Academia seems to be the new world order because statistics show that popular demand for student housing is dictating an entirely new genre of residential design. In fact, the recent Global Living report has unveiled that the student housing investment volumes have risen 87% within the past five years! This has led to a mass revolution with purpose-built student accommodation – shortened as PBSA – being of the highest provision in the UK.

Australia is facing a similar dilemma, mostly because there is a distinct lack in already existing premises for students. Conal Newland (director of student accommodation at Savills Australia) acknowledges that both the supply and demand for PBSA’s is growing in most major cities. His reasoning is underscored by the current popularity of the ‘cohabitation trend’ across the globe.

Also known as co-living, this trend allows a more outgoing form of sharing accommodations that extends to the non-student population of the cities as well. This concept is typically marketed towards students, fresh graduates and young professionals. Such share-house facilities come with fully furnished units, all utilities, inclusive billing systems, and active management participation.

Because of this, many are indulging in the convenience of affordable living. According to Newland, the Generation Y age bracket has become globally predominant and s demanding a rental accommodation of a higher quality. As a result, there’s more room for, “…creating opportunities for developers to provide hybrid co-living developments.”

The UKO Stanmore in Sydney is a recently-completed project that strives to be an excellent co-habitation option for the searching demographic. It marks Australia’s first step in developing a “co-living residential series” and has been inspired by European and American concepts of the same variety. It comprises of 33 units, and similar developments are soon to be underfoot in Newton and Paddington.

However, that’s definitely not the end of it. Student accommodation is just one aspect – the main attraction for investors lies in a diverse tenant base. Newland explains that the co-living market needs to be thoroughly explored and offered to all available demographics lying between the age group of 20-39 years old Gen Ys.

So, the Urban Coup in Melbourne, which comprises of 30 households has been developed. It offers everything ranging from the needs of first-home buyers to young families. “There are particular planning implications for this, and authorities need to recognize the trade-off between smaller units and larger communal spaces,” says Newland.

The “current-day residential occupier requirements” are completely different from what they used to be in the past. The boundaries between personal and work life are blurring, and residential spaces are evolving to match these expectations.

At the end of day, residential investments need to be attractive to the contemporary generation for a certain scheme to be successful. This is why Newland concludes by saying that, “…the Australian lawmakers should be mindful of passing legislation that may reduce the attractiveness of investments, or this country may run the risk of becoming less attractive to millennials and Gen Zs looking to study, live, and work here.”