The Price of Living in an Intentional Community

One of the largest expenses for American families is housing; in 2019, two-person households on average spent 32% of their income on housing. While single people spent just over 38% of their income for a place to live.

Therefore, it seems natural that many people are thinking about how to cut their daily expenses. The single-family way of life can start to lose some of its appeal if there is a sense of loneliness and a need for more social interaction. Living together is one way to get out of this problem. This approach, often referred to as cohousing, co-dwelling, or intentional living, tries to bring together the advantages of living alone with small-town life.

Main Points
Although communal living is nothing new, it is growing in acceptance as a method to make friends and possibly cut costs.
Cohousing choices include luxurious structures with hotel-style amenities and planned communities of single-family houses constructed around shared gardens and swimming pools.
Consider aspects including cost, privacy, necessary contributions like cooking or upkeep, and social options before committing to community living.

What Are Cohousing and Intentional Living?

The idea of co-living is not new; dormitories have been used by institutions for hundreds of years, and model homes from the Victorian era provided affordable housing for the “laboring classes.” The Pew Research Center estimates that 20% of Americans live in multigenerational homes, which are prevalent in many cultures. 2 Of course, the “Golden Girls” popularized cohousing for seniors to a large portion of TV viewers.

Cohousing is based on the straightforward principle that several homes share a common area and facilities. Communal dwelling examples include:

  • A collection of homes or condos gathered around a common garden or swimming pool.
  • A tall structure that gives occupants access to a juice bar and exercise equipment within.
  • Grandparents who share meals or gatherings with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren while residing in a separate suite.

The concept of cohousing is the same, regardless of its many diverse forms: Residents share various elements of their lives, typically through meals, celebrations, and activities. These social gatherings can range in complexity from modest weekly dinners and movie nights to lavish holiday extravaganzas. Some communities may additionally have obligations, such providing meals once a month or maintaining a communal garden.

What’s Driving Intentional Living’s Rise in Popularity

Cohousing is becoming more popular, and not simply because it’s enjoyable. Some people may choose intentional living due to the appealing amenities and the potential to develop close relationships with others. Another potential advantage is the chance to save money, particularly for lower-income individuals for whom the cost of housing is disproportionately high. Comparatively, those earning between $100,000 and $150,000 a year spend 31% of their income on housing, while those making less than $15,000 a year spend 40%.

Cohousing may be appealing to mobile and location-independent employees who love moving about freely and frequently. These requirements are met by a large number of contemporary co-living complexes, which provide fully furnished apartments and adjustable renting terms so that residents are never bound by a lease.

Despite the fact that businesses typically charge more for this convenience, the hassle-free experience might be worthwhile.

Since purposeful living is centered on community, it can give digital nomads and remote workers a sense of home even while they’re far from it.

How Much Does Living in a Community Cost?

For people who want to conserve money while still living close to the action in famously pricey areas like Los Angeles, purposeful living may be appealing. But is communal living less expensive than living alone? Let’s examine the statistics for one LA suburb.

The monthly cost of communal living at the Penmar complex near Venice Beach, which offers free Wi-Fi and daily cleaning, may be as low as $795. When compared to the median rent of $2,900 for a one-bedroom apartment as reported by RentHop, co-living may start to seem like a really attractive option. Naturally, you won’t get all you want at this price; you’ll probably give up privacy and space for affordability. However, such compromise can be justified.

In other places, neighborhoods with single-family houses are offered by intentional living communities. For instance, the average price of a property in Boulder, Colorado’s Wild Sage cohousing community is $725,000, which is higher than the cost of a home in the Denver metro area on average. Residents do contribute to the shared upkeep of common areas, which lowers homeowners association (HOA) dues.

There are some cohousing choices with first-rate features. Starting at $3,091 per month, studios in the WeLiving community in New York City come furnished, with housekeeping services, a staff member on duty around-the-clock at the front desk, and a communal chef’s kitchen.

In summary, shared living prices can range from cheap pods to pricey premium condos to tight-knit neighborhoods, depending on your needs, location, and desired level of community engagement.

How to Decide If Cohousing Is for You

You’ll need to think about a lot more than just money when determining whether to move into community living. Cohousing can be more affordable, but you’ll also be living with an extended family. As you think about whether co-living is a good fit for you, pose these questions to yourself:

  • How important is privacy to you? Would you rather have your own private suite or would you be content to share a kitchen and living area?
  • Do you anticipate enjoying your community’s daily, weekly, or monthly get-togethers?
  • Do you wish to provide your time or skills, like cooking or gardening?
  • Do you prefer a community with a lot of new people or one with a longer history?

Before making a decision, it’s crucial to take these things into account, especially if you’re considering about purchasing a house in a co-housing community. Regardless of what you choose, intentional living communities are a growingly popular choice that provide community as well as a place to call home.

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