Is co-living the future of urban living?

Learn why more people are choosing the co-living lifestyle around the world.

At first glance, co-living might merely seem like an easier way for millennials to access lower cost housing, but it’s a lot more than that. In fact, even retirees are taking advantage of co-living spaces across the globe. 

Co-living is a way to connect with like-minded people in countries throughout Europe, the Americas, Asia, you name it. And the co-living spaces like those offered by Roam and Tech Farm not only provide a fabulous place to live, they’re also ideal for professionals who wish to collaborate in a productive environment while enjoying new experiences as a community. 

It’s clear that co-living is already making waves, but will this trend really stick around? We caught up with Daisy Onubogu at co-living network Roam, and Maja-Stina Skarstedt, the COO of Tech Farm, to learn more about what the future of co-living looks like.

Is coliving the future of urban living?

The ability to stay in incredible homes in the world’s top cities

J. Walter Thomson listed Global Nomads as one of the top 100 trends for 2018—which isn’t all that surprising. After all, thanks to technology that keeps you connected wherever you go, more and more people are choosing to become freelancers or start an online business. Others have employers who are willing to let them work from remote. It all boils down to individuals having more freedom as the world is moving to more fluid ways to work and live.

But co-living also meets another important need: whether it’s a shortage of rental properties or rising home prices, it can be difficult to find affordable housing in some of the world’s most desirable locations. And this problem could even hinder companies from hiring the best talent because workers simply can’t afford to move.

Maja-Stina at Tech Farm, a network of co-living and co-working spaces in Stockholm, explains the demand for new living arrangements: 

“This type of living is needed to meet the housing shortages in big cities, to improve the efficiency of living spaces, to create greater prosperity, and to counteract loneliness. We also have to satisfy the millennial demand for a freer and more modern way to live. Millennials own less, see the whole world as their playing field, work digitally, and want to self-realize. The co-living accommodation, therefore, needs to be flexible, global, digital, and inspirational.”

The community aspect is one perk of coliving

Societal shifts are changing the view of home ownership

A big reason why co-living has such a promising future is because of changes in the way people live, work, and play. Having the ability to move about freely, to chase exciting career prospects, and to make memories through new experiences are factors that encourage individuals to embrace the co-living lifestyle. 

Daisy describes the emergence of co-living as a perfect storm of a number of societal shifts:

“There are a few things intersecting all at once. Technology has made it possible to be location independent and still make a living. In addition to that, you also have a general shift in values, as some of the things we have traditionally built our adult life around are becoming tougher to attain. Do we all want to own homes? Do we all want to own a car or do we want to ride share? And then there’s the increasing dispersity of people’s personal networks. It’s the perfect storm of all these shifts coming together.” 

“We also have the other end of the spectrum; people are living much longer and they are healthier for much longer. There’s a rise in people wanting to spend their twilight years as enriching as possible. So this change comes very much from both ends at once.”

“We’re recognizing that, in the future, most of us will have more than one base. Family and friends are located around the world, and it’s already common to have at least two places in the world that you are technically split between. While it makes sense to have multiple accommodation bases, few of us are going to have the money required to own multiple apartments.”

“We want to develop a new international standard based on the principles of the sharing economy.”

Maja-Stina Skarstedt at Tech Farm believes coliving is needed to meet the housing shortages in big citites.

Expect an increase in the number of co-living spaces

As co-living continues to see more cash flow, particularly from investors, this popular trend is likely to continue gaining traction. Daisy describes a growing opportunity for co-living spaces around the world:

“Our expansion desire is almost insatiable, so there isn’t really any particular place that we don’t want to be. We prioritise large cities as those metropolises are where you get an intersection of all different kinds of people, but we also joke about wanting a Roam location in Antarctica. Because, where would you not want to roam?“
“While we have our eyes set on certain locations, our real estate funnel is pretty much all inbound. We get offers from asset owners, asset managers, landlords, or even just individuals with real estate that are happy to broker a building. There’s quite an influx on a daily basis.“
“Hotels are also moving towards having more communal and co-working spaces, and having concierges that go out of their way to connect people. Everybody is capitalizing on this new sense that people ultimately want to be part of a community. ”

Afternoon drinks


Lyf is another example of the expansion of co-living. It’s a development project by The Ascott Ltd, designed by millennials for millennials. Currently, co-living spaces are planned for China, Singapore, and the Philippines.

Hong Kong is also becoming a prime destination for co-living, with developers investing in projects that will provide young people with affordable, modern places to stay, despite the increasing cost of rent in the area.

Maja-Stina echoes the same desire for expansion:

 “The Tech Farm team will focus on housing research and the development of Tech Farm as a co-living concept. Our goal is to inspire developers to build 100 ‘Tech Farms’ around the globe. We think it will be a more natural way of life for many more people and in many more places.”

“We want to develop a new international standard based on the principles of the sharing economy. Homes where we can connect with others and be more true to ourselves.”

Roam arranges cooking classes

Digital tools for the digital nomad make co-living easier

According to Daisy at Roam, technology has made it easier to take advantage of a nomadic lifestyle. Access to information has also given people the knowledge that they can move to another part of the world where their salary will have more buying power. Plus, there are many online services available that can make it easier to stay organized while moving and settling into new places.
As an example, managing your finances while living and working internationally is simple with the help of OFX, which offers secure international money transfers no matter where you are in the world. By using a service like OFX to complete payments for myriad travel and living expenses, anyone can save even more money while taking advantage of the world’s most attractive co-living spaces.  

The popularity of coliving is not slowing down

Exciting future ahead

The future is bright for co-living. Businesses that provide co-living spaces have their eyes set on global expansion into diverse locations that include everything from big cities to exotic locales.

They plan on setting a new norm in the era of the sharing economy. And, with an increasing global mobility and a coinciding desire for community, this trend shows no signs of slowing down. 

IMPORTANT: The contents of this blog do not constitute financial advice and are provided for general information purposes only without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any particular person. OzForex Limited (trading as OFX) and its affiliated entities make no recommendation as to the merits of any financial strategy or product referred to in the blog. OFX makes no warranty, express or implied, concerning the suitability, completeness, quality or exactness of the information and models provided in this blog.