Co-living provider Oootopia unveiled its second shared residence last week, according to an announcement by the company, opening the doors to a 49 unit property in Kowloon as the private equity-backed startup expands its Hong Kong footprint.
The opening of the new property in the Tai Kok Tsui area, within ten minutes’ walking distance of both the Olympic and Mong Kok metro stations, follows Oootopia’s initial entry into Hong Kong’s co-living market last year with a 56 room property in To Kwa Wan, on the western shore of Kowloon Bay.
Ootopia, which is backed by Hong Kong-based fund real estate manager Arch Capital and Singapore-based hotel management firm Wanderwonder Hospitality, says that it has a third location timetabled for later in the year, as shared living businesses catch on with both young professionals and property investors in Hong Kong.
Co-living Will Drive Hong Kong’s Property Market
“Co-living will be the driving force of Hong Kong’s future property market amid demand for affordable housing in the world’s most expensive city for real estate,” said Richard Yue, CEO of Hong Kong-based real estate investments manager Arch Capital, one half of the partnership behind the Hong Kong-based co-living provider.
Oootopia’s newest shared residence is in an area of recent gentrification best known for Sino Land’s Olympian City complex, and is within half an hour of Hong Kong’s commercial hub in Central district by MTR.
The serviced apartments, which cater to couples as well as single residents, range from 110 square feet (10.2 square metres) to 208 square feet, and come complete with en-suite bathrooms and workspaces.
The apartments start at HK$10,540 ($1,340) per month, which includes a central shared living space intended to be a hub of social interaction and entrepreneurship, according to Yue.
Last week’s announcement also made public the co-living company’s plan to open a 150 room property near the University of Hong Kong in the third quarter of this year, which will bring the Oootopia portfolio to three buildings and a total of 355 rooms.
Hong Kong’s Growing Co-living Sector
Oootopia, whose first location already has an occupancy rate of 80 percent, joins a growing field of Hong Kong startups looking to capitalise on the millennial-driven sharing economy and the city’s famously challenging housing costs.
Warburg Pincus-backed Weave Co-living completed the acquisition of its second property in Hong Kong in March this year, while asset manager developer District15, together with private equity property firm Pamfleet, in November launched the Nate studio apartments in Tsim Sha Tsui in a property acquired two years earlier for $77 million.
Oootopia is also going up against Singapore-based Hmlet in the shared living race, with that residential management firm now operating 31 co-living spaces in Hong Kong after acquiring competitor we r urban in July 2018.
While its rivals emphasise the hassle-free nature of the co-living set-up, Oootopia’s approach centres on building a community of current and former residents, whom it refers to as Oootopians.
“At Oootopia, we aim to bring opportunity, openness and originality – what we call the ‘three Os’ – to the branded serviced residence sector,” said Lim Boon Cheow of Wanderwonder Hospitality, the other half of the Oootopia partnership. “While we put a lot of effort into designing our spaces, community is our focus.”
Connecting Residents Via Technology
A community-focused app helps residents at Oootopia’s new Tai Kok property connect with each other and the company. Residents can also use the app to find out about Ootopia events like whisky tasting and games nights or, at the other end of the spectrum, they can just log on to flag a maintenance issue.
According to the company’s recent announcement, start-up entrepreneurs, fashion designers and bankers count among Oootopia’s residents.
“An alumni network has already been created through shared bonds and values, connected across borders through the Oootopia app, which offers activities, interactions and free-spirited fun,” said Oootopia’s management team in the recent announcement.
“This will also become a place where Oootopians can meet up all over the world long after moving out, creating an online and offline community,” said Cheow.