Student dorms for adults? The housing crises and emergence of “co-living” homes in new developments

Details of Lewisham Gateway’s Phase 2 are now available online. This is the big scheme, covered recently, in front of Lewisham station.

So what is new? Well, it’s changed from zero “affordable” housing to 10%, which is paid for by the taxpayer in the form of a £10 million fund through the Housing Infrastructure Fund.

Even then it’s at London Living Rent levels which are 66% of market levels.

Then there’s the existence of co-living homes. I hadn’t noticed this before though this may have always been there. What’s that you ask? It looks all sexy and modern in renderings with people sharing stuff such as on-site cinemas. Doesn’t sound too bad at all.

Well, what it often means is a small studio room with the occupants having to share facilities such as kitchens. Thought you’d left all that behind as a teenager? Well, this looks like it could become the norm for many adults. Fair enough if you choose it but high costs will push more people into this. Many are already forced into house shares.


If you want to know why the vote in urban areas for the Tories has taken a nosedive with Corbyn topping the poles with strong support amongst younger people, this kind of thing explains it. Paying ever increasing amounts for less and less with the wider effect of less disposable income to spend in the economy.

Oh, I forgot, it’s all going on avocado and weekends in Berlin at £700 a pop.

Throw in ever-rising transport costs on rail and the cost of living keeps rising for those who havn’t been lucky enough to buy before endless government intervention propped up land prices, house prices and rents becomes ridiculous, or have parents with money to help out.

Meritocracy? Not anymore for many. It’s getting to the point when even skilled professions like doctors, who have trained for seven years and racked up tens of thousands in student loans, have to rent tiny flats or live way out in the sticks if there’s no parental help, and then commute long distances adding to transport pressures. No wonder social mobility is falling sharply.

Government action?

Given all the build-up to the budget people wondered if Chancellor Philip Hammond had learnt much from the election where the Tories badly under-performed in cities and amongst under-35s.

The announcement of large increases in rail tickets of 3.4 % next year plus ever more measures that’ll ultimately boost the underlying problems in housing of  increasing costs above and beyond wage increases (resulting in more and more schemes such as co-living and help to buy) shows he hasn’t.

So expect more boxes for people to live in, and even then unaffordable to many, with ever increasing voter resentment. If Corbyn wins the Tories can’t say they didn’t see the warning signs, yet did little about it. The spirit of the post-war Tories under Churchill and MacMaillan, who built big (above 300k new homes a year) is long gone.

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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

11 thoughts on “Student dorms for adults? The housing crises and emergence of “co-living” homes in new developments

  • Really, a small room with shared communal facilities is the best that we can do? Whilst land and property prices continue to be sky high, there is no incentive to do better.

  • A few things that’s causing the housing crisis:

    Ever increasing population of which open door immigration from Europe has some part to play (simple demand and supply).

    Breakdown of families – Partners separate and they each need a separate place to live.

    London-centric – London is a victim of it’s own success/hype meaning all the businesses, national stadiums etc like to have a presence here, meaning more people gravitate to London increasing demand (which also affects our infrastructure)

    The biggest reason – Until we sort this problem out, we will not solve anything – Our monetary system!!! We have a debt-based currency, meaning to create money, we have to get into every increasing debt (both national and individually) which we pay interest on. Once we pay our debts, the money supply in the economy shrinks (ie credit crunch).
    Interest rates are artificially far far too low – the historic average is around 5-7% I think.
    Because rates are so low, people are forced to speculate in the stock market and property to chase higher yields bidding up prices, otherwise savers will be wiped out by inflation.

    Simply, rates need to rise 0.25% every quarter until we reach 4-5% imo.
    This will create mass havoc in the economy in the short term but it’s necessary to flush out mal- investment and create a more balanced economy
    Politically, this is suicide so we’ll continue making the same mistakes.

  • Ah, the old bugbear immigration. What about the buy to let slumlords who pack their rickety houses with the said immigrants, or the local authorities who are sitting on millions of pounds but refuse to spend it on good quality, low cost housing? There is money in keeping the supply of land and controlling what gets built.

    • I did say the rise in population of which open door immigration has a PART to play (it’s not all the cause) – hence my other point in the rest of the post!
      The ONS has predicted that approx. 50% of the growth of population will be from immigration (reported by The Guardian).
      I’m the son of immigrants (my parents came from India in the 70’s) so any accusation of racism or xenophobia etc doesn’t wash with me

      Yes land building is an issue, but imo not as much as an affect as demand & the price of money/interest rates – Simply raise interest rates and watch most investors exit the market.
      Why do you think the price of not just property, but fine art, precious metals and currently Bitcoin has shot up?

      Like I said in my previous post, politically it will be suicide.
      It’s the lack of faith of fiat currency!

      • *I should have typed land banking, not land building!

      • I am also the child of immigrants and am a little shocked that you should even mention the open door policy which benefited both our parents, ourselves and the country.

        The housing shortage does not lie at the door of the latest wave of immigration, but rather in government policy, the power of big developer and supine local authorities who just roll over on planning gain challenges.

        • My parents didn’t benefit from ‘open door’ policy.
          They came from India so they had to go through a process before coming over & applied for citizenship.

          To say that immigration is a benefit for the country is just a blanket statement. It has benefits AND negative affects. Some people benefit economically, some people don’t and then there is the social cohesion element (again good AND bad).

          If I went to a bar in say central london, the doorman will let me in easily after checking my id and person. As the evening goes by, more and more people are let in until the bar gets too busy,. There are ques for the toilets and bar, people are more likely to bump into each other, increased chance of trouble etc.
          Now I would argue that I have the right to complain that the the bar is too packed and they shouldn’t let anymore people in. It’s irrelevant that I was able to get in easy and without any hassle – the circumstances have changed since.

          As for your last comment of the housing shortage. To say it doesn’t lie in the latest wave of immigration and it’s only down to government/local council policy is blind-sided.
          Where do you think a large part of the demand of housing comes from? There is a population increase and a big PART of that increase is immigration.
          Yes planning and development are also a cause, but to say it has nothing to do with immigration is ridiculous

  • ‘The immigrants have taken all our housing’ is something I expect to hear from UKIP or English nationalist fringe parties. You refuse to recognise the complexities of the current housing shortage, so there is no point in continued dialogue.

    • I did not say the immigrants took all the housing – re-read all of my post!
      I said it was a contributing factor (with the increase in population of which immigration is a big part of).
      Infact I said the biggest reason was our monetary system – historical low interest rates which mean investors and savers had to chase a higher yield and went into property and some other factors – all pushing up demand & therefore price!

      I understand the complexities, it’s you refuses to read all of what I have posted and picked up only on the immigration factor.

      Typical condescending reply which supressed reasonable debate about immigration for over a decade by shouting racist/xenophobe etc and inturn the Brexit & Trump vote was part consequence of that shutting down of the debate.

      • I agree with most of what you said. I think it’s absolutely correct. I also think that housing fraud is another reason for shortage. There’s people with 2 social housing homes and they are renting out one and living in the other. The whole system is a joke.
        Private landlords are charging too much for rooms and flats the size of a shoebox. It’s ridiculous!!

        • Thank you Samina.
          I’m glad that you can also see the reasons without being triggered!

          There was a programme on the BBC which looked into housing fraud (right to buy) in which there were a few cases in Greenwich Borough where people were playing the system/committing fraud


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