Few rooms for international students where they are needed


It’s more than a Sydney and Melbourne problem

January was the biggest month by revenue bookings for Australian Homestay Network since David Bycroft established the company in 2008 – 40 per cent up on the previous record month, January 2019.  “Demand is clearly higher than supply,” he says and hosted accommodation is one of few options left in a market that can’t accommodate demand from local renters and international students.

Study Perth CEO Derryn Belford agrees, “research we conducted last year would indicate a shortfall of up to 5000 student beds this year.”

“We have partnered with the state government to run a campaign to activate hosted accommodation. It not only represents a short-term capacity build on beds but provides a great opportunity for residents of Perth to obtain a cultural experience in the process.” she says.

Perth’s bed shortage has been coming for some time. According to Ms Belford, property developers and investors in purpose-built student accommodation are spooked when they are told Perth does not have a university in its city centre.

But this is changing. She points to Edith Cowan U’s new campus which will bring 8000 students to town from 2025. Curtin University’s Historical Heart Cluster development will have more than 5000 students in the city by 2030. There are already 20 000 students currently studying English or vocational courses in the city.  “Now is the time for investment to build accommodation capacity there” Ms Belford says.

Study Gold Coast’s Acting CEO Jennine Tax points to the same problem. “There is currently no large-scale, independent purpose-built student accommodation along the entire coast.” She too is keen to see investment in this area and more beds come on board.

But for now accommodation is  tight. Tax says they are also “embarking on a hosted accommodation campaign and hopes this will unlock beds.”

Study Gold Coast is also partnering with QSTARS a local tenancy support and referral service to assist all Gold Coast students having any issues around their current accommodation, including understanding tenancy agreements and rights, or dialogue with landlords and real estate agents.

Dirk Mulder advises education and business clients on trends in international education. He writes regularly for CMM