Co-living could create a new property investment sector in the UK

Co-living could create a new property investment sector in the UK

In 2016/17 there were around 2.32 million students attending universities and higher education across the UK, and with the numbers on the rise, catering for the accommodation needs of millions of graduates is a vital part of solving the housing challenge.

The concept of co-living for students, graduates and young professionals has already taken off in Europe and in some parts of the UK, and could provide a new segment of property development and investment.

Building co-living, purpose-built developments would provide vital accommodation to millions of people and could help ease the housing crisis, particularly in areas with dense student and young professional populations such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield.

A new report by JLL has found that 70% of the 49,000 extra student beds in the capital over the past 10 years were let directly from the owner, with no university agreement, which shows the huge potential available in the market for developers, and such blocks are also ideal for graduates.

Communal areas at the heart of co-living

Philip Hillman, international director of student housing at JLL, said: “The student accommodation sector has been transformed by a new generation of students who have grown accustomed to higher levels of serviced accommodation than has previously been available. After graduation, they are pursuing similar high quality accommodation that provides them with flexibility and consistency, regardless of location.”

Purpose-built shared living (PBSL) spaces are defined as those consisting of a minimum of 50 units, and such developments can be implemented as a sustainable housing option and a way of enabling more people to live in a particular location.

James Kingdom, associate director of alternatives research at JLL, added: “Modern student housing has a greater emphasis on communal areas, whether that is for dining space, living or leisure use. This is also the standard template for co-living developments.

“These facilities provide the trade-off for a smaller living space and are features that are unlikely to be present in a house share or self-contained flat. Student housing and co-living clearly have an important role to play,” he said.

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