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100,000 seniors dreaming of living in co-housing communities

The traditional collective is not that popular according to the report Danskernes Økonomiske Tryghed (The Danes’ Financial Security) which has recently been published by Danske Bank. Instead, Danes are looking for modern co-housing communities with a social life right on their doorstep. But they want to be able to opt in and out.

The demand for alternative types of living arrangements in the form of co-housing communities will increase markedly in the coming years, according to an assessment by Danske Bank.  

“Many people want a different framework to their lives, where the focus is on security and a sense of community with their neighbours. It’s an interesting trend. Among seniors in particular, we’re seeing considerable interest in senior co-housing communities,” says Bjarne Jørgensen, Head of Large Real Estate Denmark at Danske Bank and Realkredit Danmark.

He expects the aging population combined with many seniors showing an interest in alternative types of housing to lead to an increased demand for new types of housing to meet the growing demand. 

Property developers are showing an interest, but so are personal customers looking for mortgage finance when moving into co-housing. A stronger sense of community, greater security and buildings where the focus is on climate-friendly solutions are popular.

Bjarne Jørgensen

Head of Large Real Estate Denmark at Danske Bank and Realkredit Danmark

Tendency corrobarated in report
The interest in co-housing is corroborated by the Danske Bank report Danskernes Økonomiske Tryghed 2019 (The Danes’ Financial Security), which shows that up to 100,000 senior citizens dream of living in a co-housing community. 

“Senior citizens in particular like the co-housing idea. About one in ten people above the age of 65 would like to live in such a community. It might not sound like a lot. However, when you think that there are almost one million Danes who are more than 65 years old, then it equates to a lot of people wanting to move out of their single-family detached house into an alternative type of accommodation,” says Louise Aggerstrøm,  Senior Analyst in Danske Bank specialising in the Danish economy and household finances.

Modern collectives

Louise Aggerstrøm emphasises that it is certainly not only seniors who are dreaming about such alternative living arrangements. 

“The dream of joining a co-housing community is definitely most prevalent among seniors. However, if you look at Danes in general, one in 20 would like to live alternatively. Altogether, this equates to a lot of people who are dreaming about changing how and where they live,” says Louise Aggerstrøm.

People don't want to bring back 1970s' collectives
On the other hand, she does not think it is because people want to bring back 1970s’ collectives.

Our study shows that the traditional collective appeals to very few people. We want to have our very own home with a kitchen where we can invite our own guests. But when we open the door, we want facilities that ensure a sense of community which you can opt in and out of. It might be a communal building, where residents can choose to eat together etc. It might sound like a collective, but in a more modern form with fewer shared responsibilities, which we can see appeals to a lot of seniors but also to many families with young children.

Louise Aggerstrøm Hansen

Senior Analyst, Danske Bank

Louise Aggerstrøm stresses that, although many of us are dreaming of alternative ways of living, it does not necessarily mean that we end up realising our dreams. 

A very strong trend - also in the coming years
Bjarne Jørgensen from Realkredit Danmark agrees. However, he nevertheless believes that it is a very strong trend, and he is therefore convinced that we will see many more co-housing communities in the coming years. 

“We’ve seen examples of people spending the night queuing up when units in new co-housing communities are being sold. This testifies to the level of interest that we’re seeing on the ground,” he says. 

However, he says that you need to do your homework and carefully consider the financial implications of living in a co-housing community as well as terms in general.