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Cohousing is a form of intentional neighborhood in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own community. In cohousing, residents know their neighbors well and enjoy a strong sense of community that is typically absent in contemporary cities and suburbs.
Cohousing communities consist of private, fully equipped dwellings and extensive common amenities including a common house and recreation areas. Most communities forge a strong partnership with a professional development team. Together they create a custom-built, resident-managed, close-knit neighborhood that offers a healthy balance of privacy and community.
The six defining characteristics of cohousing are:
Affordability varies. Some cohousing neighborhoods now incorporate approaches to maximize affordability, but most often construction, consultants and financing costs are similar to those in any new development. Cohousing homes tend to be comparably priced with other single-family houses, townhouses or condominiums in the area. In addition to your new home, however, you also will benefit from a custom-designed neighborhood and extensive common facilities, as well as ongoing costs that tend to be less than in a typical U.S. home.
Some states, counties or municipalities require developers of multi-family housing to have a certain percentage of the new units meet a standard for “affordability.” People in cohousing usually welcome this, and often wish they could make even more than the required percentage affordable. Unfortunately, unless the developer can get public or private subsidies or grants, a community can build only a limited number of affordable units without significantly driving up everyone else’s costs.