More must be done to pave the way for student housing

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Thursday 24 August 2023


More must be done to pave the way for student housing

The Student Accommodation Council has expressed concern at the release of a new report by CBRE which has found that even with a seven per cent uplift in supply, the demand for student accommodation remains unmet.

Student Accommodation Council Acting Executive Director Adina Cirson said the report Accommodating the growth in students confirmed what the Council has consistently argued – that not enough is being done to enable more purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) to be built in every state and territory.

“Amidst the widespread housing crisis, there is an acute shortage of dedicated student housing,” Ms Cirson said.

“We need all levels of government to do more to get student accommodation out of the ground and secure a sustainable development pipeline.

“Our research shows that over 76,500 students in Australia are living in some 200 purpose-built student accommodation developments, most of which are full – with a third of beds leased to domestic students.

“That is tens of thousands of students who are not competing with renters in the private market, underscoring the significant role PBSA has to play in easing the crisis.

“The need to increase student housing, for both domestic and international students, has reached a critical stage.

“Governments have been receptive to build-to-rent (BTR) developments forming part of the housing mix, and it is essential that governments also see PBSA in a similar light.

“PBSA is a unique asset class, and governments need to provide clear planning approval pathways and consider extending the generous land tax and regulatory treatments that have been afforded build-to rent developments.

“We also need to see more land release dedicated to development of student housing. Unlike BTR, PBSA is already a scaled, sophisticated sector and is able to respond to the current situation rapidly if these barriers are removed.

”PBSA is an enabler to the higher education sector – our biggest service export – and therefore makes a positive contribution to the broader economy.

“It has been estimated that 16 per cent of students who complete their studies in Australia stay on to work here, critically alleviating workforce shortages and helping to bring vibrancy to our cities.

“In 2019, around 300,000 international tourists came into Australia to visit an international student, contributing approximately $1 billion to the economy.

“We will be continuing to advocate at the federal, state/territory and local government levels to ensure our political leaders understand what needs to be done to get more housing for students, and how our sector can help ease market pressures,” she said.


Media contact: Adina Cirson | 0429 579 972 | [email protected]
Rhys Prka | 0425 113 273 | [email protected]