that community living can offer.
Join us at Citylifer, where you’ll find more than just an apartment; you’ll find a home woven with connections, brimming with potential friendships, and a space that respects and celebrates your unique individuality.