Cohoming: Could it be the Next Airbnb for Investors?
Investors should keep an eye out for Cohoming, the latest gig in the sharing economy. While in its early stages, the idea represents another way that property can be used as an investment. Its success could have the same impact on the market that Airbnb has had.
The Cohoming platform, founded by Parisians Laura Choisy and Celine Martinet, allows freelancers to share living space for work purposes. Freelancers charge a small fee to guests, typically a few Euros per day, in exchange for sharing their home as a workplace. For now, it is a non-corporate collaborative effort, as its founders are only too keen to stress. However, it could be significant for property investment in Paris and other cities in the future. The site was born in Paris but already has offshoots in other major cities around the country.
The more well-known gig in the sharing economy, Airbnb has had a huge impact in this area. While most often it is used by regular residents looking to recuperate costs by renting out an extra bedroom, it has also spawned the professional Airbnb investor. A report by the New York State Office found that 6% of Airbnb’s hosts in its city own multiple properties and earn millions a year. The research is lacking for Paris, but many investors are certainly doing the same here. Could the future see the emergence of a professional Cohoming investor too?
The marriage of office space and home is not far-fetched, and makes sense financially. Mixed use of residential properties might afford landlords or long-term renters some needed flexibility to offset other expenses. Cohome at least is a pragmatic and cost-efficient solution to two Paris phenomena: rising rents and an increase in freelancers looking for work space. The city itself is also actively looking for creative solutions to its housing shortage, including a recent move to convert office space into homes. Real estate that provides both is could be a more streamlined and efficient approach than fully converting a property’s use designation.
At least for the moment, Cohome does not necessarily run afoul of the increasingly strict restrictions Paris imposes on overnight short term rentals. If the trend – and the prices – grow, look to the city to regulate and potentially tax its users.
Either way, the concept has potential, and investors should keep an eye out.
image © WikiCommons