Is coliving the new future of renting?


Co-living. For many Australian’s it’s a foreign concept, but what once could have been brushed off as a fad – has become anything but.


On Friday, Co-living operator Hmlet opened its largest offering yet – an 82-room warehouse conversion in the heart of St Peters. Describing co-living as ‘a social lifestyle driven by shared values of mobility, sustainability and social responsibility,’ Hmlet has already seen major success in Sydney, opening nine locations since its launch in January.


Co-living comes in all shapes and sizes. It draws in tenants with it’s ‘no strings attached’ message, offering fully furnished rooms without the lengthy leases.


In this latest St Peters build, Hmlet is offering single bedrooms from $370 a week, with a shared bathroom, communal kitchen/dining and shared community space.


For those who are more cashed up, there are entire apartments up for rent – from $800 per week.


It’s a tidy sum, but Hmlet Australia Managing Director Chrystan Paul says it’s what you get for the money, that counts. “You have to look at it as what you’re getting for $370 a week”, says Paul. “For $370 a week you’re getting a fully furnished bedroom within a fully furnished apartment. You’re getting all-inclusive bills, including high-speed internet and electricity. “You’re also getting one clean a week. On top of that you’re getting access to a community, a concierge and you’re not having to lock yourself in to a 6 month or 12-month contract”


The minimum stay in a Hmlet property is three months – a draw card which is proving popular with the 25-35 age demographic.


Paul says they cater to a lot of different people… but most fall into four categories.


“We’re catering to expats, who can come to Australia and move in straight away, they don’t have to be hassled with the likes of having to buy furniture, set up internet, find flatmates. That’s been a solid part of our demographic. A similar demographic is interstate travellers; they may be from Melbourne or Perth and have moved for a job.”


Paul says locals, frustrated with the traditional methods of renting also take up a significant chunk of their rooms, along with international students.


Hmlet has big plans for the Australian market and is looking at expansion into Brisbane and Melbourne.


And while co-living may not overtake traditional renting any time soon, it is a trend Crown Group has also seen fit to invest in.


The developer is building a co-living apartment complex in Waterloo, complete with 374 units.


Crown Group chief executive Iwan Sunito told Domain, they travelled to Hong Kong to see how the concept was working there.


Co-living has taken off across the globe, with major success in the UK, US and Asia. For some, it’s tipped as the answer to end urban loneliness, for others, the concept seems strange and lacking in privacy. Despite this, the potential for growth exists.


As Paul says, “the pool of people renting is getting bigger and bigger … if we can get even five per-cent of the renting population to see co-living as their go-to solution, it’s a multi-billion-dollar industry.”


This piece first appeared on REINSW