Rent-Burdened New Yorkers Turn to Coliving, Sacrificing Personal Space for A Good Location

The PropertyClub Team
Jul 24th 2019
If you’re contemplating making a move to New York City, then we should warn you, finding a place to live will be your biggest challenge, especially if your budget is limited. New Yorkers nowadays are heavily rent-burdened, but paying rent is especially more difficult for singles, who are increasingly turning to coliving, living with roommates, or even moving away from the Big Apple altogether.

Forget Homebuying. Renting is Becoming An Equally Unaffordable Option for New Yorkers

Finding a decent place to live in New York City is more challenging than ever, as the market is experiencing a major housing crisis. Home prices and rents have been rising each year, with wages unable to keep up. Affordable housing is harder than ever to come by with the odds of winning a NYC Housing Lottery apartment dropping to 1 in 600 from 1 in 63 since 2011. Adding to that is the fact that younger generations are career-driven, so they tend to marry and have kids later in life. This means they often live alone and have to pay rent all on their own. But renting in New York City, especially in a good neighborhood, is becoming increasingly costly. An analysis done by the Citizens Budget Commission last year shows that 44% of residents are rent-burdened. Paying the monthly rent is an even more significant challenge for single households, which is why so many of them are looking for alternatives. 

The city of New York is well aware of the affordability problem and recently adopted strict rent control protections. These reforms essentially make nearly 1 million apartments and 2.4 million tenants permanently rent-stabilized. Landlords, however, are fighting back, and have filed a federal suit to kill the new measures. The simple fact is that the issue of affordability in the city is a major problem that is hardly being addressed. Million-dollar home sales continue to close every quarter, and luxury condo towers continue to pop up on the city skyline, all while the large majority of New York City residents can’t even afford to rent in their favorite neighborhoods, let alone pay millions of dollars on a luxury apartment. 

With homebuying already out of reach for most young professionals, and with student loans experiencing a 157% growth since 2008, renting seems like the most viable option. 

A record 65% of under 35-year-olds are renting in the U.S., according to recent research by Cushman & Wakefield. In New York City, one of the priciest cities in the world, 68.7% of the population are renters, with two-thirds of households consisting of just one or two people. 

Now, given that the median rent for a studio in Manhattan is $2,800 per month (excluding utilities and other costs), and the median household income in NYC is $58,271, most of these single dwellers are rent-burdened. Prices are so high that even some married couples opt to get a roommate to cut costs nowadays. So it seems that renting is also becoming out of reach in New York City, but people still want to live here, even if it means giving up on some comforts. 

Enter coliving, a new-and-improved version of living with roommates. The coliving trend has emerged in recent years in some of the biggest--and priciest--cities in the world, where rents are skyrocketing. It’s also gained some serious momentum in New York, for all the reasons we mentioned above. 

If You Really Want to Live in the City and Are Ready to Give Up on Privacy, Then Coliving Might Be A Good Fit for You

The idea behind coliving is not a new one - sharing your apartment or living space with other people to split the cost of the monthly rent. Whether you’re sharing a room or just the common areas like the living room, kitchen or bathroom, coliving increases how far your dollar goes. By sharing your living space, you can live in more desirable buildings and neighborhoods that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford on your own. 

While roommates would traditionally look for cheap housing (think older walk-ups) with shared private space within the apartment, the new trend is to forego shared in-unit living spaces all together in lieu of luxury building and community amenities. Why share a small living room when for a similar price you can have access to a luxurious lounge, roof deck, gym, and more.

If you’re a newcomer or a college student who doesn’t know anybody in the city, opting for coliving can help you socialize, establish connections and get settled in without shelling out huge amounts on rent. Coliving rooms can also be rented out short-term, for just a few nights, a month, six months or a year, so they make great options for those in need of temporary housing. They also come fully furnished and fully equipped, and they offer services like cleaning and laundry, all included in the monthly rent. Think of it as a long-term Airbnb: the apartment is move-in ready, everything is usually done online via an app, and you can move out or switch rooms whenever you want. 

