BROOKLYN -- Co-living is a new industry sweeping cities throughout the country and companies are popping up to fill the need. Now, plans for a new $450-million co-living space in Brooklyn are getting a lot of attention as it will be the largest dedicated co-living space in the city.
"Welcome to my humble abode. This is Hart House. This is my roommate Gary," said Chris Brown as he gave me a tour of his 7-bedroom home in Bed-Stuy.
Brown moved to New York two years ago to finish school and start an internship. After learning how expensive rent was in New York City, he knew he would have to find roommates to make it work.
"Quite frankly, it's the only way that this is affordable for me," Brown said. "It was either this or stay in my mom's basement in Pennsylvania."
Brown had some initial roommate troubles.
"I was too embarrassed to even invite any of my friends over," he said.
But he and his new roommates do more than coexist, they're co-living: divvying up chores, stocking a common pantry, and helping take care of the Claus, the house cat.
"Before it was seven strangers living together and now it's truly a co-op," Brown said.
"A lot of people move to New York with big dreams and housing is a huge problem for them," said Sophie Wilkinson, head of design and construction for the co-living company Common.
Wilkinson says co-living has become a big industry. More than 78 million Americans are currently living with roommates.
"Roommating is typical here and almost like bad roommating is a right of passage," Wilkinson said.
That's where companies like Common come in. They take care of furniture, wifi, utilities, and some common goods and roll it all into the monthly rent so you don't have to worry about it.
"We manage it in the same way a hotel manages a hotel."
On average, tenants pay about 20 percent less than it would cost to live in a studio in the same neighborhood, while getting some great shared amenities in the process.
"It's a cool thing for someone to live in a neighborhood where they might not have been able to, but still have a great experience and potentially move to a city that they may not have."
Today, Common has 21 homes in five cities across the country. On Average, 1,300 people reach out every week looking for a spot in one of their homes. It might be one reason London's biggest co-living company "The Collective" just purchased a lot on the border of Williamsburg and Bushwick. The company's founder told Forbes they plan to build a 350-thousand square foot facility dedicated to co-living, although the details are still being worked out.
Brown understands the appeal.
"I think this is a trend, I can see a lot of people doing this," he said.
Although, for the time being, it might still be a bit out of his price range. Fortunately, he's happy with his current co-living situation.