Re: Is Cohousing Cheap(er)?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2012 13:05:46 -0800 (PST)
The question "Is it cheaper?" has to be coupled with "compared to what?"

When you add the cost of the CH maintenance and the hours it requires to 
maintain the community in the absence of an onsite building manager, I don't 
think it is.

Life is different, particularly for singles and children, but I don't think it 
is cheaper. It is richer with more spontaneous interaction and the presence of 
the CH facilities. Otherwise our units are market rate and our condo fees are 
comparable to other communities in which there is no work requirement or work 
necessary to maintain the complex.

I think any savings come from group purchases, cooking for each other to 
produce meals, babysitting trades, etc. But these are also available in other 
contexts in which people are equally willing to do the organization. What makes 
them easier in cohousing is the expectation that they will occur and the 
physical proximity of participants. The design of the community is very 
important in facilitating interaction. It's just easier to interact with people 
next door than with those across town or even a few blocks away.

For the group that initially moved in the units were below market rate and the 
market skyrocketed just after we moved in. This would appear to produce a 
cheaper living arrangement for the founders but others have pointed out that 
the rise in prices was across the board in condominiums, not particular to 

It's a hard question but I would not suggest that people move into cohousing 
because they think it will be cheaper.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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