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Role of the sharing economy in the Polish economy. Cushman & Wakefield presents its latest report “Co-living – a new era for the real estate investment market in Poland”

Mira Kantor-Pikus • 03/03/2020
Co-living is making inroads into the Polish real estate market. It is a trend where residents share living space and a set of interests and values in line with their financial capabilities - it has already gained traction in the United States and Western Europe, but is just beginning to emerge in Poland, thereby offering a huge growth potential.

Demographic and cultural shifts, new technologies, the growing consumer environmental awareness, and financial motives have driven interest in co-living in Poland. This form of housing offers such advantages as flexibility, mobility, and no long-term financial obligations. Important also are the opportunity to build a mini-community, the feeling of being part of it, and lack of loneliness. Regardless of their respective target groups, co-living spaces have one feature in common: instead of freehold they offer leases of minimum residential space with ample shared spaces, amenities and other service,” – says Małgorzata Dziubińska, Associate Director, Consulting & Research, Cushman & Wakefield.

In response to market needs

The growth of the sharing economy is being driven, among other things, by demographics shifts, says Cushman & Wakefield’s report. The middle class, which remains a driver of the global economy, is the fastest-growing social class and currently accounts for more than half of the world’s population – for the first time in human history. Interestingly enough, the number of overseas students enrolled in Poland is growing at pace - it has already topped 78,000, having posted an almost 8% increase last year. Polish universities can accommodate only a limited number of overseas students. Jakub Bartos, Head of Residential in Golub GetHouse, comments: “Purpose-built student accommodation is one of the most prospective real estate sectors in Poland. I am confident that demand for modern spaces in student houses will continue to grow, because the latest market data shows that the existing facilities can accommodate just about 9% of all students.”

Co-living for retirees

The sharing economy will be increasingly relevant to seniors as the World Health Organisation estimates that the proportion of the world’s population aged over 60 will double by 2050 from about 11% to 22% and the absolute number of seniors will increase from 605 million to 2 billion over the same period.

In Poland, there is a dearth of modern senior housing projects, for the time being at least. In addition, “Social Cohesion Survey 2015” indicates that seniors are generally less active when it comes to social interactions than people from younger age groups. According to experts, a partial or full retirement does not have to be an end to living an active social life. Quite on the contrary, it is an excellent opportunity for seniors to begin being active or continue to enjoy their previous lifestyles. Senior housing, or co-living for retirees, could provide answers to multiple problems. Senior housing projects based on an appropriate concept and developed in suitable locations will enable the elderly to pursue their passions and interests, take care of one another, and to socialize.

“Demand for long-term in-patient care continues to show a steady increase – by 2035 a third of Polish people will be aged 65 years and over. By creating vibrant places, ORPEA Polska is overcoming the stereotypes associated with nursing homes, and by developing a network of facilities in or close to city centres, it is helping to maintain contacts with families and friends and to enable their residents to take part in cultural and social life,” says Beata Leszczyńska, President of ORPEA Polska.

Co-living for young professionals

The report also explores the theme of young professionals and labour market changes. The technology boom, generational changes and the rise of the sharing economy are reshaping the traditional ways of how we work and use office and living space. The lifestyle of young generations is changing and young adults are becoming increasingly mobile. How does it look in the Polish capital? Warsaw had and still has many furnished offerings, but they are particular, without any additional value to the user; we decided to expand and simplify moving into Warsaw while providing the ideal experience while living in. The strong presence of international companies, boosted by Brexit, resulted in thousands of new positions for young professionals. With the highest percentage of local graduates in Poland's history, the shifting of the Start-Up city from Berlin, the growth of hipster culture in Praga and the affordable cost of living, Warsaw's attractiveness will continue to rise and so will the need for fully equipped living spaces in the city,” says Yoni Karako, Co-Founder and CEO, Vonder.

More in Cushman & Wakefield’s report

The “Co-living – a new era for the real estate investment market in Poland” report was unveiled during a business breakfast in Warsaw’s Elektrownia Powiśle complex on Tuesday, 3 March 2020. Topics on the agenda included types of co-living, alternative real estate investments and financing, and legal and tax matters. The speakers from global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield were: Mira Kantor-Pikus, Partner, Capital Markets Equity, Debt & Alternative Investments, Małgorzata Dziubińska, Associate Director, Consulting & Research, and Katarzyna Lipka-Nawrocka Associate Director, Consulting & Research Manager.


The event also hosted a discussion panel “The many facets of housing projects – an assessment from the point of view of active market players”, which was chaired by Mira Kantor-Pikus, Cushman & Wakefield. Participants included Beata Leszczyńska, President of ORPEA Polska; Marcin Panek, Capital Resources Director, Golub GetHouse; Sonia Zieleniewska, Community Manager, Vonder; and Aleksandra Faderewska-Waszkiewicz, Managing Partner, Łaszczuk i Wspólnicy Sp. K; and Elżbieta Chmielowska, Team Manager, Santander Bank Polska. The experts talked about key legal and tax matters to be taken into consideration in residential investments, differences between overseas and Polish projects, alternative real estate financing, senior housing projects, and the range of investors interested in new real estate products.


The official partners for the report and the event were: ORPEA Polska, Vonder, and Golub GetHouse.

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