The room-letting sector known as co-living, now growing in London, has seen occupancy levels bounce back since some Covid restrictions have been lifted.
New data released from one of the capital’s largest co-living operators, Built Asset Management, shows occupancy across its 1,200 room portfolio remained at 99.9 per cent for the month; the highest level of occupancy witnessed since January 2020.
The strong occupancy rates related to a steady influx of young professionals returning to the city throughout the quarter of July to September, which saw the easing of lockdown restrictions, as well as a slowing down of those moving away from the capital.
All data released by BAM relates to London’s co-living sector, with BAM specialising in the rentals of private rooms within furnished, shared properties, exclusively let to young professionals.
According to BAM, the effect of the pandemic was marked on occupancy rates, with rates dipping to their lowest at 88 per cent during February 2021, where England had been placed in heavy lockdown.
September’s 99.9 per cent occupancy rate was BAM’s highest level since pre-pandemic, operating at this exact level in January 2020.
The easing of lockdown restrictions in July 2021 has had a marked and positive impact on occupancy rates within the co-living space in the capital according to BAM’s statistics, with month-on-month levels being July 95 per cent, August 97.5 per cent, and now September on 99.9 per cent.
BAM director Alex Gibbs says: “Like so many industries, the co-living sector undoubtedly went through some gruelling periods during the toughest stages of the pandemic, so this confirmation that the fundamentals of the market remain strong, now that it is no longer being artificially suppressed, will be welcome news for landlords, investors and operators alike.
“It has been pleasing to witness a ‘return to the capital’ as lockdown measures have eased and offices have re-opened their doors (albeit in a more flexible fashion in many instances).
“An eighteen month period with very little new co-living stock being brought to the market (in combination with a reduction in existing stock as many providers were, sadly, unable to keep their doors open) has created the right environment for a sharp rebalance of supply and demand in the post-pandemic rental market.
“For landlords and operators, one of the keys to maintaining high occupancy moving forward will be creating co-living accommodation which works equally well for professionals with hybrid working models (whereby their home may also be their office) and professionals who will be spending the vast majority of their time in the office.”