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Friday 20 May 2022

UKO: Co-living explained

Leading build-to-rent and co-living operator UKO, has reached a milestone of 16 assets in Sydney alone, since its first site opening in Stanmore in 2018.

What is UKO?

Pull up a seat and take a look... 

This video wrap up gives you the very best insight into what UKO is... and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy... I live in a five bedder with my family, but I have always loved the concept of cosy living and tiny houses.


First, the UKO philosophy explained, in their own words:

Modern life is often expensive and lonely. This is especially true in Australia. In fact, five of the world’s top 20 most expensive real estate markets are located in Australia. But when you’re trapped in a cramped studio apartment with nothing but reality television to keep you company, the excessive cost of rent can feel absurd.

We believe that humans are sociable creatures, which is something that modern life doesn’t typically cater for. Loneliness is becoming an increasingly prevalent problem in today’s world. It’s estimated that over a third of Australians feel lonely each week, and those who live alone are at an even higher risk of experiencing chronic loneliness.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. After over 20 years of experience in the hospitality and short term accommodation industries, our co-founders Alex Thorpe and Rhys Williams started UKO in 2018 with the mission to fight the loneliness epidemic in Australia. Today, UKO’s dynamic team of real estate professionals, designers, operations experts and hospitality veterans manage over 46 blocks with over 1500 apartments across Australia. Our hosts work hard on providing a modern and enjoyable space for you to call home.

Community living offers a sustainable solution to loneliness and the soulless rental market. Incorporating positive social connections in our day-to-day lives is an important precursor to long-lasting happiness.

Everyone in our team shares UKO’s guiding mission to empower inner-city renters to live a well-balanced life that centres affordable, community-led living. We pride ourselves on delivering an exceptional experience, ensuring that your life is lived the way it’s meant to be.

In just four short years - and during THAT challenging COVID-19 economy - UKO has seen a rapid growth in its management portfolio adding sites in locations including Camperdown, Newtown, West Ryde, Top Ryde, Surry Hills, Kensington and Ultimo. 

“Our number one focus for UKO is around building a thriving community within our sites with our ‘community host’ who is trained to deliver the best possible experience to their customer - the renter!", says co-founder Rhys. 


UKO specialises in property management for rental assets, from 50 to 250 units held in one line by private developers, high net worth owners and institutional property funds.


“We focus on working with developers and landlords who are not operators and we have proven we can enhance returns beyond a typical property manager,“ says Williams. “We draw on 20 years of experience in the serviced apartment sector under the Veriu/Punthill brands. There are some great crossovers between our businesses.”


“A properly trained UKO community host can deliver excellent outcomes for the customer while at the same time offering the landlord the commercial benefits of absolute focus when it comes to revenue management, asset management and financial reporting supported by the UKO brand,” he said.


UKO has an additional pipeline of about 1500 apartments under various stages of development Australia-wide, slated for completion by mid-2024 with an average of one property opening per month. Sites are in major capital cities as well as regional centres, bringing the total management to 2500 units. 


“The growth in the UKO platform has been very pleasing for us and we have achieved this by generating excellent returns and keeping our promise to deliver for our landlords,“ said Williams.  “As we learn more about our business, we are getting very interested in maximising yields between co-living and build-to-rent apartments for our landlords.” 


UKO is  supported by Belong Technology, a property tech app for building communities and property management. Belong Technology allows guests to post their profile and network within their apartment complex helping to reduce loneliness in apartment living. Through the app guests can form fitness groups, kids playgroups and do business networking.


More about the co-founders:

Rhys Williams and business partner Alex Thorpe have been pioneers in the Australian Co-Living & Build to Rent market.  They opened Australia’s first Co-living building located in Stanmore in the Inner West of Sydney in 2018. UKO has grown to become the one of the largest operating platforms for Co-living & BTR in Australia.  Rhys and Alex come from a background in Serviced Apartments & Hotels with Veriu Group which is a national operator and includes the brands Veriu Hotels and Punthill Apartment Hotels. They recently developed and opened Australia’s first 144 unit micro-apartment hotel in Green Square in a joint Venture with ASX listed Charter Hall. 


UKO is part of the Veriu Group, with 19 apartment hotels and expansion plans for an additional 10 properties by 2025 around Australia operating under Veriu Hotels and Punthill Apartment Hotels. 


For further information, visit: https://uko.com.au

Follow them HERE.

And... you can book a free tour HERE.

Contact them here for any additional questions...

And I love a testomonial, this one from Maria Pilar Salvo:

“This community is the best thing that has happened to me
since I arrived in Sydney... The truth is that you can really share with other people from distant parts of the world... My experience has been fantastic.”


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