Co-working, but what about co-living?

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While co-working has seen rapid growth and become a major source of demand for office space in Bangkok, co-living could become a big thing in the city’s real estate.

According to real estate firm JLL, co-living space, a term to describe a living arrangement that is something more than shared space, is growing in many cities where housing has become increasingly unaffordable.

Typically, co-living spaces offer tenants small rooms and shared facilities. There’s also a social aspect too; some have a manager who will arrange events.

As well as convenience and community, co-living facilities also claim to offer cheaper rents than apartments.

In Asia though, co-living has not yet seen a boom but it is certainly gaining traction.

China is a trailblazer in this space. The concept of co-living here started with YOU+ International Youth Community that emerged in 2012.

By the end of 2016, there were close to 90 operators across the country.

The trend is also emerging in other markets. Unsurprisingly, given its status as the world’s most expensive housing market, Hong Kong is seeing a growing number of co-living developments.

Singapore has been slightly lagging, but Ascott, CapitaLand’s wholly owned serviced residence arm, created a new co-living brand ‘lyf’ (pictured).

lyf Funan Singapore will be part of CapitaLand’s mixed-use development Funan. In Japan and Indonesia, Roam offers co-living facilities in Tokyo and Bali.

In Thailand, there are a number of small co-living facilities in Bangkok and resort cities however, most of these are targeted at foreign digital nomads and compliment co-working spaces.

“For most Thais, shared living space may not be a preferred option as there are other housing options that remain affordable and offer higher privacy.”

“This explains why the concept has not yet become a big thing in Thailand’s real estate however, this will change in the near future,” said Suphin Mechuchep, Managing Director at JLL.

“As city condos and apartments are getting smaller and more unaffordable, it will become more difficult for young workers to buy or rent a private living space.:

“In addition, these young workers are millennials who grew up in the sharing economy, value being part of a like-minded community and thus tend to be more willing to share facilities. The growing popularity of co-working exemplifies this trend well,” added. Suphin..

“This will open up new opportunities for real estate developers and investors in Thailand, particularly Bangkok,” she concluded.

Andrew Batt
The author of this article is Andrew Batt, the founder and editor of Andrew has been writing about property and real estate issues in Thailand and Southeast Asia for more than 10 years. He has worked for PropertyGuru Group, DDproperty, Dot Property Group, Hipflat and AsiaRents. He has also produced content for leading Thailand property developers and real estate agencies.

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