Moving to a new city is never easy. The prospect of searching for suitable housing, completing a never-ending list of administrative tasks and doing it all from abroad is a daunting one in the best of cases. In an oversaturated housing market like Luxembourg’s, it can be a real nightmare. Coliving operators and want to change that.
The term ‘coliving’ used to refer to sharing a living space with other people. Today, the term’s emphasis has upscaled to include notions of luxury, freedom and, most importantly, community.
This shift is as much a symptom of changing preferences as it is of a housing market in crisis. Rising immigration rates, skyrocketing rental prices and stagnating salaries – rental prices increase at three times the rate compared to salaries – are making it increasingly harder for locals to find housing, not to mention immigrants and expats.
Vauban&Fort: A “Home Away From Home”
Founded in 2015 by co-founder and CFO Jerome Ensch, Vauban&Fort is one of Luxembourg’s oldest coliving businesses. Its goal is to connect like-minded tenants and help people to feel at home in a new country.
“Vauban&Fort solves the problem of finding quality accommodation and making sure that you live with clean, respectful and fun individuals. It addresses the need for a real home away from home rather than just looking for a base,” says Jerome Ensch.
Helping expats create a “home away from home” has become increasingly important. With rising immigration rates, especially high qualified workers, there is a real demand for high-quality spaces that not only house you but also provide an avenue for connecting you to people in the same situation.
“The rental market as such was stuck in the previous decade where the ideal tenant of most property owners was a couple.”
Jerome Ensch, co-founder & CEO of Vauban&Fort
A Slow Market
While coliving opportunities have seen a massive increase in Europe, Luxembourg’s real estate market took a while to adapt to this new demand.
“The rental market was stuck in the previous decade where the ideal tenant of most property owners was a family. Most owners did not understand the advantages of using a reputable coliving operator – such as the guaranteed rental income – and often associated outdated clichés to this new way of living together,” says Jerome.
Coliving Made Easy
By offering a ‘plug and play’ solution care of the administrative tasks, Vauban&Fort enables tenants to fully focus on settling in and connecting with new people – which they encourage by carefully vetting their tenants and hosting different social events.
Coliving not only solves problems for tenants but also for property owners. Many coliving operators offer the “master lease” – a sort of total management of the property, which guarantees the rent long term, includes cleaning services, maintenance and regular property checkups at no additional cost.
“Property owners take advantage of our guaranteed rental return for years and get peace of mind to focus on other things that really matter to them,” says Jerome.
“Compared to hotels which suffered a lot during Covid-19, the coliving sector barely took a hit.”
Nicolas Legay, co-founder of Cocoonut
Cocoonut: A Resting Place For Newcomers
Founded in 2020 by Nicolas Legay and Aurélien Dobbels, Cocoonut is another promising startup which focuses on coliving. A combination of ‘coconut’ and ‘cocoon’, its name is reflective of its migratory clients for whom they want to create a safe living space.
Similar to Vauban&Fort, Cocoonut aims to facilitate expats and immigrants’ integration into a new country by focussing on creating a community, taking care of administrative tasks and giving them a beautifully designed and fully furnished space.
What sets Coconuut apart from its competition is its mix of both private and shared spaces. All their rooms offer a private bathroom and toilet, a dressing, and an office. The shared spaces always include a kitchen and a living room and can include a rooftop, a gym or a projection room.
Temporary Social Housing
Their demographic consists of highly educated professionals between the ages of 20-45 who are looking for a temporary place in Luxembourg before they can find a long-term solution for their housing needs.
Given the current status of Luxembourg’s housing market, these professionals often take half a year to find a house that fits their needs. With a minimum rental period of 6 months, Cocoonut gives them ample time to settle in a coliving space that feels like home while at the same time enabling them to take part in a plethora of social activities.
“Coliving Here To Stay”
According to the study One Shared House 2030, 70% of all people will live in cities by 2030. While the coliving models espoused by Vauban&Fort and Cocoonut living are still relatively new, Cocoonut’s co-founders believe they will only accelerate.
“Not only is coliving here to stay, it will also accelerate. Furthermore, the robustness of the business model is very strong. Compared to hotels which suffered a lot during Covid-19, the coliving sector barely took a hit,” says Nicolas Legay.
“Short-term and temporary housing is desperately needed in competitive housing markets, such as Luxembourg.”
Matheus Sequeiros, Managing Partner of Arca Properties
Arca Properties: The Flexible Business Solution
Founded nearly two years ago, by co-founders Matheus Sequeiros and Giacomo Trenz, Arca Properties is Luxembourg’s solution for short-term corporate needs.
“Short-term and temporary housing is desperately needed in competitive housing markets, such as Luxembourg but lacks a professional service, especially for corporate standard rental solutions,” says Matheus Sequeiros, Managing Partner.
Whereas both Vauban&Fort’s and Cocoonut’s coliving solutions are for tenants staying for at least 6 months, Arca Properties specialises in short-term stays. These fall into two categories: 4-7 days for business or leisure travellers and 1-2 months for tenants looking to relocate.
Experts In Short-Term Housing
A further differentiator of Arca Properties’ solution is that individual properties are rented as serviced apartments/houses. All units are designed uniquely to create a great experience and fulfil the standards required by corporations/business travellers.
Furthermore, Arca Properties provides a property management service which takes over the work of property owners who lack the expertise or time to manage short-term rentals.
“We understand the need of our clients that do not have the time nor the appropriate knowledge to act on the short-term market, where Arca Properties comes in and provides a professional service. We stand for quality, convenience and reactivity,” says Matheus Sequeiros.
While Luxembourg’s coliving and corporate rental market are still in their infancy, together, Vauban&Fort, Cocoonut and Arca Properties already cover the entire spectrum of your needs.
This article was first published in Silicon Luxembourg magazine. Get your copy.