Opting to live in a coliving apartment also eliminates the dreaded hassle of finding a suitable roommate or arguing about whose turn it is to buy household items like toilet paper or dishwashing liquid. Coliving providers take care of all that, so you can focus on more important things like enjoying life in the city and focusing on your job or education. The coliving company can even handle the process of finding and vetting the right roommate for you. And then there's the added flexibility- if it turns out that you’re not compatible, you can request a transfer to another apartment. Furthermore, the rent at coliving properties almost always includes services like cleanings, wifi, smart TVs, and regular supply of essentials like soap, paper towels, or toilet paper. 

The only downside to coliving would be the lack of personal space, which can be a deal-breaker for some. While the shared arrangement can work well for many college students and newcomers to NYC, it might not be a great fit for those who are not social creatures. Some coliving companies also have private units, but those will cost you more, and you’ll still be sharing common spaces like kitchens or lounges. Nevertheless, for most coliving tenants, the advantages far outweigh the downsides. Sure, you might be sacrificing some space and privacy, but you’ll get to live in a luxurious, all-inclusive community without spending a fortune on rent. 

As Rents Keep Increasing, Coliving Gains Momentum in NYC

The coliving trend has really taken off in major U.S. cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, or Boston, where the demand is intense due to sky-high rent prices. In 2018, coliving initiatives secured $2.2 billion in global financing, and the city of New York took notice. 

The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) established the ShareNYC coliving pilot program, which aims to tackle the city’s affordability issues by creating affordable coliving options. Usually, coliving properties command at- or above-market rental rates, even if they include utilities and other services in the monthly payments. Some coliving providers rent out luxury units, which naturally come at a higher price, especially if you want a private room or a nice neighborhood. The initiative is the city’s way of making sure that coliving doesn’t become a niche renting option and that it continues to be a more hassle-free, affordable alternative to traditional renting. 

The Top Coliving Providers in the City

As the coliving trend continues to grow in popularity, we wanted to see what options are currently available in New York City, what they offer, and how much they cost. The number of coliving companies is growing, and there are now roughly 15 providers operating in the city. Others, like London-based The Collective, are in the planning phase, with three new Brooklyn locations scheduled to debut in the near future. 

Check out below our pick of 15 coliving providers in New York City at the moment, in no particular order, and keep reading to see what each has to offer.

June Homes 

June Homes has coliving homes for rent in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Boston, and will soon set up shop in London, as well. They offer fully furnished and stocked apartments that can be let on a month-to-month term up to year-long arrangements. The services included in the rent are pretty nice, like high-speed wifi, HBO and Netflix, weekly cleaning services, and 24/7 on-call maintenance. 

The application process is quite thorough: to qualify, you must prove your income, which should be three times the rent. You also have to go through a three-step process that includes an international background check, credit and eviction verification, and interviews with the June Homes team. It’s worth going through it, though, as your roommates and neighbors will be going through the same process, so you know you’ll be in good company and enjoy a safe environment. 

Roomrs

Roomrs is another popular coliving company based in New York City that offers plenty of amenities and services, all included in a single monthly payment. Prices range from $1,000 to $4,000 per month, and they include utilities, wifi, replenishment of supplies like sheets and towels, as well as monthly housekeeping services. You have plenty of locations to choose from, as Roomrs is present in Manhattan (Lower East Side, Kips Bay, Upper East Side, Morningside Heights, West Harlem, and East Harlem), Brooklyn (Bed-Stuy, Bushwick, and Williamsburg) and Queens (Ridgewood). The company is all about community, so you’ll have access to monthly events that encourage networking. To apply, you’ll have to make a security deposit and pay two one-time enrollment and application fees. 

Common

Common has coliving locations in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Their application process is pretty smooth, and they offer a plethora of services and amenities included in the monthly rent, which starts at $1,300. You get fully furnished apartments, high-end kitchens complete with pans, pots, and dishes, free wifi, free on-site laundry, smart TVs, keyless entry, and maintenance services. Additionally, Common members also get deals and discounts from national brands and access to various social events via the Chat feature on their Common app. You can find Common bedrooms in Bed-Stuy, Clinton Hill, Williamsburg, Hamilton Heights, Ridgewood, Park Slope, Crown Heights, and Prospect Lefferts Gardens. 

