The Surprising Housing Trend Embraced By China's Millennials

Photo: via You+.
Roughly 5,000 people across China are now reportedly living in communal living places created by the company You+.
The one-bedroom dwelling offers an office space, a bar, and a game room in the middle of a bustling metropolis, surrounding by some of the country's hottest start-ups.

At $500 a month, it might seem too good to be true.

Here's the catch: You'd have to live with hundreds of roommates.

For a growing number of millennials in China, that trade-off has serious appeal. An estimated 5,000 people in China are now calling communal living spaces known as You+ their homes, according to Bloomberg Business.

And it's not just homes they're sharing. In a start contrast to the big spending by China's fuerdai — a swath of uber-wealthy (and oft-hated) twenty- and thirtysomethings — many young people are cutting down on personal possessions and relying on the sharing economy for everything from cars to pets.

While co-living and other forms of downsizing at home (à la Marie Kondo) are gaining popularity among young adults around the world — including in the United States — surveys suggest China is prime real estate for the less-is-more lifestyle to grow.

One Nielsen survey cited by Bloomberg Business found 94% of Chinese were open to sharing. In North America, support for such an idea is at a mere 43%.

And though the lifestyle may seem reminiscent of the communal living mandated under the rule of Communist Chairman Mao Zedong, young adopters of the trend say they're making the choice to live together on their own terms.

“I am a person of my times,” Tyler Xiong, a 28-year-old entrepreneur living in a You+ development, told Bloomberg Business. “But this is also my choice.”

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