Universities still can’t say what they’re going to do for 2020/21

Universities still can’t say what they’re going to do for 2020/21

“We can’t yet say what’s on offer in September, UK universities tell freshers”

If you UK universities still can’t say what they’re going to do for 2020/21, it’s unreasonable to expect our potential tenants to make solid commitments.

For the moment, while we continue to receive enquiries, we are finding students cannot be certain about the dates they’ll need accommodation, and are reluctant to commit.

We can’t yet say what’s on offer in September, UK universities tell freshers

Anxious sixth-formers trying to decide which university offer to accept are finding little clear information to steer them, with vice-chancellors saying they are still not able to promise anything like the usual experience of lectures, seminars, nightlife – or even shared kitchen and dining spaces in halls.

Fair enough. These are very difficult times for most, of course, but particularly sectors at all connected with education, and in particular, tertiary education. We feel the best thing we can do is be accommodating and patient.

What is ‘co-living’? Isn’t it just a fancy new name for HMOs?

What is ‘co-living’? Isn’t it just a fancy new name for HMOs?

I read this comprehensive and balanced article a while ago but revisited it today. I thought it would provide a really good introduction for anyone who isn’t really sure what ‘co-living’ is and why it could be worth their investment.

Co-living: the end of urban loneliness – or cynical corporate dorms?

In the industrial chic lobby of the Collective, a huge apartment block in the northwest London neighbourhood of Willesden Junction, a set of posters advertise its events series for residents. There’s a crystal-pendant-making workshop, a talk on the politics of body hair and another on mental health awareness.

The article even clearly defines the difference between ‘co-living’ and ‘co-housing’ together with both positive and negative opinion from current and former residents of both types of development.

The balance is good, exploring the pros and cons, and discussing whether co-living is really just a way for developers to squeeze the living space and cram as many people as possible into their developments.

My one big take home from it though is the social aspect. I firmly believe the current drive for larger developments, ostensibly to achieve required economies of scale, actually destroys the social cohesion that is the principle desire of a large proportion of the target residents.

I believe these large scale schemes actually reduce the social cohesion and provide greater opportunity for conflict. After all, we know the optimum size for an HMO is 6 people and that co-living works best from a social perspective with 6-12 people sharing resources.

My personal vision for getting those scale economies is to have a large number of smaller units, sharing resources and facilities across sites. Each ‘unit’ works on its own but gains by sharing across a network of local and national resources.

Read this article with that goal in mind and if the idea of developing co-living units interlinked across sites has any resonance, get in touch!


Co-living is a space investors should be moving into

The Business Proposal is written, the full Business Plan is ‘in progress’, the market is maturing and primed for ‘disruption’. SLK are moving into the co-living arena with our new project(s) and we have ambitions. BIG ambitions (but not BHAGs – and if you don’t know what BHAGs are, consider yourself lucky!).

Why co-living is a space investors should move into

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While researching the current market offerings and defining the niche we want to explode I came across this article from Money Observer which offers some encouragement to investors who are looking at co-living and thinking “is this a space worth serious consideration?”.

I hadn’t read this article before preparing our Business Proposal but many aspects of it are exactly the things I’ve said. It’s really good to have some confirmation we’re on the right track with our ideas. After a bit of a public hiatus (we’ve been working furiously out of sight!) we will be much more visible from now on. Watch out – you have been warned!!

Capital allowances

Capital Allowances are complex but of great potential value

I’m having to investigate Capital Allowances on our Zetland House purchase, with a view to exploiting them ourselves on an ongoing basis and the valuation of any future sale.

This is a complex and, dare I say, crushingly dull affair. However, if it saves money, it makes you money and this article has provided me with the most illuminating overview so far. Perhaps the best advice in this article is to get a Capital Allowances specialist in your Power Team.


Student housing

Savill’s 2017 Report on the Student Lettings market

There’s plenty of optimism for the next few years, both in the student sector and particularly Northern investments.  A word of warning though, the report is soaked in one over-riding assumption – that international students will not be included in future migration target numbers. As long as they are not, Savill’s forecast 6% annual growth in numbers over the next 3 years. Well, that includes 2 years of the Brexit negotiation! If they are included – who knows how numbers will be affected?

Either Savill’s have someone in a position to know, or they’re taking a big punt.