Tribe

Tribe has locations in New York City and San Francisco and offers coliving options at good prices that start at $750 for a shared unit. Besides offering a ton of social and networking events, including weekly dinners with fellow members, Tribe offers fully furnished rooms nestled in charming New York City townhouses. They have locations in Bed-Stuy, Boerum Hill, Bushwick, Prospect Park South, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South of Williamsburg, and Stuyvesant Heights. They run a background check on all new applicants, but if you’re accepted, you can pick whichever location you like, if there’s a particular neighborhood that appeals to you. Lease terms start at two months, and payments are made easily via Appfolio. Amenities include smart TVs, memory foam mattresses, pool tables, coworking spaces, and backyard space. 

Aleph

Aleph currently operates 6 locations in Brooklyn, in Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, Williamsburg, and Stuy-Heights. Their newest location is at Chauncey Ave in Stuy Heights, which features a renovated roof, backyard, and brand new 3-bedroom apartments. It will be expanding to Manhattan and the UK soon, as well, as demand in NYC and London is high. Prices start at around $1,300 per month, and they come with “everything but the clothes” - that includes furnishing, wifi, fully equipped kitchens, laundry facilities, toilet paper, as well as cleaning and maintenance services. The application process is straightforward and includes an in-person interview and credit and background checks. Lease terms are flexible, and they start at 30 days.

Outpost 

The Outpost Club coliving network has locations all across New York City, in Manhattan, Bushwick, and Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn and Ridgewood in Queens, and it’s also present in San Francisco. They cater to both NYC newcomers and solopreneurs looking for networking opportunities and boast affordable prices and a wide range of amenities. You can fill out an online application and move into your new space as soon as you need to, without having to put up a huge security deposit. Lease terms are flexible, and the monthly rent includes utilities like gas, water, electricity, and wifi. The units come decked out with modern furniture, appliances, kitchen supplies, and other essentials, and also feature Nest systems for added security. They also include cleaning and maintenance services. 

Quarters

German-based coliving provider Quarters has more than 10,000 members in more than 40 cities around the globe, including New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia. All of their apartments come fully furnished and have fully equipped kitchens, coworking spaces, and plenty of relaxation areas where you can interact with other members. The Quarters app allows you to order maintenance or cleaning services and also lock or unlock your room remotely. Other neat features included in the monthly rent are high-speed wifi, smart home technology, laundry facilities, as well as utilities. Shared amenities include movie rooms, bicycle storage, and rooftop decks.  

Dwell

Dwell Coliving currently has two locations in Brooklyn featuring spacious apartments and plenty of amenities. One of their properties is in a restored brownstone across from a historic armory in Crown Heights, while the other is in a spacious mansion just a few blocks away. Prices start at $1,350 and include utilities and roughly $400 worth of amenities, according to their website. Some of the benefits of living in a Dwell apartment include flexible month-to-month leases, fully furnished rooms, complimentary breakfast items, and bread, eggs, olive oil and snacks, wifi and utilities, weekly professional cleaning, washer and dryer, grocery deliveries, flat-screen TVs with Netflix and Hulu, and an Amazon Echo. Shared amenities include a large backyard and a big stoop for those long summer nights spent socializing. 

Ollie

Ollie is one of the most well-known coliving providers in New York City, even if it operates just two buildings: Carmel Place in Manhattan’s Kips Bay, and ALTA+ in Long Island City, Queens. Ollie at Carmel Place opened in 2016 and has even received an AIA Award for Architecture and a ULI New York Award for Excellence in Housing Development for developer Monadnock. The 335 East 27th Street location offers 55 studio apartments with prices starting at $2,775 per month. The price might be worth it because you get amenities like high ceilings, Juliet balconies, ample storage space, and maintenance services. 

ALTA+ in Queens is slightly more affordable, with prices ranging from $1,380 to $2,063 per bedroom for two and three-bedroom micro suites.. Each unit features private bedrooms, and some options include ensuite bathrooms, complete with hotel-style essentials like linens and towels, dishware and bath amenities from Malin + Goetz. The community also hosts regular in-building events and weekend getaways.

