From Student Housing to PBSA and Coliving to the Rise of Purpose-Built Shared Living (PBSL) | SPX Lab

We live in a time of change, disruption. Global forces, such as the growing population, the rising prices of houses, the emerging technologies and the mobile lifestyle of new generations, among others, are irreversibly shaping our cities and how we live.

Global forces shaping the housing market

Moreover, the ratio of the world’s urban population is expected to increase from 55% in 2018 to an astonishing 68% by 2050. It is projected that by 2100, approximately 85% of the population will live in cities. Urbanisation is driven by the relative cheapness of transports, the international patterns of demand and supply of labour and student mobility. Young professionals and students are leaving their native country for a career boost, a better education or to fulfil a personal goal. They combine the necessity to earn money with the desire to see the world and experience new cultures.

The impact of urbanisation has led to complex challenges to address in energy, public safety and most certainly, housing. It has also contributed to widen the gap between income levels and housing prices, resulting in the lowest rate of homeownership measured in recent history, mainly caused by the struggle of younger generations to get on the housing ladder. Furthermore, their willingness to rent a property, rather than owning it, has increased vertiginously in recent times also due to the high demand of flexible lease contracts.

Living in a crowded and dense area does not subsequently imply better social ties. In this fast-paced world, being part of a community is an important element to foster the individual mental health and happiness. Living in a single studio, for example, can be extremely convenient, but at the same time it can lead to loneliness and affect the overall personal wellbeing. Avoiding alienation and this sense of loneliness becomes a key topic to consider while developing any real estate project.

New generations want to be able to focus on work, but also enjoy a rich social life and connect with other peers. They want intimacy when needed and at the same time the possibility to engage with a more globalised personal network and build meaningful connections, especially when living away from home.

The citizens of today are also accustomed to high-quality facilities and to the possibility of having the world available at their fingertips. They are willing to pay a premium price to get better services that simplify their lives, but they are also more money conscious.

With no signs of reversing, the real estate industry has translated the mentioned concepts into developing serviced living solutions, such as Purpose-Built-Student-Accommodation (PBSA), senior housing and coliving. These emerging assets often represent a smart way to address these global trends all at the same time.

Let’s look into student housing and coliving

PBSA is a type of private student housing that focuses on providing high-standard private micro apartments or studios combined with shared living spaces. Generally the amenities include shared kitchens, laundry rooms, study areas and 24h security. The newest developments have expanded these facilities to another level. Functions that were not previously considered to be a part of housing, such as gyms or fitness rooms, co-working spaces, cinemas, entertainment rooms and even spas are now being incorporated into the living environment.

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Originally published at on February 07, 2020.

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