Co-living for young and old fulfils need for ‘community’

For the living sector, the need to create communities and foster relationships, whether among the young or seniors, is something of which there is growing awareness since the Covid pandemic.

“We all realise how important it is to have personal interactions and that’s going to happen in our buildings, forming new communities where people really can interact and mingle regardless of their age,” said Neworld Investment Management managing director Christian Scheuerl.

Speaking to Real Asset Insight’s Richard Betts recently, Scheuerl said that Neworld IM was founded to build upon Neworld Group’s knowledge of operational assets.

“We are a shareholder of quite a few operators in the managed residential segment, where we are providing advice on real estate-related issues. Going forward, we’re also going to be investing in the real estate, which then can be operated by our operating companies.”

And although the market environment is quite demanding at present, the group is also going to launch a new fund for institutional investors that will enable the company to invest in residential assets.

Scheuerl emphasised that it is not built-to-rent but will be serviced apartments, co-living, student housing and senior housing. Neworld also has a partnership with a kindergarten brand. “So there are various opportunities and possibilities where we can start investing the money of our investors,” he said.

But student housing is at the forefront because it is now an asset with which investors are familiar. However, an asset type that will be prominent in the long run is senior housing and demand is substantial even in B and C grade cities.

“Loneliness in old age is a serious problem for lots of people so we are saying that if we’re able to bring co-living to elderly people we are going to create a new concept that is really appealing for the tenants because they know they are living in a community and they get all the services and care they need while still living independently and able to lead their normal lives.”

Neworld is conscious too of the need to tailor its products to meet the demands of investors in terms of sustainability.

“If we’re looking at ESG, energy efficiency is always up front, so we’re going to have very efficient buildings and are going to be highly sustainable on energy consumption. But the ‘S’ part is also very relevant because we are not only creating a new kind of home for our tenants but we are forming a new society, a new group, so we’re really bringing them together as people.”