The Global Market for Student Accommodation - A Lack of Supply?

Tags: Student Housing, Student Accommodation, Housing Market

ICEF Monitor recently published an article that summarises the current state of the international student housing market. The authors mainly focus on options available for international students in different countries and how these shape the structure of the market in various countries. The report distinguishes between apartments, homestay, and hostels.

Universities and companies continue to invest in new properties specifically built as student accommodation or try to convert existing buildings into student homes. The latter has become a trend in the student accommodation market for quite while now, especially in Britain; allover the country old hotels, office buildings, hostels, or even pubs are converted into student houses of varying sizes and quality. This approach basically aims for two goals: providing affordable student accommodation without having to build new properties from scratch, and potentially re-vitalising structurally weak city areas.

Moreover, there seem to be a trend towards luxury accommodation in the business, as more properties are built that aim for students with above-the-average budgets. These often include a wide range of first-class facilities as well as services and are located in more exclusive city areas. A number of companies specialised in this sort of upper tier student housing.

Still, most investments try to meet the growing demands of average budgets by building "mid-market" and affordable properties for student accommodation. Throughout the globe higher education institutions and companies plan new student house complexes, campus halls, and student apartments.

Homestay, often regarded as a low-cost solution, also becomes more relevant in face of growing demand and a lack of supply of adequate student housing. However, costs can also vary significantly. Depending on the location, homestay can in fact become very expensive.

The same applies for hostels that aim for the student market. Though the majority of student hostels around the world mostly provide very basic facilities (a bed and an internet connection), there is a growing trend towards luxury student housing. In sum, costs for students can increase significantly.

Despite all these efforts, there is still a significant lack of supply in many national markets for student accommodation; often, there are simply not enough rooms for the constantly growing number of students. The growing demand for and lack of student accommodation offers a lot of opportunities for private companies and agencies. At the same time, this is a major challenge for universities and colleges that want to provide their students with affordable accommodation options. In the end, competition for student rooms will intensify.

Students will use any means available for searching and securing a housing option that meets their individual needs and budgets. The Internet plays a central role in this, since it has become the main source of information on available student accommodation within a particular town or city. Providing students with modern, easy-to-use, fast and constantly updated databases that allow them to find student rooms quick and easy is therefore a cornerstone of any professional accommodation service.

In sum, the market for student housing will not only remain relevant and alive but change considerably in the years to come. Universities, colleges, as well as private providers of student accommodation not only have to plan and build new student houses but also need to develop efficient ways to place their properties on the market. Modern communication technologies are key to success in this respect.

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