Publications

- December 1, 2020: Vol. 14, Number 11

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Side by side: Changing priorities and limited cash have taught consumers the virtues of sharing everything from taxi rides to office space. Living space may be next — unless COVID-19 derails the co-living trend

by Bennett Voyles

Too poor to rent a conventional apartment downtown, but too busy to add a long commute on top of a demanding work schedule, many young, single European professionals often do not have good housing choices. Add to this the likelihood that these 20- to 30-year-olds are often strangers in town looking for company, and it is clear why moving into a co-living property — a more affordable, central and sociable housing alternative — might be popular.

But this new style of apartment life is now at a critical juncture, at least in Europe. It is unclear whether the pandemic’s knock-on effects — chiefly the economic downturn, the rise of remote work, and the need for social distancing — will limit demand for co-living, or if the enforced solitude of 2020 will actually increase demand for Europe’s roughly 23,000+ co-living beds.

Pre-pandemic, catering to young, single professionals looked like a prime market opportunity for developers, similar to — and maybe even mor

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