Differentiation key to student accommodation success

High growth in domestic and international student numbers is putting pressure on student accommodation offerings.

Differentiation has become an urgent priority for the success of student accommodation developments in Australia’s currently saturated market, according to a Colliers International report.

Colliers International Australian Purpose Built Student Accommodation Research and Insights 2018/2019 report (PBSA report) details a high increase in both the continued influx of students and the resulting demand for university housing.  

The Department of Education and Training has reported an 11 per cent annual increase in international student numbers alone for the year leading up to July 2018.  

Such growth has sparked further appetite for entry into Australia’s already crowded student residence market, while current investors and operators expand on their existing portfolios. Most development has concentrated on the CBD and locations around universities.

The PBSA report warns, “as saturation of new supply increases, location may no longer be a sole driver in establishing a point of difference…”

“Proactive accommodation providers are looking inwards, building their brands and establishing their point of difference to gain a competitive edge through the delivery of first class amenity and student services.”

Colliers International goes on to highlight the current trend for differentiation: an acknowledgement of students heavy reliance on information technology and smart devices.

As a result, “…providers continue to design their facilities with the goal of appealing to a generation of students who are constantly connected to technology for both educational and social purposes,” the report explains.

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