Australia number one among student accommodation markets

A $549 a week executive studio apartment in Student One’s Wharf Street tower in Brisbane.
A $549 a week executive studio apartment in Student One’s Wharf Street tower in Brisbane.

Australia has been named the top student accommodation market in the world as the sector matures in the eyes of global investors.

International property firm Savills’ inaugural 2019 Global Living Report found the upward momentum in the sector has generated acquisition opportunities for national portfolios and significant raises in capital, adding appeal to potential investors.

Notably, student accommodation company Scape swooped on the $700 million-plus Atira business and is angling to pick up the Urbanest portfolio that could trade for more than $2 billion.

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The local market benefits from a high level of transparency around money and political, social and economic stability, which makes investment in Australia attractive.

Student accommodation has also proved a growth sector, with more than 24,240 student accommodation beds completed since January 2017 and a further 4170 expected to be completed by the end of next year.

Students moved into the new accommodation at Deakin’s waterfront campus in 2018. Picture: Peter Ristevski.

Despite the high tuition costs, the calibre of tertiary institutions remains a big drawcard to a potential market of more than 200 million students internationally.

Some developed countries have seen a fall in student population, but Australia has proved a strong growth market, second only to emerging India.

Conal Newland, director of student accommodation at Savills Australia, says this growth is likely to continue, with Australia benefiting from its position in the Asia-Pacific.

“Australia ranks first as a market forecast to see strong growth in its student age population,” Newland says. “The young millennials and generation Z are shaping demand for real estate’s fastest growing asset classes, including purpose-built student accommodation.”

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