Rental Demand Soars Across UKO’s Expanding Built to Rent and Co-Living Portfolio  

20 October 2022

Build to rent (BTR) and co-living operator UKO has partnered with Sasco Developments to open its 18TH asset in Sydney’s city fringe suburb of Alexandria as rental demand soars across its property portfolio.

UKO, which is part of Veriu Group is achieving a stabilised 98 per cent occupancy rate for its Sydney assets. More than 1000 apartments are reaching weekly rents between $700 to $1,500 for BTR (45 – 120 sqm room size) and co-living studios are averaging $490 to $650 (22 – 36 sqm room size).

Rhys Williams, Co-Founder at UKO comments, “We expect demand to remain strong in the post COVID environment driven by positive net migration and a significant undersupply of rental accommodation, which we do not expect to resolve in the medium term. Several projects are now under development in all major capital cities as well as regional centres to expand the brand nationally. UKO expects to operate more than 2500 apartments by the end of 2024.

“The ability to provide a superior experience for customers and high returns for private developers, institutional investors and family offices has helped fuel the company’s growth. Rental returns across the portfolio have increased by 20 per cent post COVID with occupancy rates reaching record highs.”

“A wide cohort of renters have embraced the opportunity to adopt community living, much of which has been driven by the need for companionship. UKO was founded in 2018 with the mission to fight the loneliness epidemic in Australia,” he added.

The Alexandria property, named Industry was 70 per cent pre-leased in the lead up to opening and is now 100 per cent within the first four weeks with rental returns between $490 to $650 and room sizes from 22 to 36 sqm.

“Demand for co-living continues to outstrip supply. We have worked collaboratively with a team of highly qualified consultants to deliver an exceptional product. From price, location and design perspectives, the product is exceeding customer expectations. Industry is Sasco Developments’ third project with UKO and a fourth will be located in Meadowbank with construction anticipated to start mid-2023.  This project will be the first mixed use building encompassing co-living with 162 co-living studios, 133 BTR apartments (total 295) and a retail centre,” said Joseph Sassine, Director at Sasco Developments.

Industry comprises 69 studio and loft apartments, designed by Mark Curzon when he was Director at FK Architects and subsequently delivered by Curzon & Partners. Mr Curzon comments, “The design concept draws its inspiration from the industrial past of Alexandria with its iconic rhythmic zinc saw tooth roofs that have been expressed as individual vertical elements, pivoted to orientate themselves to the expansive views and harvest the sun.

“The naturally ventilated communal space is the heart of the scheme with a variety of amenities and spaces that will be integral to establishing a vibrant community. The space enjoys views into the tree lined Ralph Street whilst also spilling out onto the lushly landscaped central courtyard.”

The building operates under UKO’s co-living model where customers have a private fully furnished apartment with utilities, high-speed wifi and access to a range of communal areas all included in the weekly rent. Communal areas include a chef’s kitchen, social lounge, co-working area and private meeting space, all seamlessly connecting to an outdoor courtyard.

Customers also have access to the UKO app where they can place their profile for other renters to connect with them on a professional or personal basis. Community event details are also included on the app.

UKO is an operator specialising in property management for rental assets from 50 to 250 units held in one line by private developers, family offices and institutional investors.

The business is part of the Veriu Group which has 20 apartment hotel properties across Australia operating under Veriu Hotels and Punthill Apartment Hotels.