What’s behind Sweden’s unlikely co-living craze

52% of Swedes live alone — the highest rate among European countries

(Credit: iStock)
(Credit: iStock)

In a country where 52% of households are single people, co-living would seem like a unlikely bet, but a dire housing shortage seems to fueling a societal shift.

Residential properties in Stockholm marketed as co-living quarters have increasingly started to attract tenants discouraged by the conventional rental housing market, according to the New York Times.

Though Stockholm is often cited as one of the best European cities for everyday living, the Swedish capital has little rental housing available, especially for lease terms longer than a year. (Owners generally are prohibited from subletting apartments for more than a year.)

A study by the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce found that conditions in the housing market have discouraged as many as 150,000 people from moving to the city since 1995. Rent control has also discouraged residential real estate development and contributed to the scarcity of rental housing.

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Stockholm’s mayor, Anna Konig Jerlmyr, called co-living “a solution for so many problems we have in our city.”

In response, local co-living companies are beginning to open up properties outfitted with shared housing spaces.

Last year, two Swedes founded the company, Colive, and their first location opens next month for 11 residents. There’s also K9, a former hotel that was converted into a co-living property in 2016 and now houses 50 residents.

Colive founder Liljestam Beyer told the Times that the company plans to create tens of thousands of units in new locations over the next 10 years: “We are going to make co-living a new way of living in Sweden.” [NYT] – Mike Seemuth