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CO-LIVING student residences and micro apartments strike a chord with the new generation of tenants.

July 18, 2021 | Finanz und Wirtschaft

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There is hardly a topic in the real estate market that has come under such scrutiny in recent years: the scarcity of living space. On the one hand, there is the pandemic that has presented new challenges to being permanently at home, and on the other hand, the scarcity and rising cost of living space in metropolitan areas. Cities have not and will not lose any of their fascination, especially for creative people and the younger generations.

According to United Nations Population Statistics (UNPD), 55% of the world’s population now lives in cities – more than one in two. By comparison, seventy years ago it was just one in three.

“The home is the new horizon – it has become the workplace, the school and a place where people now increasingly try out hobbies, where they invest more as a center of life, where they meet friends and where they are safe,” says Thomas Täuber of management consultancy Accenture, which has declared the 2020s the “decade of the home” in a study.

Urban feeling has to be

However, flexibility has become another new buzzword when it comes to modern living.

Moving quickly to a distant city has become the new reality when employers or studies make it possible. At the new place of residence, you want to make new contacts quickly, because there is not much time for settling in. In addition, please urban feeling in a good city location.

In a few sentences, this is how the field of innovative living, also known as micro living, can be described.

The implementation manifests itself in different concepts that almost always focus on marketing via furnishings and services. In the metropolises, the new forms of living are generally designed for millennials, young professionals and freelancers, the wanderers between stages of life. For them, it’s the overall experience that counts: Instagram-worthy furnishings, fast Internet, goodies like a Netflix subscription. The size of the apartment is less important than good furnishings and contemporary community features.

Belonging to a community is the lifeblood of this type of housing.

In an increasingly sharing-oriented society, space for individuality and seclusion no longer needs to be epically large. Especially when there are shared spaces right next door: Community kitchen, co-working space, a place for events, a workshop.

Almost always, interested parties can choose their apartment on the provider’s homepage and, as residents, book rooms or times in the laundry or gym via app. The Forum Gemeinschaftliches Wohnen (Forum for Community Living) defines group-oriented housing projects as “permanent associations of people who voluntarily and consciously share certain areas of their lives with each other in terms of space and time.”

Belonging to a community is the lifeblood of this form of living. Especially in times of the pandemic and beyond, this fact is gaining in importance. Current figures indicate that modern and innovative forms of living are becoming more and more popular with tenants and investors. Despite Corona, prime yields for student housing and micro-apartments were stable at 3.3% in 2020, determined brokerage firm CBRE. According to The Housemonk’s Global Coliving Report 2019, Europe is in the middle of the pack in terms of rent. As part of a master’s thesis at the University of Zurich, a survey of micro-living tenants was conducted in 2020. Around 60% of respondents cited lower housing costs as one of the most important motivations for this form of living. In addition, furnishing accommodates mobile living and saves costs and time.

Precisely tailored offers

The outlook is good: “In the long term, transaction volumes will rise steadily as new properties come onto the market that appeal to a variety of target groups,” says Sebastian Schütte, director at CBRE Residential Investment.

“The increasing acceptance of mobile working will lead to further differentiation of microapartment concepts in the future in the direction of co-living and serviced apartments with different service offerings. In the future, it will be even more a matter of offering them to the respective target groups in a way that fits them perfectly,” he says in his analysis. Ultimately, the question even arises as to whether these forms of living are really so innovative or whether we are not simply addressing the new requirements of modern tenants in metropolitan areas in the right way.

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