Property Forum’s latest online panel focused on the effects of COVID-19 on alternative asset classes such as student housing and build-to-rent. European investors, regional experts and local developers discussed how the popularity of alternative assets among investors might change once the crisis is over.

With regard to student housing, the current pandemic can develop new structures of living, especially for younger people. Student housing buildings can offer solutions for groups and not just for individuals to be isolated in their homes, argued John Harcourt, Managing Director at Kajima Properties.

According to discussions with market participants, the overall sentiment is that developers, as well as operators, are doing fine in the student housing sector, despite the coronavirus crisis. There are fewer competitors from the hotel and office markets which provides a good opportunity, said Samuel Vetrak, CEO of Bonard. Furthermore, there is a shift in destination preferences of students, especially from Russia, China or Brazil. Seeing the experiences of the current epidemic, capitals of CEE, in particular Warsaw, Prague and Budapest, can become more popular compared to New York or London, he added.

It is noticeable, that investors based in the United States are more pessimistic than those based in Europe and London, added Stan Kubacek, Investment Director for Europe at Round Hill Capital.

The article was originally published in Property Forum (May 2020). You can read it online at the following link.

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