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June 14, 2021

How The HMO Market Has Transitioned To Co-Living

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Have you noticed that modern life has changed us? Busy schedules and soaring house prices have made it near impossible for us to socialise or climb the property ladder. This has changed how we find a place to live.

The thought of buying a three-bed house in the suburbs because it’s what our parents did is dying out. There’s not much point in a young, single professional having that much space even if they could afford it. For the most part, the property would just sit there empty.

More people are renting than ever; close to 4.44 million households are rentals, according to stats released in February 2021. And at its current rate, the PRS sector is likely to make up 25% of the UK’s housing market in five years.

But people don’t want to rent by themselves living a lonely life. This is why co-living concepts are so popular, how the HMO market was able to grow. Now, the rise of BTR is building on the core values of an HMO to create stronger co-living communities.

HMOs and BTR spaces work along the same lines; live sociably and have fun. BTR properties, however, put a little more emphasis towards the social side.

We take a look at how the changing needs of tenants have created a shift from the HMO market to BTR.

Living Socially

Living in isolation is the norm for a lot of people trying to work around busy schedules. Everyone from students to families has felt the hit at some point. Even retirees are lonely because getting out and about is too hard. 2020 in particular really hammered the point home that people need other people to thrive, and the co-living concept is more important than ever.

Traditional HMOs give residents the potential to interact, but do they go far enough? As a quick example, small and medium sized kitchens can make it hard for more than one or two people to be in there at the same time, which can stop tenants wanting to cook and eat together.

Likewise, a communal living room may not be fit for purpose if residents want to use that space for different things at the same time, such as watching TV or having a chat after work over a large glass of red wine.

This is where co-living communities in BTR set themselves apart from the HMO market.

In a co-living environment, it’s much easier to find other residents who are similar-minded to you. And there’s more space for groups of people to enjoy their time as they see fit. With their community-first approach, BTR properties encourage communities to grow, boosting the wellbeing of sociable residents.

An Easy Way of Life

Does it ever feel like you don’t get any time to yourself? You’re not alone. 6 out of 10 people surveyed said they struggle to keep life organised, with household chores and boring life admin tasks getting in the way. In all, Brits only find an average of 73 minutes for themselves per day. 

Living in an HMO can take away some of that stress. Household maintenance can be split between residents to save time, but there’s a chance housemates won’t stick to the schedule if they don’t fancy dusting.

In a co-living community, residents don’t have this issue. BTR properties are well-staffed by a support team which includes cleaners. This keeps the building sparkling without costing residents time or leading to arguments.

Living in a BTR property also makes it easier for residents to keep on top of their finances. Paying bills on time can be a headache, as there’s so many outgoings people need to think about and put into a schedule.

However, the cost of rent in BTR properties covers utilities such as water, electricity and broadband. This means residents only pay one bill with one due date.

Although the BTR co-living concept mainly takes inspiration from the HMO market, this is a good example of how private landlords can change their offering to better suit the needs of residents. An all-in-one fee covering rent, bills and services would take a lot off a resident's mind.

A Growing Need For Amenities

Another reason the HMO market has transitioned to co-living is the growing demand for a range of amenities. A kitchen, living room and garden are usually all that’s available in HMO properties. BTR can give residents more room to play around.

BTR co-living spaces offer residents a completely new way of living. Many have gyms, games rooms, restaurants and even cinemas onsite. 

Modern life has made it difficult to socialise. But by having a huge range of amenities on offer, residents can interact with one another in so many different ways.

As with all spaces in BTR properties, amenity areas have to be planned out with social interaction front of mind. Some BTR providers do this by offering group exercise classes and designing roof terraces to accommodate community events.

The important thing to remember is that amenity spaces only help form bonds if people can use them to discuss their shared interests. If not, residents may stay in their private rooms for most of the time.

What Does This Mean For HMO Market and BTR Properties?

While the HMO market has shifted towards stronger community living options, there will always be a need for both HMOs and BTR properties. For providers, the key to a successful investment is finding a way to make life easier and more inclusive for residents. This can only be done through well-designed spaces that cater to the needs of the end users.

A smaller HMO communal area can have a similar impact as a large co-living space if providers take the time to plan their Interior Design. At LOFT, our team specialises in designing living quarters that encourage social interaction, meaning we know exactly what it takes to create spaces that are fit for purpose. If you’re looking to furnish your HMO or BTR property, contact LOFT for expert guidance, services and products.

What Does This Mean For The HMO Market and Co-Living Communities?

While the HMO market has shifted towards stronger community living, there will always be a need for both HMOs and BTR properties. For landlords and building operators, the key is to find a way of making life easier and more inclusive for residents. This can only be done through well-designed spaces that work for end users.

A smaller HMO communal area can still have as strong an impact as a large co-living space if landlords take the time to plan their interior design.

Our team specialises in designing living quarters that encourage social interaction, meaning we know exactly what it takes to create spaces that are fit for purpose.

If you’re looking to furnish your HMO or BTR property to build stronger co-living communities, contact us for expert guidance, services and products.