Shared Space, CoLiving and the rise of CoBuying

Sharing a living space with someone you don't know (ie. a stranger) usually brings the dreaded 'roommate' or 'housemate' terms to mind.

Housemate - someone you live with in a house but are not related to and do not have a romantic relationship with.
Nowadays, however, we see many trends in the housing market that seem to be housemates rebranded. But a scratch beneath the surface reveals that something more is happening, something fundamental to our happiness and health. 

City Life, City Strife

Many of us have seen the sitcoms from the '90s such as Friends, Seinfeld, Fraser, and others where the main characters:

  • had their own apartments
  • had extra rooms in their apartments
  • had a steady flow of friends, family and guests flowing through their apartments
Monica & Rachel's appartment in Friends

Taking place in major metropolis such as New York and Seattle, it seemed that even the starving artists could find a place to stay, make friends and live their best life in big cities. Reality is a bit different, however.

When we look at London and the UK - the home of RoomForTea - we can see:

  • The average rent for new tenancies in London is £1,665
  • 25.9% (3.4 million) of young people aged 20 - 34 in the UK still live with their parents, up from 2.4 million in 1997
  • 56% of people in big cities in the UK report feeling lonely

Rapidly-increasing rents, difficulty finding well-paying, long-term work, and a loneliness epidemic have created a need for shared housing. Au contraire to the stigma of 'living with housemates' in the adult years, there in an undercurrent of innovation in the housing market to create new living spaces for people to share on a mid to long-term basis. 

Paying the Bills, Visions of Grandeur

The first and foremost considerations in order to find a shared-living space are always the practical:

  • how much space do I need
  • how much can I afford
  • how long do I need the space for

For many this is a spectrum, but in a city like London, one needs to be able to pay the bills before even thinking about visions of grandeur.  Searching through RoomForTea's hundreds of listings in London will help you find just that - an affordable place to call home and live with someone new. 

Because all our rooms are available on a mid-term basis, you can book for a few months while you sort out next steps. Maybe the next step is a Premium one-bed flat on RoomForTea, getting your own place, or exploring visions of grandeur in the shared-living space. 

One-bed furnished flat
RoomForTea Premium - two-bed flat in Hackney

Some options exist in London for CoLiving - large, communal living spaces, fully-equipped with kitchens, living rooms and lots of other colivers - but you should scour sites like The Spaces to see what types of co-living opportunities exist across Europe and around the world.  The upside to CoLiving is generally the community and the amenities.  The downside tends to be the cost and need to lock into a 9-12 month lease, as coliving is still in its earliest stages. 

Then there is CoBuying where friends (or even strangers) purchase a home together and share the mortgage.  This example of a house in South London shows the potential for Co-ownership. The friends bought this old 1900 Victorian Terrace for £750K in 2017, renovated it, and now are living the dream. 

David & Chan's renovated house
David & Chan's renovated house

This is a communal lifestyle with not a whiff of living shoulder to dreadlocked shoulder in enforced veganism with a crowd of censorious crusties. 

Between RoomForTea's bevy of Midterm housing options, the emergent crop of CoLivings, or the stunning Victorian house waiting to be repurposed between you and your mates, it's clear that there is much more to shared living than living in a dingy den with someone you just met on another Roommates website. 

What type of shared-living space would you be excited to be part of?