The boomerang generation. Does it have to be this way?

14 Mar 18

For most students and recent graduates if you are unable to secure a job by the time the tenancy ends on your student accommodation (usually in June), then it’s likely that you will find yourself starting the next chapter of your life back in your childhood bedroom, suffering from what is now described as ‘failure to launch’ syndrome.

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For most students and recent graduates if you are unable to secure a job by the time the tenancy ends on your student accommodation (usually in June), then it’s likely that you will find yourself starting the next chapter of your life back in your childhood bedroom, suffering from what is now described as ‘failure to launch’ syndrome.

Unsurprisingly, this is becoming increasingly common with many recent graduates forming part of the ‘boomerang generation’. But does it have to be this way?

One solution may be to give recent graduates flexible rental contracts which end later in the academic year, allowing them more time to search out full time employment and attend interviews in their university city post-graduation. This should be seen as a mutually beneficial initiative; Manchester for example has a student population of 60,000. The vibrancy the city offers means grads want to stay. And retaining talented young professionals is key for the city’s economy as a recent report by the IPPR has showed.

However, a longer-term approach, may be to look at co-living combined with student accommodation.

PRS schemes are arriving at the door of Manchester City Council on a weekly basis, hailing the benefits of ‘co-living’. Their high-quality shared amenities such as gyms, bars, libraries, lounges and roof terraces are all being coined as the best spaces to socialise, relax and work – if you must be in the private rented sector, I don’t think it’s a bad place to be.

Furthermore, PRS developments are capable of actually providing the opportunities for grads to secure their first job. Savvy developers are asking questions about co-living where students live alongside recent graduates and young professionals. The ability to generate an informal network with an urban professional whilst hanging out on the shared roof terrace is an exciting idea, and could well land a student an interview or even their first grad job.

There is considerable appeal in moving seamlessly from a student bedroom to that of a young professional all whilst staying in the same development where you have made friends and established connections, especially if such accommodation can be offered at different affordable price points. This should appeal to developers too; being able to retain tenants as they graduate from students to young professionals provides profit stability.

When trying to appeal to this market, affordability is key. Developers need to appeal to a generation that are wary of unreliable landlords and who want to feel secure but lack the financial stability and confidence that comes with age. The design of individual space is also important; clearly the needs and expectations of both groups are different and should be catered for, but for many graduates their student days are only just behind them and they still yearn to feel part of the party.