Live and let live

Co-living is catching on in Indian cities but start-ups need deep-pockets to stay in the race

Ever struggled to find a nice, furnished room in a new city? Most of us who have moved cities have faced the tiring house hunt populated with greedy brokers, intrusive landlords, bad plumbing and mediocre food. But there is a change underway. Co-living is the new alternative. 

For decades Indians have practised this informally — that is, sharing an apartment or a home with private rooms and common spaces. The difference now is that formal business models are being built around it. Moreover, like other new-economy businesses, millennials are at the centre of this one too. 

How is this different from all the hostels or paying-guest housing? For one, it eliminates middlemen or brokers. Two, they are online. And three, they have facilities such as Wi-Fi, cooking, laundry, and recreation.

Anuj Puri Chairman, ANAROCK Property Consultants

“The trend – already popular in the western world — has caught the fancy of the millennial workforce. The younger generation, aged between 20 and 30 years usually look for more than bed-and-breakfast deals,” says Anuj Puri, chairman, ANAROCK Property Consultants. Typically, room rents in such set-ups can range between Rs.6,000 and Rs.40,000, depending on the city and locality.

Facetime Factor 

Start-ups such as Zolo, NestAway, CoHo and Stanza Living have been in the business for a few years now in India. In October 2018, India’s largest hotel-rooms chain OYO announced its foray with OYO Living, which was rebranded as OYO Life in February 2019. It has caught the attention of even traditional hospitality players such as Lemon Tree Hotels. In December 2018, the India-based hotel chain and global private equity firm Warburg Pincus announced a JV, with a plan to invest Rs.15 billion initially in this space. 


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