View of buildings in the city at sunset.


Why Is Coliving So Popular? 5 Key Factors Driving the Demand for Coliving Globally in 2024

The global coliving market hit a value of $13,285.27 million in 2022. While that’s impressive, it’s also expected to grow even further, reaching as much as $63,818.13 million by 2031.

We’ve touched on this before in previous articles, such as in our coverage of coliving statistics and trends in the Netherlands for 2024. Contrary to what sceptics may have said before, coliving hasn’t turned out to be a mere fad. Instead, it’s becoming an increasingly popular housing option. 

Today, we’ll go over the main drivers for its growth. But before we go deeper into what’s behind the rising popularity of coliving worldwide, let’s clarify what it is first.

What is Coliving?

Coliving is a type of accommodation where two or more people inhabit the same dwelling while paying an operator for the privilege. As such, it belongs to the category of rental-based shared living spaces.

There are many different types of coliving, so there may be differing rules and conventions. In general, you can expect coliving situations to involve facility sharing for residents. 

For example, residents may share kitchens and living space despite also having their own (individual) beds and bedrooms. Bathrooms may be included among shared living spaces too.

The Five Key Drivers for Coliving Demand

So, what’s behind the increased interest in shared living spaces like this? Broadly speaking, we can point to five key causes for this development, which you’ll see below.

1. Changing Societal Values

We’ve known for a while now that the nuclear family is over. Even in the US, which has had some of the stoutest champions of the idea, it’s become far less common. 

According to the Pew Research Center, Americans today have more diverse family structures than before. Shifting social norms and circumstances have played a part in that, from people getting married later to couples choosing not to have children.

And these aren’t trends exclusive to the US. Many other countries are seeing similar shifts, including the Netherlands. 

On our own shores, for example, the average age for marriage went from 30 for men and 27 for women in 1950 to 39.1 and 36.4 respectively in 2022. Our fertility rates have gone down too – in fact, this is true of fertility rates worldwide.

Average age at marriage in the Netherlands from 1950 to 2022, by gender

And these shifts have coincided with others like the increasing emphasis on access and experiences over ownership, especially for millennials and other young professionals. 

This is the age of Uber, Lime Bike, GeForce Now, and the like. Basically, people like young professionals no longer need to own things to access the services they provide. All they need to do is rent them! 

Combined with increasingly diverse households and needs, accommodations are changing too. It’s no longer about settling down in one home with the nuclear family. Some now want to live with other families, with other young professionals, in temporary arrangements, and so on. 

Today’s accommodations are moving towards greater variation and flexibility. In light of this, it only makes sense that shared living spaces would become more popular, as they account for both of those better than traditional accommodations.

Young woman working at home.

2. Rise of the Nomadic Professional

What’s a nomadic professional? Simply an employed person who isn’t tied down to a single location due to work. 

Nomadic professionals are usually ones with flexible work arrangements, e.g. those who can work without going to a set company office. We also call them digital nomads.

Technology has played a big role in the growing number of these, many of whom are young professionals. The COVID-19 pandemic has been influential too as many organisations greenlit WFH (work-from-home) setups due to it. 

Indeed, even after the peak of the pandemic, WFH has remained an option for a fair number of workers. An Owlabs State of Remote Work Report counts 56% of global companies now allowing it.

Further than that, 16% of global companies have gone fully remote. At the same time, more and more workers seek it as well as hybrid work opportunities.

Digital Nomads working on a terrasse outisde.

This allows them to live far from their employers’ offices as long as they have means to telecommute. They can change addresses, seek out new living experiences, try new communities, and more – all without worrying about the effect this can have on their jobs. 

Again, this happens to be something coliving excels at compared to its alternatives. For digital nomads, it’s not just about the general flexibility of coliving leases: it’s also about the variety of locations coliving operators are now offering. 

3. The Influx into Urban Centres

Another reason for increased coliving demand is the rising number of people living in our urban centres. 

More and more people seem to seek urban homes yearly. By 2050, the global population is projected to increase to around 9.8 billion. 

Even more alarming is how that population will be distributed. More than twice as many people in the world will be living in urban (6.7 billion) than in rural settings (3.1 billion) by then.

This means that demand for urban housing will continue to rise and at some point, supply will falter. For certain segments of the market, it’s already faltering as people struggle to find available urban housing. 

Apartment buildings in the urban area.

Fortunately, coliving spaces can step into the breach. 

As a shared-housing solution, coliving spaces allow more residents within each housing unit than traditional “non-shared” solutions. What’s more, coliving can also be a more efficient solution to housing shortages in the case of repurposed-facility operations. 

This is because repurposed facilities have several advantages over entirely new developments. Among other things: 

  • They help to preserve historic structures that may be tied to a local community’s identity or architectural heritage
  • They’re often more cost-effective to set up, as retrofitting and renovation of a building in decent condition is typically cheaper than complete demolition and construction of a new one. 
  • They can drastically reduce the environmental impact of demolition and construction, with the carbon footprint of a refurbished building estimated to be half that of a newly built replacement.

The Citylifer’s vision for repurposing vacant office buildings is actually a good illustration of this. Since a good part of the structure already exists, development can proceed faster, yielding new housing space quicker than traditional “from-scratch” developments. 

