Community and technology are pillars of non-traditional apartment living. Co-living community Common is doubling down on these two principals, according to Shaina Li, director of real estate at Common and a speaker on the Co-Living, Micro-Units, and Vacation Rentals: Value Opportunities in Non-Traditional Apartments panel at RealShare Apartments in Los Angeles on October 29 and 30. These are becoming pillars not only for Common but within the non-traditional apartment niche.
“At Common, these were two of our main principles from the start, and now we’re doubling down on them,” Li tells GlobeSt.com. “From our first home opening in 2015 to today, we’ve been creating comfortable, beautiful homes where people actually get to know their neighbors, and make applying for membership, communicating with our team, and connecting with neighbors seamless through technology. Now, you are seeing many developers and property managers talk about how to foster community in both traditional and non-traditional buildings because they are seeing first-hand how young professionals prioritize that experience.”
Common is working with technology start-ups that are disrupting the leasing process, including Matterport’s VR-enabled property tours. “So many of our members are moving to a city for the first time and aren’t able to see an apartment in person,” adds Li. “Matterport lets them virtually tour our homes from anywhere in the world, enabling us to sign leases quicker and giving our new members peace of mind.”
Non-traditional apartments include co-living, micro-units and vacation rentals. These are apartment niche’s are growing in popularity for investment, thanks to growing demand and successful track record. “This type of home management model places strong emphasis on the user experience, from making sure home layouts are tailored to the needs of roommates to providing the right amenities for convenience and flexibility,” explains Li. “It’s a formula that works. Common is the preferred choice for both residents looking for a stress-free and all-inclusive living environment, and for real estate owners seeking reliable, above-market returns. Our vacancy level is consistently under 3% because once someone is in the Common community, they like to stay.”
Li says that this is less of a trend and instead a “fundamental shift in the way people are choosing to live.” The millennial demographic is driving this shift. “Young professionals are delaying marriage and having children later, they are living in cities longer, and are forgoing homeownership and car ownership for access and experience,” explains Li, who adds this is a trend in cities across the country. In San Francisco, for example, 40% of renters live with roommates, according to Zillow. “Despite these huge and meaningful societal shifts, the traditional real estate market has not kept up. That’s why innovative models of living, like co-living, are on the rise. Co-living provides the convenience, community, and flexibility young professionals living in cities need, with none of the hassle that comes with traditional apartments. This is an area in multifamily that is absolutely growing. We get 1,300 membership applications every week, and the soaring demand has allowed us to expand to 20 homes across six cities in just three years.”
Li will explore these trends in more depth at RealShare Apartments this month. “I’m very excited to engage in an honest discussion with people from completely different roles and perspectives in real estate development—from finance and construction to property management,” she says. “By sharing the key elements of Common’s unique management model, I’m hoping to dive deeper into how we can work even closer with development and design teams to create the best homes for modern urban renters. Plus, maybe I can dispel a co-living myth or two.”