What is cohousing and why is it becoming so popular in Europe ?.

In Europe, the so-called cohousing is gaining popularity, which allows those who do not have sufficient resources to buy real estate to find housing..

It all began in the 60s of the last century in Denmark, when several families united their efforts to improve their living conditions without the risk of falling into «slavery» to the banks. This practice spread throughout the country, and later spread to Norway and Sweden. In essence, cohousing is a housing community in which the owner of the property is not a person or a family, but a cooperative..

An individual or family makes an entry fee by becoming a member of a cooperative and receives housing. In such cases, tenants pay for the rent and maintenance of the adjacent territory, and the bank loan is paid by the entire cooperative, while the size of the monthly quotas decreases as the mortgage is repaid. Residents will never be able to redeem the premises into ownership, but they can inherit it, lease it, live only for a certain period. Upon leaving the cooperative, they receive their entrance fee back. Forced eviction is also possible if the tenant does not comply with the established norms of behavior or does not regularly pay.

In Scandinavia, such communities are very popular, and this popularity is only growing. This is not surprising — renting such housing costs a small amount, and monthly «cooperative» contributions do not hit the family budget. In addition, cohousing companies receive generous subsidies from governments, which allows for lower registration fees and monthly payments..

When buying or building a cohousing, participants make an initial contribution, but the main share of financing is a bank loan, in which the building itself acts as a guarantee of payment. Most often, old buildings are used to create cohousing, which are adapted to new conditions. At the same time, subsidies are received from the government for the restoration of old buildings, which helps both the country and the cooperative..

When selling, not the area is sold, but the right to live in it. In addition to the buyer and seller, a directive neighbor is involved in the transaction, who can both approve and reject a potential new tenant. The permission to sell the living space is issued by the cohousing board, and when the transaction is concluded, the compliance of the price with the established tariffs is checked. The money first goes to the management of the cooperative, and the seller receives it only after it has been proven that there are no debts on his part.

As this model of property ownership becomes more popular, long waiting lists have begun to appear. Often these are priority lists, and those who want to sell their shares must make a deal with someone on the waiting list..

The price for housing in cohousing is formed in accordance with the area, condition, availability of household appliances and furniture. If the cohousing belongs to a public organization, then the cost of housing may not change for a long time, but this is not like a hostel in Moscow. In other cases, the property price adapts to market realities, but does not exceed the established maximum.

For example, in Copenhagen, the average down payment for a 50-meter apartment is 7000 euros, and the monthly fees are 220 euros. Buying a similar apartment in the private sector will cost 140 thousand.

After the global crisis, cohousing appeared in other European countries — Ireland, Italy, Spain, France, Great Britain. They also appear in North America, New Zealand and Australia..

Is cohousing possible in Russia?

Russia in this sense lags behind other countries. The development of cohousing is hampered by history, psychology and even the country’s climate. However, there is something else — ecovillages. The people living in the community have a common dining room, refrigerator, laundry, and food storage. There are libraries, a car park, a free clothes exchange office, etc. But such settlements have an internal money system and no independent finance, which is one of the main differences from cohousing. In fact, ecovillages, in which everything is based on mutual trust, is a communal community. Although it is in Russia, especially in the context of modern real estate prices, the Scandinavian model would help a very large number of individuals and families to acquire their own comfortable apartment.