Our interview with Zoku International
Viviana: Johannes, what trends in the property market are you seeing at the moment?
Johannes: For us, there are three major trends which will have a lasting effect on the residential property market. First of all, there is the shortage of flats for rent in Germany’s major cities; living space in urban areas is becoming ever less affordable, and one effect of this is that apartments are becoming smaller and smaller. At the same time, we are seeing a blurring of the boundaries between hotels, serviced apartments, and standard residential flats.
Viviana: Are the effects of this already visible in any way in societal terms? How would you describe the next generation of residential tenants?
Johannes: As a rule, the number of people moving into urban areas always rises. What has changed, though, is that the new arrivals want to stay flexible – i.e. to able to switch cities. As the employment market evolves, workers are changing jobs more frequently, with the result that they are moving ever more frequently between cities and even countries. They are losing their personal links to places as they move every six to 18 months.
Viviana: What needs do people who change their environment so frequently have?
Johannes: One thing is clear: they all want to meet new people and make connections as fast as possible, because despite the density of people, loneliness is becoming a huge problem. This means that approaches to creating communities are becoming increasingly important; what is still missing, though, is the key to unlocking genuinely communicative forms of living. Simply putting smaller flats onto the market doesn’t help people get to know each other, after all.
Another need which is linked to this is the need for flexibility: no-one wants to sign a rental contract for longer than 12 months now. There is also an increase in demand for all-inclusive solutions, because sorting out a new internet connection, buying furniture, etc. takes time, costs money, and is not something people want to have to do every few months.
Viviana: So convenience, flexibility, and community are the key words here. Can co-living fill in these gaps and respond to people’s needs? And how would you define the term?
Johannes: Looking at from a wholly rational point of view first, co-living is an efficient hybrid space concept; but it really is about more than just packing as many people into as few square metres as possible. The most important element is to offer people a social environment in which they can take part quickly and actively help them to meet the right people for them.
Viviana: How do you define what the ‘right people’ are?
Johannes: It’s easiest to make a connection to people who share your lifestyle, your values, and your needs.
Viviana: Which cities are the best cities for this kind of concept? What sets them apart and what do they have in common?
Johannes: The cities that this generation of tenants wants to live in are, first and foremost, European centres. In Germany, that means the Top 7, where international companies are present and where this generations finds the wealth of restaurants, cafés, and co-working spaces it wants – and other people from other places, too. That makes a good international airport important, too.
Zoku’s mission is to offer each guest precisely the kind of home-base they are looking for, whether for one night, for a few weeks, or for several years. Wherever we can, we offer all of this in one location (but planning regulations don’t always allow us to).
ATTENTION! Read more about microapartments – the mega-trend in urban living – in our recently published report!Cushman & Wakefield
Subscribe to our Blog!