Co-living trend driving innovation in European cities

Christian Scheuerl, Managing Director, MPC Micro Living Development GmbH, Rainer Nonnengässer, CEO, International Campus GmbH, Samuel Vetrak, CEO, Bonard and Brian Welsh, Chief Executive Officer, The Nido Collection discuss the current Market for Real Estate investment into the Student Housing sector. Filmed at MIPIM 2019 by Real Asset Media.

Different asset classes will merge under the co-living umbrella, delegates heard at Real Asset Media’s Student Housing & Micro Living Investment Briefing, which took place at MIPIM.

‘More hybrid products will be created,’ said Samuel Vetrak, CEO, Bonard. ‘Student housing and micro-living will converge to cater for young professionals and recent graduates who want to stay on living in the city. They will want bigger rooms for which better rates can be charged’.

Micro Living at the moment is mainly a short-term solution of a place to stay during the working week to then return home at weekends, but that may change as lifestyles evolve. 

‘It is entirely possible that in the near future young professionals in their 20’s or even 30’s really enjoy the co-living experience and carry on living in these buildings even when they could afford their own bigger apartment,’ said Christian Scheuerl, Managing Director, MPC Micro Living Development. ‘We will see interesting things happening in the next few years’.

The UK led the way in Purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) and other European countries are following, but the same trends can be seen across the Continent. 

‘I have followed the evolution of the UK market in the last 15 years and I think the general consensus is that other European countries will follow a very similar path,’ said Brian Welsh, CEO, The Nido Collection. 

There is increased demand for stylish accommodation, better product and more amenities – the average list now includes game rooms, outdoor areas, bike storage, tv room, storage, gym, laundry room, room cleaning, multi-functional communal rooms. ‘The standard is now 10-15 amenities per building’, Vetrak said.

New PBSA schemes have been designed for international students, but they are now popular with everyone, said Scheuerl: ‘Domestic students are also increasingly demanding and enjoying the amenities on offer. Good design and communal areas are a huge selling point now. You really need to think about the product and try to differentiate yourself from the rest of the market’.

Brands are important, but they must live up to their name and offer what guests have come to expect. 

There is no one-size fits all, Scheuerl said: ‘Each building needs to be a site-specific project. You want to create the same kind of look and atmosphere that goes with the brand, but you cannot have a master lay-out that fits all the categories. Each location needs a new concept and must fit the needs of the tenant’. 

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