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Is Co-Living The Next Big Thing in South Florida Multi-Family Real Estate?

October 23, 2019

Is Co-Living The Next Big Thing in South Florida Multi-Family Real Estate? on morrissegroup.com

A recent real estate trend is performing better than expected

It seems as if everything today is ripe for sharing. From car rides to parking to workspaces, what was once considered private and personal is now open to a communal way of thinking. With this in mind, it really isn’t surprising that co-living is a recent trend in the multi-family housing market.

As recently as 2017, some predicted it to be a movement that would “shake the multi-trillion-dollar housing industry to its core.” While critics and proponents still debate the long-term success of co-living, there is no denying that the idea is causing tremors in the marketplace—and South Florida might soon feel the earth move.

What is co-living?

Co-living comes at an interesting time in the multi-family housing industry. Many see it as a solution in high-market-price urban areas where there is an oversupply of rental properties (many of which are luxury units), an affordable housing crisis, and a millennial demographic that has limited income and its own way of working, playing, and living.  

In exchange for lower rents, co-living provides tenants with smaller private spaces and shared common areas, such as kitchens, lounges, game rooms, fitness rooms, etc. In addition, many co-living buildings also have a community manager to help coordinate group activities, such as movie nights, workshops, yoga classes, lectures, and community dinners.

Co-living provides opportunity

Some of the harshest criticisms have labeled co-living as dorm or hostel living for adults. Taking into account that co-living developers try to create an “intentional community” by matching up potential tenants based on interests and activities, it’s easy to see that comparison.

Nevertheless, it’s difficult to refute the fact that co-living properties are providing a very viable option for Millennials (and aging Baby Boomers) who crave an affordable place to live in some of the most expensive metropolitan areas in the country. Typically, co-living properties are located in up-and-coming neighborhoods, have a strong link to public transportation, and are close to shopping, restaurants, and nightlife. Minimum lease terms generally run from six to 12 months, although some properties offer three-month leases.

Co-living surpasses expectations

As more and more properties have opened, developers and investors have discovered that many results are surpassing expectations. Ollie, one of the largest co-living developers in the country, reports that its co-living spaces are earning more money per square foot than traditional apartments.

Ollie should know. At its Long Island City, NY, building, the company split 169 of its 466 units into 422 co-living bedrooms and common areas, thereby creating the largest co-living property in the country. A two-bedroom unit there can be as little as 535 square feet, which can then be rented from between $1,260 to $2,200 per month. In addition to amenities such as Wi-Fi, furniture, and kitchenware, the rents also cover weekly cleaning services for common areas.

Co-living in South Florida

South Florida has several co-living properties, but 2020 looks to be a major year as several high-profile projects are scheduled to open:

  • Common Marti and Common Mariana, from Common developers, will provide a total of 65 units in Little Havana. The neighborhood was chosen for its walkability and its proximity to office space, retail, and Brightline.
  • Ollie is part of an upscale co-living project at Gable Station, a three-building, a mixed-use property in Coral Gables.
  • Fort Lauderdale’s X Las Olas, from PMG, will be a 650-unit, 41-story tower in the heart of downtown.

Co-living is especially attractive to young professionals and retirees who are interested in being social in expensive urban areas that offer an assortment of cultural and recreational activities. South Florida is that idea co-living market, and co-living may be a unique solution to the affordable housing crisis, as salaries have not kept pace with rents and property values.

To learn more about commercial real estate investments, development opportunities, or other property services, contact the professionals at Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

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