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Is ‘co-living’ Dubai’s next big residential trend?

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The newest residential trend to sweep Dubai could be “co-living”, especially for professionals and entrepreneurs working from home, a new study suggests.

Not to be confused with sharing rooms, co-living is relatively new to Dubai. It refers to residents of a small community of private apartments sharing common spaces, such as an office or business center.

Co-living provides small business owners and work-from-home millennials access to work spaces from close to their doorstep, instead of renting an office or commuting to a job.

A number of developers in Dubai have launched co-living projects to cater to young professionals and millennials, Property Finder said, noting Dubai has seen 902 registered transactions (both off-plan and secondary) for co-living spaces to date.

Growing trend?

“We have started and will continue to see this trend grow here. Not only is it affordable, but it’s also popular with millennials as they want to be part of a community, yet have their own personal space,” said Lynnette Abad, Director of Research and Data, Property Finder.

“We have also seen some creative schemes with Emaar and DMCC [Dubai Multi Commodities Centre] offering a trade licence and residency with a unit within a co-living project. This is an excellent incentive for those with small, home-based businesses or freelancers.”


Projects like Collective, Collective 2.0 and Socio at Dubai Hills Estate (in Mohammed Bin Rashid City) account for most sales in the co-living segment.

UNA, developed by Nshama at Town Square, is also a co-living and co-working project featuring 192 studios and 764 one-bedroom apartments. Meanwhile, KOA’s Canvas project off Mohammad Bin Zayed Road is targeted at millennials too.

How much does it cost to buy?

In terms of sales price, Nshama’s UNA is priced most competitively among co-living projects, with a studio costing around Dh450,000 to buy. In comparison, a studio at Collective is priced at around Dh680,000.

For a one-bedroom apartment, the price is most competitive at UNA again (Dh558,000), followed by Socio at Dh673,000 and Collective at around Dh700,000.

A one-bedroom in KOA’s Canvas is more expensive, at Dh982,000. The two-bedroom apartments in all these co-living projects are priced at around Dh1 million, with Canvas bearing a higher price tag of Dh2.75 million.

What about rental rates?

Although all co-living projects in Dubai are currently under construction, these units, once ready, are “likely to be cheaper to rent than a regular apartment”, Property Finder said. This is the trend in bigger cities where co-living spaces offer “a significant discount” compared to regular apartments.

Transactional volume

In terms of registered transactions, Emaar’s Collective has seen 372 deals in total since launch, Socio is at 200, Collective 2.0 is at 135, KOA’s Canvas is at 7 and Nshama’s UNA is at 183.

Since all the co-living projects are under construction, the focus is on off-plan sales. In 2019, Collective 2.0 has seen 123 off-plan transactions, Emaar has sold 221 off-plan homes in Collective, 193 homes in Socio and Nshama has sold nine such homes in UNA this year.

Collective and Socio topped quarter one of 2019 in terms of off-plan sales volume, according to Property Finder, a leading digital real estate platform in the Middle East and North Africa region, which was founded in 2007 in the UAE.

What is co-living?

Carla M. Issa, Senior Research Analyst, Property Finder, told Gulf News co-living spaces are not a new concept globally, but are relatively new to Dubai.

They are spaces that are generally geared towards younger people who often have jobs that allow them to work remotely and thus the space they live in, is also one where they can work from and also socialise and meet other “like-minded individuals”.

She said spaces in Dubai that have cropped up in this sector are in Dubai Hills Estate, where units are a bit smaller in size than what we traditionally see for a one bedroom, and have convertible spaces such as a sliding glass door to close off the bedroom from the living space.

“I would not say that co-living spaces are cheaper than other apartments, especially considering that these are new construction and mostly by Emaar, but the convenience factor of not having to commute to an office everyday does have its price. As this trend becomes more popular in Dubai in terms of demand, we will see prices become more affordable as well,” Issa added.

When will the projects be ready?

In Dubai Hills Estate, “we are expected to see Collective complete by June 2021, NShama’s UNA by December 2020 and Socio by March 2021. Collective 2.0 is due in 2021”.

June asking prices for Collective were Dh849,000 on average; UNA’s average asking price for the same month was Dh521,000.

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