"Will Co-Living help to alleviate the prevailing rent affordability issues? Will it work in every location? Who will it appeal to and is it an affordable option for would-be Co-Living tenants? Until a Co-Living scheme has been developed and in operation in Ireland, it is difficult to determine the answer to these questions to a certain extent however, expect to see interest rising in Co-Living development in 2020!"
“Co-Living”, the new alternative form of residential development which has come under scrutiny from all angles including politicians, journalists, architects, local residents….the list goes on. Co-Living in essence allows a tenant to pay a monthly fee which includes your bedroom with ensuite, utilities, cleaning, shared kitchens, work space, cinema rooms etc., with an emphasis on creating a sense of community within the development through tenant engagement by arranging classes and events exclusive to the tenants within the scheme.
Why the negativity?
But why all the negative press from politicians, journalist, architects etc? Cries of “glorified bed sits” and “unaffordable box rooms” have been used to describe Co-Living developments, without really taking into consideration the full extent of what Co-Living could potentially offer prospective tenants from a social aspect, while also helping to offer more flexibility to the rental market and seek to alleviate some of the prevailing issues in terms of rental affordability in established urban areas. Nobody is suggesting that Co-Living can solve the housing crisis, merely that it can assist in alleviating pressure in certain pockets in urban centres.
Since the introduction of the Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments Guidelines for Planning Authorities was introduced by the Dept of Housing, Planning and Local Government in March 2018, “Co-Living”, or “Shared Living” has been one of the main headline grabbers in the face of the current housing crisis in Ireland. This propelled Ireland into the spotlight as one of the first countries in the EU with a planning and design code specifically catered for Co-Living, one which sets us apart from our European counterparts.
These guidelines identified Co-Living as a bona fide form of residential development, and set out specific design standards in terms of minimum room sizes, shared amenity area provision and kitchen facilities. Although the min room size as set out is only 12 sq m, I don’t believe any developers will seek to delivers rooms of this size as they will not appeal to the market.
Endorsed by Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, he has faced heavy criticism from opposition parties and journalists for his positive attitude towards Co-Living development, with Sinn Fein submitting a bill to ban Co-Living entirely on the back of the new development guidelines.
Following the grant of the first Co-Living scheme of 200 units on Eblana Avenue, Dun Laoghaire for Bartra under the SHD (Strategic Housing Development) process, this has only aided in intensifying the spotlight on Co-Living. Further planning applications in Castleknock (Bartra), and Rathmines House (Blondie Issuer DAC) have followed in the wake of this grant of permission, while The Collective have also lodged for a Co-Living / apart-hotel development in Fumbally, Dublin 8. MM Capital have recently been successful in their application for a Co-Living scheme on Hill Street, Dublin 1, providing for 132 bed spaces in total.
With building costs continuing to rise, the stabilisation of HPI % (House Price Index), no signs of relaxation of the current mortgage lending restrictions and the emergence of BTR development in the preceding 24-36 months, traditional apartment development in urban locations is proving financially nonviable for developers who are now seeking alternative options.
Will Co-Living help to alleviate the prevailing rent affordability issues? Will it work in every location? Who will it appeal to and is it an affordable option for would-be Co-Living tenants? Until a Co-Living scheme has been developed and in operation in Ireland, it is difficult to determine the answer to these questions to a certain extent however, expect to see interest rising in Co-Living development in 2020!
This Blog will form part of a series of blogs which will aim to highlight the good, the bad and the ugly relating to Co-Living development and its potential in Ireland, as well as providing my own personal feedback from a recent experience touring and staying in a Co-Living development in the UK.
Darragh Deasy is a Senior Surveyor with the development land team in CBRE Ireland, with a focus on traditional residential and BTR development.
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