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Urban Cities

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Convenience to key Urban centers and cost efficiencies are forcing a co-living trend

Based on JLL’s recently published Co-living in Silicon Valley – Asia Pacific file, that the co-living marketplace is taking off in Asia Pacific as more people migrate to cities for jobs or schooling opportunities. This is opening up new opportunities for property investors and developers around the area.

With property prices increasing in gateway cities, co-living provides residents briefer and more flexible lease terms in contrast to ready-to-move-in convenience, as well as condos. As demonstrated by a case study from the report, operators can save as much as 25 per cent in costs within the renting model.

At precisely the exact same time investors also stand to benefit from savings. By working together with operators who play with a function – the construction manager who manages maintenance, land manager who collects rent and letting agent who resources for tenants – it eliminates the need to cover the three different layers of penalties at a property that is classic.

“Co-living bridges a home gap that conventional living categories do not support,” explains Rohit Hemnani, COO and Head of Alternatives, JLL Asia Pacific. “Since co-living spaces are fully furnished with maintenance and cleaning services, tenants only have to deal with a single operator instead of paying for deposits, utilities, furniture, and representative fees.”

“Most co-living operators are advantage light, so that they work out of a profit-sharing rental or management agreement, while others prefer fixed market-based leases where they could guarantee landlords a fixed income over a longer period. Because of the ability to scale operations, co-living operators can potentially provide greater incomes to land owners and deliver efficiencies around cleaning, utilities and furniture.”

Although the industry is in its early stages of development in many parts of Asia Pacific, JLL forecasts that it will evolve to appeal to a broader and bigger tenant base with time.

Touted as two of Asia’s costliest cities to live in, Singapore and Hong Kong have a few of established operators. Singapore has seen its fair share of co-living investments, such as the funding of Hmlet from Sequoia India and Aurum Investments and Singapore Management University’s partnership to handle lyf@SMU. Hong Kong hotels and apartments are turning to spaces as building owners seek to enhance rental yields.

Denis Ma, head of research at JLL at Hong Kong stated,”The shift away from simply a kind of affordable home towards a lifestyle choice can also be drawing a new wave of investors into the Hong Kong co-living industry. A number of new approaches have started where rents that are on par, if not higher, than in the private rental market. The success of the new schemes is redefining the fundamental assumptions used in underwriting co-living investments”

Elsewhere, the growth of the multifamily rental market of China has made it one of the most developed co-living markets in the world. Developers have actively bidding on property sites set up their own branded operators and earmarked for rental property.

By comparison, Australia was lagging behind taxation policies on residential businesses and due to the undersupply of multifamily en bloc goods. But market prices are softening, prompting more programmers to shift towards the burgeoning built-to-suit sector.

“Over time, we’re very likely to see co-living have a higher market share in Asia Pacific as tenants continue to push demand and investors chase higher yields. Higher consolidation action can also be on the cards as smaller players will get absorbed by larger players with greater built-to-suit products offered in the current market,” finishes Nick Wilson, Head of Capital Markets Research, JLL Asia Pacific.

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