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Blended living set to dominate with €25bn injection

Blended living, co-living or micro-living, was touted as a possible solution to housing shortages and accommodation issues across university cities around the world at the Class of 2020’s annual conference.

The Class of 2020's Ryan Manton noted that there was €25bn "in the room" at the event in Berlin. Photo: The PIE News

Co-living communities offer members 20% lower prices than a regular student apartments, according to the think-tank

Investors are set to deploy €25 billion into ‘blended living’ globally, over the next five years, the think-tank explained at the event in Berlin, Germany.

“Blended living will be our focus for the next 10 years”

Lines between living, working and learning are becoming blurred, delegates heard, resulting in students and professionals increasingly creating communities and living together.

“There is €25 billion in this room. And that equals one thing – opportunities,” Ryan Manton, program director at The Class of 2020 told attendees.

“Shared living, co-living in some formats has been going on for a long time, it’s not new,” he said.

“But it’s how we can use technology, how we can make use of the city in terms of the space.”

Examples of co-living providers included TheBASE in Berlin, The Student Hotels, De Key housing association in Amsterdam, The Collective in London, UK, and Medici Living in Berlin.

“We don’t only want to build houses, we want to build communities,” Leon Bobbe, CEO of De Key said.

With over 30,000 dwellings, the association aims to ensure Amsterdam remains “accessible to all”.

Therefore occupants have the option to stay in the association’s apartments for up to five years, he added.

With accommodation across continental Europe, International Campus Group hosts international students in 50% of its accommodation.

“Blended living will be our focus for the next 10 years,” said Rainer Nonnengaesser, the organisation’s CEO.

“Capital markets are paying attention”

However long co-living has been around, investors are beginning to take notice, delegates heard.

“Between 2014-18… €0.2bn [was] invested in co-living or blended living,” explained Susan Tjarksen, managing director of Cushman & Wakefield.

“In 2019, it was €2.2bn and we are projecting that to double every year for the next five years.

“Capital markets are paying attention,” she added. “I’ve travelled many thousands of miles in the last 90 days looking for capital for this space, and I have yet had someone tell me no.

“So that’s a very good sign for this industry and this asset class.”

The Class of 2020, which started in 2011 largely as a means to solve the student housing crisis, has evolved quickly since its inception.

With the focus on community at this year’s event, it was a timely reminder when GSA’s student wellbeing specialist Bobbi Hartshorne said, “failing to invest in [wellbeing] will be the end of your business”.

Additionally, co-living communities offer members 20% lower prices than a regular student apartments, as Uffen wrote in the Class of 2020 Trend Report.

“Getting together and building urban campuses, lively, inclusive and mixed-use neighbourhoods, with good transportation will be key to accommodate the next generations of students and young professionals,” he added.

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