Just weeks after opening its largest property ever in Singapore, co-living operator Hmlet has announced its first multi-asset deal in Australia with Sydney-based developer Revelop.
The Hmlet-Revelop deal comprises two converted residential properties in central Sydney and another pair of co-living centres 25 kilometres away in Parramatta, a satellite town often referred to as the commercial district of Western Sydney.
“Revelop’s partnership with Hmlet is a great example of how co-living in Australia is gaining recognition amongst the wider property community as an attractive asset class,” said Revelop’s co-founder and director, Anthony El-Hazouri.
Doubling Down Under
The partnership with the ten year-old redevelopment specialist will double the number of co-living properties Hmlet operates in the Sydney area from four to eight, with the company planning to expand its Aussie portfolio into Melbourne and Brisbane.
The Singapore-based shared living pioneer, which targets lonely millennials with its 75 Asia Pacific properties, plans to have a total of 2,400 rooms in operation by next year, just four years after founders Yoan Kamalski and Zenos Schmickrath started the company by renting out rooms in their semi-detached home.
The Australian alliance will bring Hmlet’s total number of rooms in Australia to 300, just over six months after entering the Australian market through the acquisition of co-living operator Caper Co-living.
The announcement of this latest deal comes less than two months after Hmlet secured HK$310 million ($40 million) in fresh capital from investors including Burda Principal Investments and Mitsubishi Estate, which the company said it would use to ramp up its presence in Asia Pacific.
Pushing Shared Spaces in Sydney
Hmlet is counting on urban population growth to drive the sector in Australia, despite co-living in the Antipodes lagging behind other countries, according to property services company JLL.
“When plotting Hmlet’s future growth in Australia, we recognised the strategic importance of establishing a presence in Parramatta to cater to a swelling urban population, which in turn is feeding the need for community-oriented living,” said Hmlet Australia’s managing director, Chrystan Paul. “With a quarter of a million people expected to move into area by 2041, at a population growth of 107 per cent, this new way of living isn’t just preferable, it is necessary”.
The first of the properties to come out of the Hmlet–Revelop partnership is the 31-room Hmlet Mays Hill, which opened last month.
Located in the government hub of Parramatta, 25 kilometres north-west of Sydney, the property is a ten minute drive from the A$2.7 billion ($1.9 billion) Parramattta Square renewal project, which will bring 45,000 square metres (484,376 square feet) of commercial space to the city, as well as a A$220 million ($151 million) campus for Western Sydney University.
Purpose-Built Co-Living Properties
The partnership’s second project in the emerging commercial district, which is due to be completed next year, is a purpose-built co-living centre fifteen minutes’ walk from the Parramatta Square renewal project.
Dubbed Hmlet Harris Park, the property’s 41 en-suite studios, rooftop terrace, and ground floor F&B outlets “will set the standard for purpose-built co-living developments in Australia”, according to the announcement.
The company said it will be adding a further 29 rooms across two locations in Sydney – one a twenty-minute walk from Manly Beach, and the other in a suburb five kilometres west of the University of Sydney.
“Co-living is emerging as a welcome solution for both renters and investors alike, who are seeking a solution to the problems associated with increased urbanisation in Australia’s major cities,” the company said in its statement.
Falling Home Ownership in Sydney
Despite the slower pace of adoption for co-living in Australia compared to Hong Kong or Singapore, JLL’s Australia-based senior analyst Ahmed Almihdar said conditions in Sydney should pave the way for opportunities in shared residential real estate.
Like other cities where co-living has been well-received, Sydney has a high population density with a large volume of temporary and longer-term expatriate professionals, according to Almihdar.
The analyst said that he expects the shared living experience to become more popular in Sydney as home ownership, which has fallen to 62 percent, falls further and attitudes towards urban lifestyles shift.