Gravity Co: unlocking potential for residential asset owners 

Reflecting on the growth the co-living and residential sectors have seen over the last year, Gravity Co provides an insight into the progression of its platform.

Gravity Co provides an industry insight and platform progression | BTR News

Co-living and residential provider Gravity Co provides insights into the challenges and successes that the sector has faced throughout the year, alongside the progress the company’s management platform has made.

Throughout 2023, residential developers have experienced challenges delivering new homes for sale in the private market. With no real respite from high construction costs, increased cost of finance, general inflationary woes, and a suppressed sales market, viability continues to be tested and developers’ exits are becoming more and more restricted. 

Bulk purchasers making ‘buyer’s market’ offers at unpalatable discounts have also not been seen to help today’s build-to-sell developer. So, what’s the alternative?

Gravity Co finds that the hold, refinance, let, manage, stabilise and exit strategy can work, particularly for developers whose skills, experience, and interests lie in site acquisition and project delivery, not running an operating company. 

Employing the services of a lettings and management agent has typically been the solution for the ‘accidental landlord’ but the relationship can come with limitations and challenges. 

For tenants, there is often little differentiation in both offering and contract flexibility (typically 12-month minimum) and for the developer-turned-landlord, little to no skin in the game from an agent can lead to longer void periods and possible rent dilapidations. 

Furthermore, with buildings themselves needing to be managed as well as the tenants, additional management partners must be introduced into the equation. 

According to Gravity Co, the ‘hotelification’ of apartment buildings without proper change of use is attracting more and more scrutiny from councils and local authorities and in turn, more and more caveats and break clauses are appearing in operators’ agreements, rendering it an unpredictable and unreliable route for investors.

The emergence of turn-key flexible living operators provides an interesting alternative to traditional lettings and management (and very non-traditional management), appealing to time-poor SME developers and institutions alike. 

In 2019, the Gravity Co’s management platform was founded to create a global housing brand with the aim of improving the lives of today’s rental generation via a flexible, tech-enabled, community-centred living experience.

The Gravity Co model can be plugged into all types of residential assets; purpose-built co-living, Build to Rent, large scale HMOs, as well as traditional build-to-sell schemes with limited to no amenities or communal space. 

The most recent addition to the portfolio in Reading saw Gravity Co step in three weeks before the development reached completion.

Within two weeks, Gravity Co’s design team furnished each of the 53 apartments and within eight weeks, the in-house sales and marketing team had fully let the building resulting in 94% year-one occupancy. 

The company’s summer 2021 addition in Hounslow Central, West London, saw the company take over a 97-unit residential scheme that was underperforming at 40% occupancy.

Following a shift in design, image and offering, under the Gravity Co brand the building has become one of the best performing assets in the portfolio, with a 97% occupancy level and 7% ahead of its net operating income budget. 

These successes are the result of the enhanced tenant experience that the platform offers, including; flexible contracts, inclusive bills and utilities, a community centred experience, events, technology, and local partnerships fostering social engagement and community-led living. 

With a fast-growing London portfolio and a pipeline of projects in Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Milan, and Porto opening in the coming 24 months, Gravity Co are searching for best-in-class developers and investors to create a global living experience like no other.