Dezeen Magazine

"In the future we will all be homeless" says co-living entrepreneur

Home ownership is set to become a thing of the past, according to the entrepreneur behind London co-living start-up The Collective, because socially liberated millennials are more likely to choose "living as a service".

The Collective's chief operating officer James Scott said that the changing housing needs of Generation Y – who are settling down later, if at all – is leading to a future where everyone is "homeless".

"In the future we will all be homeless," he said, addressing an audience at the Tech Open Air festival in Berlin yesterday.

James Scott, The Collective chief operating officer
James Scott is the chief operating officer of The Collective, a co-living start-up founded by Reza Merchant

"Where previously we moved straight from adolescence into adulthood, we now take our time to become more socially liberated and culturally diverse, experimenting to find out what – and who – we love, before committing to it in adulthood."

"Suspended adulthood" is leading to the success of the co-living movement, claimed Scott, where developments with built-in co-working spaces, restaurants and gyms appeal to young renters seeking convenience without the commitment of buying.

Scott said the appetite for this type of property is growing so rapidly that it is likely to become the standard way of living.

"The median age of marriage has shifted from 20 to 29 in the past 40 years," he added. "This suspended adulthood and the rise of the digital nomad result in an increase in mobility and a reduced desire to settle."

"As we decouple the function of living from the physical location, we need to help positively curate more communities. Eventually, we will move to a model of subscription homes or providing living as a service."

At The Collective's purpose-built Oak Oak co-living space, up to 70 residents share a kitchen

Scott runs The Collective with its founder Reza Merchant. Like other co-living services, it offers homes that combine the features of student housing and hotels, offering tenants serviced rooms alongside communal lounges, kitchens and bathrooms.

When Scott spoke to Dezeen earlier this year about the growing trend for co-living and co-working spaces, he claimed The Collective is plugging a gap in the market.

He believes the prevalence of online services like Uber, Netflix and Kindle is driving housing towards a more service-based model.

The company teamed up with PLP Architecture to create a pair of purpose-built co-living schemes in London.

Old Oak Common by PLP Architecture and The Collective
Alongside communal lounges, kitchens and bathrooms, tenants at Old Oak have serviced bedrooms

"In every other industry you've got an ownership model and you've got a service model," he said. "The property market doesn't have that."

"I don't have possessions anymore, I'm all about experiences and it's high time that our workspaces and living spaces caught up," said Scott. "There's definitely a future based on this whole co-movement."

The Collective opened the world's largest co-living space in west London earlier this summer.

The Stratford Collective by PLP Architecture
In late 2015, The Collective revealed plans to build a high-rise co-living block in east London. The scheme designed by PLP Architecture is slated for completion in 2018

The co-living start-up is now developing an app, allowing the 550 inhabitants of its student halls-style housing complex to communicate, and is set to open a 400-desk co-working space on site in September 2016.

The Collective has also formed a partnership with property technology accelerator Property Innovation Labs (Pi Labs) in a bid to support other start-up companies seeking to disrupt the current property market.