Sydney more expensive than London for international students: Savills

Sydney more expensive than London for international students: Savills
Sydney more expensive than London for international students: Savills

Sydney has replaced London as the most expensive place to study for international students outside the US, with a monthly cost of $4,700, says a recent Savills report.

The strengthening Aussie dollar pushed Sydney higher than London to fourth position globally among the 20 cities examined.

London was dragged down by a weaker sterling, according to Savills annual World Student Housing cost of living, accommodation and tuition rankings.

It now costs $4,600 a month to be an international student in London.

Savills World Research, using data by, calculated that living and studying costs in London have dropped as fluctuations in the value of sterling has made the city cheaper for international students. 

Boston, New York and San Francisco have retained their positions as the world’s top three most expensive cities for international students, each costing in excess of $5,500 a month, 20% more than the next dearest city. 

Australia remains the third most popular country for international students, as the overseas student population continues to increase in both universities and other education sectors, said a recent Savills report.

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 Sydney more expensive than London for international students: Savills

Mainland European cities, however, stand apart for their affordability and are well positioned to attract cost-conscious globally mobile students, according to Savills.

Prague, Berlin, Vienna and Warsaw are the cheapest cities in which to study, on par with Shanghai. Tuition costs in these cities are minimal, accommodation costs are half the average of the 20 cities examined, while quality is improving thanks to an increase in purpose-built student housing.

The rapid growth in international student numbers has underpinned demand for high quality student housing across the globe, but the type of product they want varies by region. 

Data from shows that students from the Middle East and China typically take the longest tenancies, 90% and 87% respectively for a full academic year, which may increase accommodation costs for students from these regions, while those from the US and Asia Pacific (including Australia) are most likely to rent for shorter periods. 

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Sydney more expensive than London for international students: Savills

Click to enlarge

Sydney more expensive than London for international students: Savills

When it comes to room type preferences, there is relative uniformity across the globe. Students from the Middle East are slightly more likely to rent an entire property or studio, however, echoing their typically larger average budgets.

“The optimum ratio for student housing varies not only by country, but by town or city. Many universities supply their own accommodation, but lack the funds or expertise to upgrade this to modern standards,” said Marcus Roberts, director in the residential capital markets team at Savills.

Roberts added that this opens up opportunities for JVs and partnering arrangements with private sector operators to deliver housing that ticks the boxes with students, particularly in the under-served middle tier between lower-quality university stock and more expensive premium products.

Luke Nolan, founder and CEO of, said students will always opt for at least some level of privacy, especially for the space in which they sleep and the feedback is that being close to campus is the number one priority.

The most popular social spaces revolve around fitness, entertainment and study.

"Students expect more and the industry caters to student requirements, which drives an upward pressure on rents – especially since most mature markets still don’t have enough student housing," Nolan said.

"Honestly, in the end, the winning factor is the community and not specs, so if you want to invest in anything, invest in the student experience."

Sydney Student accommodation


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