Chestertons MD Nick Witty believes growing trend will form important part of UAE residential market
Dubai could become the benchmark for the rest of the world when it comes to quality co-living projects, according to a leading real estate expert.
Nick Witty, managing director, Chestertons, spoke following a report from Property Finder, which revealed, although co-sharing projects are relatively new to the Dubai market, there is growing demand.
Responding to the crowded market, developers in the emirate have launched co-living projects to cater to young professionals and millennials.
Witty told Arabian Business: “Whilst co-living and co-working is a growing global trend, it’s possible Dubai could set the bar for high-end, technology-enabled co-living solutions. With its commitment to deliver smart technologies and nurture tech entrepreneurship, coupled with developers increasingly focusing on this new form of residential living, there is no doubt we could see this trend taking a hold in the UAE’s residential market in the coming years.”
Emaar projects Collective, Collective 2.0 and Socio at Dubai Hills Estate in Mohammed Bin Rashid City account for most sales in the co-living segment.
UNA, developed by Nshama at Town Square, is also a co-living and co-working project featuring 192 studios and 764 1-bedroom apartments, while KOA’s Canvas project off Mohammad Bin Zayed Road is also targeted at millennials.
In terms of registered transactions, Emaar’s Collective has seen 372 deals in total since launch; Socio is at 200, Collective 2.0 is at 135, KOA’s Canvas is at 7 and Nshama’s UNA is at 183.
In total, Dubai has seen 902 registered transactions (both off-plan and secondary) for co-living spaces to date.
In terms of sales price, Property Finder said Nshama’s UNA is priced most competitively among co-living projects, with a studio costing around AED450,000 ($122,500) to buy.
For a 1-bedroom apartment, the price is most competitive at UNA again (AED558,000/$151,000), followed by Socio at AED673,000 ($183,000) and Collective at around AED700,000 ($190,500). A 1-bedroom in KOA’s Canvas is more expensive at AED982,000 ($267,000).
Two-bedroom apartments in all these co-living projects are priced at around AED1 million ($272,000), with Canvas bearing a higher price tag of AED2.75m ($748,600).
Linda Mahoney, chairman of Better Homes, said co-living was another way of developers adapting to the market.
She said: “As the population has grown, the age of the work force has fallen, and it is a positive move on the part of developers to look for innovative solutions that cater for these changing demographics.”
Witty added: “Essentially co-living and co-working spaces are rising in popularity because they instil a sense of community, shared experience and above all offer convenience, which is something millennials place significant importance on. This is a sizeable cultural shift and something developers are picking up on.”
The co-living phenomenon should not be confused with sharing rooms, a practice that is not legal in the UAE.
While residents live in private apartments within a co-living project, they come together in shared vibrant common spaces to socialise and interact. They are targeted at small business owners and entrepreneurs who can work in the common areas and meet with like-minded people.
Lynnette Abad, director of Research & Data, Property Finder, said: “We have also seen some creative schemes with Emaar and DMCC offering a trade licence and residency with a unit within a co-living project. This is an excellent incentive for those with small, home-based businesses or freelancers.”
However, Mahoney warned that the new trend is not without its drawbacks and believes it may only be a stop-gap solution.
She said: “It is not a 100 percent alternate for private living or the office environment and these spaces can get noisy at times, which can disturb users, and it offers less privacy. As the numbers grow within a household or business, the co-living or co-working spaces no longer offer the best value for users and they may move towards more traditional working and living spaces.”