The Savills World Student Housing Report examines the latest trends in the student accommodation sector, PBSA demand and supply and future outlook across a number of countries. But perhaps some of the most interesting information to come out of the 2017-18 report has been the insight into what students are looking for and choosing in their student accommodation providers.
For many students, particularly those from overseas, the decision on where to study is based on University rankings. The QS World University Rankings are one of the most recognised ranking systems globally, and the UK and US tend to dominate the top spots. These type of highly ranked institutions will benefit from a broad demand base by maintaining their high quality.
But what do students want on a more micro level? Student.com, which is a global marketplace for student housing, has discovered a number of trends on what students want from their accommodation:
Private space with communal options
As long as their budgets allow, students will tend to opt for a private space, whether that’s a private room in a shared flat or a self-contained studio apartment, as opposed to a shared twin room. In properties that offer mainly studio rooms, students still value communal spaces.
Everything under one roof
There’s significant demand for on-site social spaces, gyms and entertainment areas.
Students are increasingly factoring in total costs for accommodation, not just the rent. Extra costs for amenities are recognised as a saving elsewhere (eg. gym membership).
A comfortable study space away from the bedroom is a must. These facilities are now among the most used.
Location reigns supreme
The majority of students would still prefer to live somewhere closer to campus, as opposed to a property with impressive facilities that is not conveniently located.
Although there is a lot of uniformity across the globe, particularly when it comes to room type preferences, there are still some differences from country to country. Data from Student.com shows that students from the Middle East and China typically take the longest tenancies, 90% and 87% respectively for a full academic year, whilst those from the US and Asia Pacific (including Australia) are most likely to rent for shorter periods.
The other big trend we’re seeing is that as the market matures, students have come to demand higher quality from their living accommodation. The optimum ratio for accommodation varies not only by country, but by town or city. Many universities supply their own accommodation, but lack the funds or expertise to bring to modern standards. This opens up opportunities for partnering arrangements with private sector operators. In some markets private and residential local landlords meet the gap in supply.
Growing global student mobility has reinforced the need for quality, well managed student accommodation. Unfamiliarity with the local housing markets makes quality PBSA from a trusted provider particularly appealing. As the market has matured, students have come to demand more from their accommodation, and will pay a premium for amenities and services on site.
To learn more about the trends in the current student accommodation market, view Savills World Student Housing Spotlight 2017-18.