Commonspace-compressed Photo: Commonspace

The latest Elliman market survey showed that New York rental prices are rising swiftly — especially at the lower end of the market. A strong economy coupled with tight credit conditions are making it difficult for young renters to become buyers, increasing competition for rental inventory.

A number of co-living initiatives are working to meet that market need, but a Syracuse company is well ahead of the Manhattan curve.

Commonspace is just over a week into construction occupying the top two floors of a downtown Syracuse building. Billing itself as a “new way of living, working and making human connections,” Commonspace will house 21 fully-furnished, 300-square-foot micro-units. Each unit will feature a small kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living space. Micro-units surround shared common areas, including a game room, TV/entertainment room, rooftop deck, bike sharing program and a chef’s kitchen — features that luxury market renters would typically expect in a building.

Units will cost $700 to $900 a month to rent, cheaper than a typical one-bedroom downtown Syracuse rental.

Commonspace floorplan 2-compressed Image:Commonspace

Founder Troy Evans already operates CoWorks, an affiliated co-working space that moved into the same building in February. He originally envisioned the building as including co-working and co-living.

“We’re trying to combine an affordable apartment with this community style of living, rather than living by yourself in a one-bedroom in the suburbs,” Evans said.

Commonspace will also offer community programming from a newly-hired “social engineer.”

“We’re trying to make it a neighborhood in a building,” Evans said. “You’re not staying in your room watching TV all day, you’re eating in the restaurants, going to the coffee shops and the bars, and doing it as a group.”

Co-living could be a significant lever in dealing with the NYC housing crisis, and startups like Commonspace, though headquartered outside the city, have many eyes monitoring their progress. With a current vacancy rate of 3.45 percent — anything under five percent is considered severe — and a whopping 56 percent of renters considered rent-burdened, meaning over a third of their income goes towards rent and utilities, the current NYC Housing and Rental Vacancy Report has declared a “Housing Emergency.”

h/t: The Atlantic

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