I’ve always been a big fan of besties. Mostly because I’m particularly fond of my personal besties (shoutout besties!), but a new housing compound outside of Austin, Texas is taking the Millennial bestie trend to new heights.
A group of four couples who have been lifelong friends built a compound where they could all live together—as besties. Each couple inhabits a 400 square foot cabin, and together they share communal living spaces such as the kitchen, guest areas, and a dining room. Their housing experiment has affectionately been dubbed “Bestie Row.”
Their experiment might be too extreme to become a mainstream trend, but I was surprised at how this article overtook my Twitter and Facebook feeds. It seemed that everyone I knew was sharing this article with a post saying something along the lines of, “THIS IS THE BEST! WE NEED TO DO THIS!” (insert your five besties’ names).
Could “Bestie Row” be a viable option for Millennials on the hunt to purchase homes?
In many ways, it could.
There is a myth that Millennials prefer city living. The majority of Millennials do live in cities, but that may be due to need, not preference. A recent report from the National Association of Home Builders discovered that 66% of Millennials want to live in the suburbs. William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, suggests that Millennials simply can’t afford to leave the cities even though they would prefer suburbs. After years of paying high rent in expensive cities, many Millennials don’t have the credit history or savings for a down payment.
Bestie Row does fulfill needs that Millennials want in a suburban experience: friends that are close by, affordability, and entertainment. Millennials do not want the kinds of suburbs that they grew up in; they want city-like suburbs. The white picket fence isn’t the draw. In fact, it could be a deterrent.
A key home selling point used to be privacy. No one can see in your windows, you don’t have to worry about pesky neighbors, it’s on a quiet street, etc. Now we’re seeing different needs from our suburbs. Communal, closer together, and walkable. The sharing economy has poked its head in nearly every aspect of our culture, and housing is no exception. Sharing community space, pools, parks, and more has become a preference. It’s less expensive and creates community. In the case of Bestie Row, they’re sharing everything except the bed.
This housing trend is a perfect blend of how the sharing economy and not-so-nuclear families are colliding to create something we may not have predicted: a commune with your best friends. It’s a cheap way to get out of the city while holding on to something that was keeping you there in the first place: your besties.