The European housing market is transitioning. After an economic crises that put the housing market in dark times with a drastic decrease in the demand for new built houses, we now see the tides changing. One of these transitions is noticeable in the Netherlands, where the influence of single households is increasing. According to recent numbers from the national Dutch statistics institution CBS, the number of single household will have grown to one million by the time we reach 2040. This requires new creative solutions.
Renting or buying a house on your own is often an enormous task, especially in big cities. How can you avoid this? The answer is: by living together with your friends, even when you are no longer a student. Real estate developer AM is tapping into this new market by starting to build several different so-called ‘friend-houses’ in the North of Amsterdam. After developing De Studio in Bos en Lommer (a neighbourhood in the west of Amsterdam), AM noticed that there is a high demand in Amsterdam for living together with likeminded people. AM expected to attract mostly students, but they surprisingly interested many people in their late twenties as well. A micro-community was formed with joint meals in the hallway, evenings filled with games and a variety of events. What could be concluded from this community was the fact that living together with friends was not chosen merely for financial gain, but that the social aspect plays an equally important role.
The friends houses from AM are suitable for single households: the bedrooms have the same size and the living room, kitchen and bathroom are shared. These houses target people that just started their first job, earning roughly between 25 to 30 thousand euros a year. The registration for these houses has already started!
The AM is the first project that builds houses specifically for friends. Multiple municipalities in the Netherlands already showed interest in the concept. However, constructions aimed at living together with friends, already has been set up in existing buildings. In the last couple of years real estate corporations like Stadgenoot and Rochdale have been targeting friend groups by making it easier for them to live together from a legal perspective.
A village of your own
Anyone who has a lot of money to spend should consider building a house with friends, or rebuilding an existing school or farm into multiple livable spaces. People are in search of each others comfort and want to share their living space with loved ones.
To see a concrete example of this concept, you can take a look at the Llano Exit Strategy in Austin, Texas, where four befriended couples build their own village together on empty land. They built four small houses and built a place where there is plenty of possibility to cook, eat and laugh together.
This article has been translated in English, you can find the original article (in Dutch) here.