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Bungalow Opens Co-Living Homes In Chicago

Bungalow, a co-living provider, offers four or five bedrooms in fully furnished homes.

Co-living provider Bungalow has entered Chicago, its eighth market. It joins a lengthening list of companies that rent out bedrooms, rather than whole apartments or homes, to early career professionals and transplants.

The San Francisco-based company, which recently secured $14M in funding, now has rooms available for rent in several Bucktown and Wicker Park houses, and plans to soon open locations in other neighborhoods, such as Lincoln Park and University Village.

Bungalow concentrates on cities with healthy job growth and increasing housing costs. In addition to Chicago, it now has about 900 total residents in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, Seattle, Portland and Washington, D.C.

“We’ve been growing faster than anyone else in the co-living space,” Bungalow co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Justin McCarty said.

McCarty said he and his partner, CEO Andrew Collins, struggled to find affordable places to live when they finished with school and moved to other cities. It was also difficult to make friends in new places.

“We thought, it can’t just be us that have these problems,” McCarty said.

That planted the seed, and the partners eventually decided they would create co-living spaces that were more than dorms for young adults. Instead, Bungalow typically signs master leases for four- and five-bedroom homes in desirable areas, allowing residents a lot of extra living space and amenities.

Everyone has the opportunity to meet their potential roommates, which ensures compatibility, McCarty said. 

Each renter therefore has a new ready-made social set without "all the risk you might find getting roommates off of Craigslist." Bungalow also arranges social events for its residents.

Bungalow’s current listings show rooms in the Bucktown and Wicker Park houses starting at $800 per month, significantly below rates for comparable one-bedroom or studio apartments in the same areas.      

It is a good deal for the homeowners as well, as houses of this size are more difficult to rent out to individuals or families. With Bungalow, however, the owners get a long-term lease and don’t have to worry.

“We just give them a check every month.”

Other co-living providers also see opportunity in Chicago.

Common opened its first Chicago location last year, and it recently teamed up with CityPads to break ground this fall on Common Addams, a 223-bed, four-story project in Pilsen. It will have 5K SF of shared community space, with rents starting at $950. Medici Living Group, which just raised €1B to expand across the globe, opened a 75-unit co-living facility in Fulton Market in May. It can accommodate 175 residents.