Australia recognised as the most investable student accommodation market globally: Savills

Australia recognised as the most investable student accommodation market globally: Savills
Staff ReporterDecember 7, 2020

Investment into the Australian student accommodation market has reached record levels in 2019, according to the latest report from Savills Research.

The study ranks the main global student accommodation markets according to their attractiveness to investors, with Australia topping the inaugural index. It looks at a range of factors including demographics, migration, affordability, local legislation, delivery of accommodation, and University rankings and student numbers.

While much of the developed world ages, Australia’s most urbanised cities are forecast to remain youthful, underpinning demand for student accommodation.

Savills 2019 Global Living Report identifies six Australian capital cities which feature within the top 100 cities around the world which in ten years’ time will be the most ‘youthful’ (the largest share of people aged 15-39).

Forecast youthfulness is shaping investment into Australia’s student accommodation sector, with demographic change shifting the profile of the student accommodation investor (figure 1).

Improving Higher Education standards across the globe is broadening choice and making competition for international students greater than ever. Although University tuition fees are a drag on Australia’s ranking, its institutions have a strong international standing and remain a top destination for foreign students.

The US and the UK still remain by far the top two countries globally for universities within the top 400, with 75 and 45 respectively in 2020, followed by Germany (23) and Australia (22). 

Australia’s post-study work visa provides a huge incentive for many people to consider studying in Australia. Between 2012 and 2017 the total number of students in Higher Education has increased by 11% to exceed 220 million.

The report said, "many major student markets, including the UK and US, have seen the size of their university-aged populations decline over the same period. Australia has benefited greatly from its geographic proximity to major Asian source markets such as China, India, Vietnam and Malaysia."

"The number of international students enrolled in Higher Education in Australia now accounts for around a third of total students. The US remains the largest market for international students, host to one million international students (but only 5% by share of total students)."

"The UK is the second largest market for international students by number with 460,000, closely followed by Australia, host to 430,000. Together, these three countries account for a third of all globally mobile students, according to UNESCO. Having addressed the above mentioned factors, low levels of PBSA provision, transparency around investment, and political, social and economic stability pushes Australia to the top of the investability ranking (figure 3)."

"Until early 2019, a lack of available operational assets to purchase has held the sector back from an investment, liquidity and access perspective. However, with over 24,240 student accommodation beds completed since January 2017 and a further 4,170 expected to be completed by the end of 2020, we expect transaction volumes to continue tracking upward," the report concluded.

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