Hmlet’s co-living space in Joo Chiat, Singapore. (Photo: Hmlet)
Co-living is gaining popularity among millennials in Asia, especially in markets such as Hong Kong and greater China, where housing cost remains high, revealed a JLL report.
This comes as co-living offers an affordable alternative to sharing a rental unit, staying in the family home or living in a subdivided flat, said Denis Ma, research head at JLL Hong Kong.
In fact, China has 90 co-living space operators by end-2016, with Vanke Port Apartment, one of the country’s biggest operators, managing over 60,000 units. YOU+ and ZiRoom operated 16 and seven properties, respectively, while Mofang expanded to around 15,000 units.
“The demand from millennials for co-living is huge in China. In the past five years alone, there were 43 million new graduates. Given the high housing prices across the country’s tier 1 and 2 cities, it will take at least three to five years for them to start purchasing their own homes, which means many of them will have to rent or look for short-term alternatives. Therefore, co-living is definitely an attractive option,” explained JLL China research head Joe Zhou.
In Singapore, Aurum Investments, which is a sister company of co-working space Collision8, invested in a new co-living startup Hmlet. Beijing-based startup 5Lmeet, on the other hand, went beyond shared accommodation by offering its occupants an open office and other amenities such as gym, restaurants and event space.
The rising trend of co-living also proved to be attractive to investors as well as owners of existing properties, especially in the hospitality sector.
“Smaller budget and boutique hotels are one of the first property types being converted into co-living spaces due to the similar unit sizes and mature operating teams,” noted Zhou.
“However, converting other properties to co-living has to go through a complicated legal and planning process, which increases the time and cost.”
This article was edited by Keshia Faculin.