Global student housing operator Yugo launches
Yugo, the global student housing operator, has launched to provide a new platform for university living. The new business is the first global student housing operator and will offer a 'differentiated living experience that is environmentally and socially conscious, emotionally supportive and safe'.
Nicholas Porter, a pioneer in the student housing sector for more than 30 years, is Founder and Chair of Yugo. Porter’s family of investments specialises in the higher education space and includes Global Student Accommodation Group (GSA), a real estate and investment asset manager. Yugo is the latest business by Porter, created through merging three international operational brands – The Student Housing Company, Nexo Residencias and Uninest Student Residents – with the US operations of UComm, previously all under GSA. This move enables Yugo and GSA to unlock significant opportunity to scale and drive investment performance.
Yugo’s global portfolio will encompass 95 properties (living spaces) in nine countries, with 45,000 beds in more than 75 of the top cities in the world for higher education. Key locations include the UK and Ireland, Spain, Germany, Australia, Japan, the UAE, China and the US.
“The launch of Yugo is more important now than ever to support Gen Z students to live their best life,” says Porter. “We know that students who are happy with their housing are ten times more likely to be happy with their university experience. Yugo’s student-led approach gives them continuous opportunities to express their needs and collaborate with us to develop training and workshops that support their transition to and from student life, and to create and run programmes that educate them about sustainable living – an issue of huge importance to this generation of students.”
According to new research conducted by Yugo surveying 6,000 students across the globe, young people rank climate change as the top issue the world is facing today (75 per cent in the UK, 61 per cent in Ireland, 62 per cent in Spain, 50 per cent in Germany, 55 per cent in Australia and 42 per cent in the US), ahead of government and law enforcement corruption and racial justice. 71 per cent feel more should be done to tackle climate change and over half (52 per cent) say using plastic is the most damaging consumer behaviour for the environment.
Yugo will join forces with students to build a better future for the planet and themselves. The business pledges to eliminate single-use plastics in living spaces and corporate offices, supply sustainably sourced beds and chairs to support students’ physical and emotional environment and educate students on energy usage and sustainable living in Yugo spaces around the world. This approach will be enabled by Yuniverse, Yugo’s bespoke technology platform providing digital services with greater reach and connectivity to students globally.
Yugo launches as demand for learning, research and employability skills from developed and developing countries drives growth in the global higher education sector, with the higher education market of 228m students worldwide expected to reach 300m by 2030. Looking ahead to the academic year 2021/22, this trend is corroborated by an increase in applications across key markets in Q1 21 (+11 per cent in US (first years), +8.5 per cent in UK, +8.5 per cent in Ireland), demonstrating recovery through the sector and resilience against the effects of Covid-19.
“Student housing continues to be a compelling and resilient asset class during the Covid-19 pandemic, capable of delivering superior returns at lower volatility than mainstream real estate,” says Porter. “The growing supply and demand imbalance, combined with the quality and appeal of leading global universities, presents a significant market opportunity to offer more living spaces and to ensure they are designed and managed to empower students to live their best lives with purpose and impact.”
Yugo’s platform focuses on providing living experiences to ensure that students’ intellectual, personal and professional growth is supported throughout their studies. This is relevant because Yugo’s research suggests that the pandemic has put distance between students and their best lives. Two thirds of those surveyed (74 per cent overall, with 74 per cent in the UK, 82 per cent in Ireland, 76 per cent in Spain, 75 per cent in Germany and 72 per cent in Australia) say Covid-19 has had a long-term impact on their state of mind, while half (47 per cent) say educational institutions need to do more to support students mentally and emotionally.
The experienced Yugo leadership team has a deep understanding of the sector with years of extensive research and lessons learned from students over the last three decades to help students successfully learn, grow and thrive. In doing so, Yugo is positioned to become the student housing operator of choice, delivering responsive living spaces at scale, globally.