Recently, some entrepreneur friends and I were discussing an interesting advertising campaign that called on millennials to join the British Army. The posters had generated a lot of buzz on social media, kicking off countless debates on stereotypes surrounding people in their 20s and early 30s. “Me me me millennials”, “binge gamers”, “phone zombies”, “snow flakes”, “selfie addicts” – is that how we really see the millennial generation?
“All these labels are so myopic. If we look at the bigger picture, we’ll see a smart cohort of youngsters who are unafraid to ask ‘why’, who are willing to venture into lesser-known territories, and who are opening new business frontiers,” argued a Gen Y buddy. And I couldn’t agree more!
Sharing: the new mantra
Let’s look at the sharing economy, for instance. Right from transport services to work spaces and online entertainment, collaborative consumption is redefining the way we live. Thanks to sharing becoming a standard expectation for millennials, more and more consumers today are prioritising access over ownership.
The definition of lifestyle has evolved. Unlike earlier generations, for whom owning a home was a major life goal, accessibility to experiences and a sense of community are more important than ownership of property for youngsters today. This has led to the hottest real estate trend across the globe: co-living.
Given today’s globalised workforce, young professionals are travelling and relocating frequently - sometimes within the same city. Buying and renting spaces in cities is either too expensive or too restrictive for migrating millennials who may not have access to capital to pay out large deposits. Traditional leasing commitments often fail to work for this always-on-the-move generation.
Co-living offers a contemporary and sustainable solution to the urban space crunch crisis. Changing the landscape of residential real estate in India, tech startups are creating a new asset class in real estate investing.
Smart use of space
Millennial space utilisation patterns show that they typically spend more than nine hours a day in the bedroom and bathroom areas that occupy about 40 percent of the total apartment space. Interestingly, the hall, kitchen, and utility areas – that constitute 60 percent of the apartment space and cost – are utilised for less than three hours daily.
Co-living spaces offer a smart blend of private and community spaces to optimise real estate utilisation. The idea is to facilitate the sharing of lower utilisation areas – the living room, kitchen, and utility space – with a larger community, offering an economically viable solution to urban housing woes. We have seen that the intelligent utilisation of space can easily bring down costs by at least 10 percent.
Unlike in a conventional paying guest (PG) accommodation, the emphasis in a co-living space is on innovative design and superior service. The structural design is so agile that it makes you feel at home, even if you are a total stranger in a new city. Moreover, the plug-and-play model offers an element of ease that millennials love. Imagine living on your own, yet not having to deal with the hassles of everyday household chores! In other words, co-living brings together the best of both worlds – the warmth and familiarity of home as well as the convenience of staying at a chic hotel.
Matter of money
“Isn’t it a tad expensive?” I’m asked, usually by those contemplating moving into a co-living space. Yes, it is costlier when you compare on a per-square-foot basis. However, in absolute terms, co-living spaces work out to be more cost-effective as the monthly rent includes maintenance, water, electricity, Wi-Fi, furnishing, laundry, housekeeping, TV, security, CCTV surveillance, and just about everything you need!
In most cases, co-living brings down the average cost of living by at least 15 per cent. Moreover, the deposit to be paid is for three months as opposed to the customary 10-month rent. Not to forget, the ease and flexibility of renting fully-furnished spaces and sidestepping the hassles of hunting for maids, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, et al. Most co-living properties are also strategically located near major workspaces, helping beat urban traffic woes. What’s not to love about this capital-efficient, energy-efficient, and technology-enabled renting experience?
In good company
When The Collective in London, considered to be the world’s largest co-living project, put out their popular slogan “a new way to rent in cities”, little did they know that they were starting a realty revolution! In an increasingly virtual and lonely world, co-living makes it easier for the millennial cohort to bond with like-minded people and have meaningful face-to-face conversations on a regular basis.
You may be away from family, but you can still enjoy a sense of belonging when you share space with the right mix of people.
While the concept of community living is far from novel, what draws millennials together in co-living spaces is their lifestyle choices. There are barbeque parties, movie nights, board games, sumptuous brunches, and more to keep the space buzzing with energy. It’s no surprise that the occupancies are as high as 95-100 per cent.
Research shows that the co-living market in India currently stands at $93 billion. And millennials, comprising 30 percent of the country’s population, are driving this change. Co-living is the future. Are you ready for it?
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)