New U.S.-based global business addresses student demands for sustainable, educational and personal growth to enhance the higher education journey
Student housing is a compelling and resilient asset class underpinned by the continued growth in the student population globally
Students who are happy with their housing are ten times more likely to be happy with their university experience
07, 29, 2021 – Yugo, the global student housing operator, launched today to create a new platform for college and university living, one that will enhance students’ overall experiences throughout and beyond university and college life. The new Denver-based business is the first global student housing operator and will offer a truly 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. Mr. Porter’s family of investments specializes in the higher education space and includes Global Student Accommodation Group (GSA), the leading real estate and investment asset manager. Yugo is the latest business by Mr. Porter, created through merging three successful international operational brands – The Student Housing Company, Nexo Residencias and Uninest Student Residents with the U.S. 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, stretching from Seattle to Melbourne. In the U.S., Yugo’s 29 living spaces span 19 states in cities such as Philadelphia, PA, Columbia, MO, Minneapolis, MN, and Seattle, WA, and college towns such as Madison, WI, Tallahassee, FL and Tempe, AZ, among others.
“The launch of Yugo is more important now than ever to support Gen Z students to live their best life,” said Mr. 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 programs that educate them about sustainable living – an issue of huge importance to this generation of students.”
According to new research conducted by Yugo, young Americans rank climate change as the top issue the world is facing today, ahead of government and law enforcement corruption and racial justice (42 percent vs. 39 percent and 36 percent, respectively). Sixty percent feel more should be done to tackle climate change and one-third (31 percent) refuse to use plastic in order to minimize their impact on 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. In the U.S., applications for Fall 2021 are up year over year1 and institutions anticipate a post-COVID surge in international enrollments. At the same time, the availability of new student housing is expected to hit its lowest rate since 20083 and many off-campus accommodations have reached replacement age.
“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,” said Mr. Porter. “The growing supply and demand imbalance, combined with the quality and appeal of American universities and maturity of the student housing sector in the U.S., present 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. Half of young Americans (52 percent) say that their mental wellbeing is worse today than it was before the pandemic due to reliance on digital interactions to learn and socialize, and almost half (47 percent) agree that colleges and universities need to do more to support them 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.
1. Common App: Application & Applicant Trends, March 2021
2. International Institute of Education: COVID-19 Snapshot Survey Series, June 2021
3. Real Capital Analytics: 2021
4. ANKF Multifamily Capital Markets: 2019