"In Europe alone, we’ve had a burgeoning housing crisis for decades. It’s led to more than a quarter of Europeans aged 15-29 living in overcrowded conditions in 2022, due to sky-high rents."

4. Skyrocketing Real Estate Prices

Availability is only one part of the puzzle for housing, of course – price is another. This is one more driver for coliving demand because housing costs have been skyrocketing for a while now.

In Europe alone, we’ve had a burgeoning housing crisis for decades. It’s led to more than a quarter of Europeans aged 15-29 living in overcrowded conditions in 2022 (due to sky-high rents). It’s also led to Paris property sales going down 23% around the middle of 2023 (because fewer and fewer people could afford to buy).

From 2010 to 2022, house prices actually went up 47% in Europe. In several countries, this has outpaced incomes, which means the traditional home-ownership model is no longer as viable as it used to be. 

Coliving offers a more tolerable alternative because it keeps costs down in several ways. The combination of shared resources and cost-splitting benefits means that it offers a more affordable and community-centric approach to urban living. 

Boy and girl sharing bites on the sofa in an apartment

5. The Worldwide Surge in Loneliness

Finally, the increased interest in coliving may be partly due to its ability to address one of today’s ‘unofficial yet largely recognised’ epidemics: that of loneliness. 

People, especially young adults, appear to be increasingly lonely. The Meta-Gallup survey of 142 countries last year paints a particularly stark picture, stating that “almost a quarter of the world feels lonely”. 

The response to this widely held sense of social isolation has been to seek community with others, and while there are many ways to do so, coliving is clearly one of the most immersive. It offers shared living experiences, fosters meaningful connections, and offers opportunities to combat loneliness.

As such, the increased interest in coliving spaces and the built-in community they offer is perhaps natural. 

A World that Encourages Coliving

In sum, various shifts in the world now make communal living more attractive than ever. With so many unable to find or afford private homes or apartments, coliving is becoming a key solution for many housing woes. 

And this may still only be the beginning. Coliving is evolving, so it may take on new forms to address even more unmet needs. Consider the ‘specialised’ subtypes of it popping up for specific markets, for instance, including single parents and seniors. These are fresh variations on a formula that’s still being improved upon. 

Overall, we think this can only mean good things at The Citylifer – and not just for members of our industry. As communal living steps up to meet more consumers’ demands, it can help ensure that more people get the housing options they both want and deserve.

The Citylifer Perspective

At The Citylifer, we acknowledge the changing world and demands of young adults in today’s dynamic world. Our concept is finely tuned to address these requirements. Explore further to learn about the various ways in which we achieve this.

Different layers of Community
  1. Family room: We divide our buildings into community clusters, accommodating 15 to 25 people who exclusively share a fully-equipped family room
  2. Shared areas: Our residences feature shared areas – like a rooftop or game areas – which are exclusively accessible to the resident community and help foster social connections.
  3. Public areas: Strategically positioned, primarily on the ground floor, public areas are designed for residents and neighbours to meet and interact with each other, fostering wider community interaction.
Great Prices, Better Locations

Location, location, location. It’s paramount for coliving communities and coworking spaces, as well as young professionals. But the high rent prices are pushing many out. 

How do we counter this? We have a smart and space-efficient apartment design for communal living, enabling us to offer private studios – including private kitchen and bathroom – starting from €700 basic rent in Rotterdam.

Plug-and-play Lifestyle

The Citylifer is designed to make your transition to a new environment as seamless as possible. 

Our plug-and-play lifestyle ensures that all housing costs, from rent to utilities, are wrapped into one straightforward contract. High-speed internet is a given, and we’ve also implemented robust security measures to ensure peace of mind. 

To accommodate the ever-changing plans of a digital nomad, we offer flexible contract terms for both short and long-term stays.

Leases tailored for flexibility

The appeal of remote work often lies in its inherent flexibility. 

Echoing this sentiment, The Citylifer extends lease agreements that are as adaptable as the modern worker’s schedule. Residents can opt for leases starting from just one month, with the freedom to extend their stay indefinitely. 

Whenever you’re ready to make a move, The Citylifer ensures a hassle-free transition.


Coliving has myriad advantages, including cost-savings, high flexibility, increased opportunities for socialisation and community, and in many cases, simple availability. 

There are many different types of people who may choose coliving spaces. The most common coliving residents are adult workers, nomadic professionals, and students.

Coliving isn’t just a fad, as its continued growth shows. More and more people are choosing it for housing for many reasons, but in brief, chiefly because it addresses more of their issues or needs than traditional options.

Coliving doesn’t necessarily mean giving up privacy. While some facilities may be shared and come with a built-in community, a lot of coliving spaces allow residents to keep various things private. 

For example, you can have your own bedroom and keep it as a private space even in a shared apartment. Arrangements vary by provider and contract, however.

Yes, coliving can be a long-term and affordable housing choice! There are actually more longstay coliving operators than short ones in a lot of countries, and all of these try to make their offerings viable long-term accommodations. 

While “expensive” is a relative concept, coliving is generally considered affordable when compared to the cost of house or real estate ownership. 

Indeed, one of the key benefits of coliving has long been held to be its ability to offer affordable housing to more people than the traditional housing model.

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