Goal House

Goal House offers move-in ready coliving space in a Brooklyn townhouse in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. The company is heavily focused on community, and gets its name by mixing a ‘goal-oriented community’ with a ‘communal house.’ They offer fully furnished, all-inclusive living in a five-story townhouse, with flexible lease terms from 3 to 12 months. Their application process is straightforward; you complete the application form online, then you complete a 5-minute phone interview, and go through a credit/background check. This process can be completed the same day, so you can move in as soon as you need to. 

Prices for a private room start at $1,200 per month, while prices for a double room start at $800 per month. Amenities at the Goal House include a study room, a small fitness/yoga area, a large lounge/dining room, a backyard complete with a grill and a hammock, and a washer and dryer. 

Outsite

Outsite operates various locations both within and outside the United States. Their U.S. locations include Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Austin, Oahu, San Diego, and Santa Cruz, with offshore locations in Switzerland, France, Portugal, Costa Rica, Chile, and Puerto Rico. 

In New York City, Outsite operates one Brooklyn location, dubbed Outsite Williamsburg Grand. It’s nestled in a 7-bedroom loft featuring exposed brick, high ceilings, hardwood floors, and high-end designer finishes. The bedrooms have large windows and closets, and the open kitchen comes equipped with a dishwasher and all the necessary appliances. There’s also a rooftop deck available to all renters, and subway access is just 2 minutes away.

The monthly rent also includes wifi, linens and toiletries, free laundry, HDTVs, and weekly cleaning services. 

WeLive Wall Street

WeLive, part of the We Company, operates one outpost in New York City, located in Lower Manhattan at 110 Wall Street. Besides benefitting from an excellent location close to all the attractions of Lower Manhattan, WeLive Wall Street offers a plethora of amenities. These include a full-time front desk attendant, housekeeping, a residents’ lounge, a chef’s kitchen offering fresh coffee and fruit-infused water on a daily basis, a game center, and a 24-hour on-demand fitness studio. Units come fully furnished and equipped with large flat-screen TVs, security systems, smart climate control, deluxe entertainment systems, and all toiletries and kitchenware are provided. Lease terms are very flexible - you can book a room for just a few nights, or many months, depending on what you need. 

The Assemblage 

Located in the heart of New York City’s Financial District at 17 John Street, The Assemblage Hotel is, according to their website, ‘more than a place to live.’ The company emphasizes community and shared experiences, and offers features like daily yoga classes, film screenings, and other social events. All apartments feature king- or queen-size beds, walk-in closets, flexible workspaces, private bathrooms, and dining areas. They offer hotel-style services, such as daily housekeeping and complimentary laundry. 

The Assemblage also offers coworking space at three locations in New York City, namely NoMad House at 114 East 25th Street, John Street House at 17 John Street, and Park Avenue South House, at 331 Park Avenue South. 

Node

Coliving provider Node has various locations across the globe, including units in NYC, Los Angeles, Seattle, Toronto, Dublin, London, and Manchester. In New York, Node operates several locations in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood, nestled in restored 1900s brownstones. Their ‘luxury coliving’ units feature a unique mid-century design and offer amenities like high-speed wifi, utilities included in the rent, free on-site laundry services, Smeg refrigerators, and Casper mattresses. Each unit incorporates a dining area, and all tenants have access to inviting courtyards, resident lounges, and community events. Prices start at $2,775 per unit for a one-bedroom apartment, $1,575 per person for a two-bedroom, and $1,375 per person for a four-bedroom. Node offers flexible lease terms of 6- to 12-months and a ‘hassle-free’ application process. 

Venn

Coliving startup Venn took shape in 2016 in Tel Aviv, later expanding to Brooklyn and Berlin. The company plans to debut more locations across Europe and the U.S. in the future, but for now, its only American presence is in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood. Located at 786 Knickerbocker Avenue, Venn offers tenants amenities like weekly cleaning services, coworking spaces, a cafe, high-speed wifi, washer and dryer, shared rooftops, and a smart doorman, all included in the monthly rent.