Will the sharing economy change how we view home ownership?

We’re entering an era where our lives have become more mobile and fluid than ever, so what does this mean for the future of home ownership? According to the Where the World’s Moving Global Report, today’s global citizens believe ‘home’ is more than a physical place. Instead, ‘home’ can be understood in many ways, be that through multiple locations, or through the relationships forged along the way.

Thanks to the growth of the sharing economy, shared living spaces, or completely mobile living, is a future that the next generation may be more inclined to desire, as opposed to owning a physical space to call home.

House keys with keychain

Social norms about home ownership are still strong today

The report indicates that the growing population of global citizens have developed a strong sense of what ‘home’ means, and it isn’t exactly the white picket fence that it once was. For many, “home means more to me than a physical place” (82%). The abundance of new technologies that enable communication across borders has broken down the barriers to connection that once held people back. Allowing a greater ability to travel and experience the world in ways previously not known.

The regional differences in the report indicate that there’s still a variation in attitudes towards home ownership and communal living. 71% of citizens in China agree or strongly agree that ‘co-living or shared living arrangements is a good idea for society’, compared with 48% in the UK , 45% in the US and 41% in Australia.

Bike sharing service

This suggests that social norms around the topic of home ownership are still particularly rigid throughout certain parts of the world. Regardless, the emergence of incorporating a ‘third space’ within living arrangements is becoming a way that people can achieve the best of both worlds: community and privacy.   

The report indicates that the way we will design cities in the future will put more focus on this notion of ‘third spaces’. These new cities, whilst also more ‘green’ in their sustainability measures, also value spaces that encourage greater informal and accidental interaction with people. This can include community gardens, cafes, parks and more. 

The report indicates that the growing population of global citizens have developed a strong sense of what ‘home’ means, and it isn’t exactly the white picket fence that it once was.

Shared living spaces

Despite this, can the future of ‘home’ be a co-living arrangement?

As people are still gravitating towards cities and home ownership is increasingly less affordable (and perhaps less desired in the future), the growth of ‘co-living’ spaces have become an interesting way in which these challenges can be met.

But isn’t co-living just millennial-speak for ‘housemates’? Co-living spaces, whilst in some ways reminiscent of the college dorm days, are quite different in their purposeful approach of blending high-quality living amenities and this concept of the third space – providing privacy when you need it, and community when you want it. Regardless of how you label it, people around the world are embracing the trend, from 20-somethings to retirees. 

Roam is a co-living network that allows people to visit for a week, a month or even longer (if you end up loving it) in a variety of places around the globe. The co-living spaces boast a diverse community to engage with, and a co-working space for those who want to work from anywhere.

Working from laptops

Another network of co-living spaces that has experienced growth at scale is WeLive. An extension on the WeWork network, this company offers short term or extended accommodation in sleek, modern facilities. The company website states that ‘WeLive is a new way of living built upon community, flexibility, and a fundamental belief that we are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with’. In this sense, people are becoming more defined and grouped by their interests, passions and goals, as opposed to their physical location. 

With this comes challenges for those who still place high value on a physical place to call their own. The world we know is constantly changing, yet the importance we place on belonging somewhere hasn’t. So perhaps the immediate future won’t see a large-scale adoption of the co-living lifestyle, but the emphasis on incorporating community-focused living is set to become a growing trend.

As we become more mobile in our everyday lives as global citizens, we’ve seen a gradual shift in the definition of a ‘home’. For many, ‘home’ is still very much the physical space they inhabit, and for others, home is more fluid and tied to a sense of community. 

Whilst home ownership may still remain as an important goal for many, in the sharing economy, the option for flexible living arrangements like renting and co-living will continue to appeal to those who are less emotionally tied to a physical space.

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