The purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) has emerged a winner as fears over the impact of coronavirus have proved to be unfounded, delegates heard at Real Asset Media’s Student Housing in Post-Pandemic Times briefing, which took place online on May 19.
According to BONARD research, the sector proved its resilience last year. There were no divestments, with €2.537 billion transacted volume compared to €2.554 billion in 2019, and no downing of tools, as 79% of PBSA under construction was delivered on time.
“A year ago there was a suggestion that study would change and transition online forever, but in Continental Europe economic occupancy rates have stayed over 90%,” said Nigel Allsopp, senior director, investment strategy and research, Greystar.
“We anticipated a bigger fall in international students than actually materialised. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how well the market recovered and it’s now looking very strong,” said John Dishman, pro-vice chancellor, CEO of CU Group, Coventry University.
“We were amazed to see the 2020 numbers and now we can say with confidence that the sector has been a winner,” said Michael Neuman, vice-president investments, Ivanhoé Cambridge.
“Going into this new academic year, we’re all ready seeing or, in some cases, even exceeding bookings from 2019. There’s renewed confidence, particularly in the UK,” said Stewart Moore, CEO, CRM Students.
“May 2021 is above May 2019 in terms of bookings for us. We’ve seen a huge compression of demand into the last 3-4 months. People were waiting and minimising their risks and are now co-driven by how countries’ vaccination rates improve,” said Dan Baker, general manager, EMEA, Student.com.
“Our survey of international students shows that 71% would rather quarantine in a host country to be able to study in person and only 29% would rather stay at home and study online,” said Martin Varga, business development manager, BONARD, a market research and advisory firm specialising in student housing and other rented residential asset classes.
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