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Cohousing: a new housing alternative in Spain

The ‘Cohousing’ concept has been gradually gaining importance in the Spanish real estate market. It is a housing alternative that many people have been able to appreciate and take advantage of. This housing model consists of adapting the private spaces of the property with large common areas. This in order to promote collaborative consumption among neighbors.

Spain currently has several projects throughout different regions. Many of these properties are mainly in rural settings with prices starting at €99,000. In large cities such as Madrid and Barcelona there are several projects with similar characteristics, closer to the concept of ‘Coliving’. For these cases, the purchase prices are around 200,000 euros, although the most expensive properties exceed 300,000 euros.

Reviewing the characteristics of these architectural projects, we analyze why this alternative is gaining momentum in the market and we share some useful tips to consider before taking the step of betting on this way of living and sharing.

Why Cohousing is gaining momentum in Spain

The concept of Cohousing was born in Denmark half a century ago. However, in recent years it has gained more strength as a modern alternative in the real estate sector, linked to the search of different investors for new, more affordable residential formulas.

In general terms, the experts from the Valuation Institute highlighted that this formula, like others such as ‘build to rent’, is growing more and more due to the difficulties that exist in different sectors of the population to buy homes, added to the prevailing labor instability at present and the little capacity to save that the younger population has.

According to studies, this increase is also due to the commitment that many have made to achieve a housing format that adapts to post-pandemic needs and habits. For example, the search for outdoor space and different common services, or the advantages of living outside large urban centers.

On the other hand, this proposal is also driven by human factors such as loneliness and lack of relationship in urban communities, which has become one of the great problems of the 21st century. “We are living more and more isolated, especially older people, despite the fact that cities are increasingly dense and technology connects us faster,” he says.

Cohousing: a more social and cooperative housing model

Cohousing lays the foundations for recovering shared spaces and experiences between neighbors. From the most traditional -such as lending salt to take care of the children- to others such as the production of collective photovoltaic energy. At the same time, it is also a matter of savings: why pay for 18 internet connections when you can share one?

Many affirm that Cohousing is clearly a more social and cooperative housing model, more ecological and more economical. This is the case both in its construction stage and once in use. In short, it is a more sustainable, more rational and more exciting system to live.

From the General Council of Official Colleges of Real Estate Agents, they recall that, despite the fact that this alternative is growing, especially among the elderly population, a change in mentality is also taking place among young people. In this sense, it is a housing model that could be more successful among millennials; who give more importance to experiences than to properties, and who are more inclined to the pay-per-use model than to the possession of acquiring a good or service.

Tips for investing in a Cohousing project

It is important that new investors know what the Cohousing housing model consists of. Clearly it is a model that aims to value community interests in coexistence. This concept has more to do with a way of inhabiting the space, than with a legal formula or type of building. Its purpose is not only to live in community, but rather to live collaboratively.

It should be noted that this model does not always have to be a green or sustainable project. A Cohousing does not have sustainability as a necessary characteristic, which many buildings begin to apply from the first phases of their construction. In this sense, the sustainability that a building may have should not be confused with the characteristics of a Cohousing.

The mere existence of common areas and spaces (dining rooms, multimedia rooms, or gardens…) is not specifically an essential attribute of these projects either. Although common spaces exist in this urban modality, a cohousing will depend more on the management and participation of its inhabitants than on the existence of these common spaces.

As stipulated, in the Cohousing model, the existence of an internal regime regulation agreed by all the participants prevails. This establishes the commitment of collaborative participation of all the inhabitants of the complex.

Among the recommendations for potential buyers, it is important to analyze who promotes this type of proposal, in terms of knowing whether or not the cooperative is constituted. It is also necessary to know what its statutes are and who or who make up the managing entity. If it is owned or what is purchased, it is the right of use. Or if the development already has urban planning licenses and a project visa.

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