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Co-Living Is the New-Age Alternative to Renting That's About to Hit Sydney

It's more social than renting a tiny studio alone, but it has more privacy than a sharehouse.
By Libby Curran
August 30, 2018
By Libby Curran
August 30, 2018

Unless you've by some miracle stumbled upon the ultimate sharehouse situation, there inevitably comes a point when the whole thing starts to get pretty old — and yet owning your own piece of real estate feels like it just ain't ever going to happen. If that's the case, how would you feel about testing out co-living?

The concept is Sydney's newest real estate offering and — at present — features blocks of studio-style units rented out individually by the one landlord or property group. Typically, they've got communal areas and include services like cleaning and laundry in the rent. So you're living under the same roof as others, with all the social benefits, but with your own private space and no chance of anyone else stealing the last of your choccy milk from the fridge.

While it has proved popular overseas, Australia is just now making its first foray into the co-living space, with Alex Thorpe and Rhys Williams — the same guys behind hotel group Veriu and co-working space +U — among the first to embrace the concept locally. They're gearing up to launch their own co-living brand UKO in Stanmore this September. UKOs in Paddington and Newtown are expected to follow, too.

The pair's aim is to shake up the rental market by offering more bang for your rental buck. Here, the networking and social aspects are the biggest drawcards, so you'll find a big communal courtyard, complete with veggie patch and a relaxation zone, which doubles as an outdoor cinema by night. Each UKO facility will also have its own dedicated 'community host', charged with planning and running events, setting up any communal meals and facilitating networking.

The Stanmore set-up features three different room styles, starting at a not-so-cheap $525 per week for the adaptable, studio-style UKO Flex, and reaching $595 per week for the UKO Loft. They're not exactly roomy, so to maximise space, the units are kitted out with a suite of flexible features, that can fold or roll away when you're not using them.

And it seems UKO won't be your only co-living option, with Commercial Real Estate reporting that local investment group Caper Property also has plans to jump into the market. The website has revealed that the company will be launching three co-living properties in Sydney over the next 12 months — including one in Leichhardt's Bald Faced Stag. Caper Property acquired the 1800s inner west pub back in April, and has plans to develop it into a restaurant, bar, cinema and live music venue, as well as a "120-bed" co-living space.

These new co-living spaces are promising a lot for something that sounds an awful lot like renting a tiny studio — or living in a fancy uni dorm — for pretty much the same price, so we'll be keeping an eye on how successfully they run post-launch. But as Sydney's rental market — and its property market in general— is currently a big expensive mess, more options certainly aren't a bad thing.

UKO Stanmore is slated to open this September.

Published on August 30, 2018 by Libby Curran


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