Too few rooms of their own for international students


With the pandemic and associated border closures now in the rear-view mirror, the international education sector is gearing up for its largest intake since 2019 early next year. The question is are we ready?

Let’s talk housing.

It’s a supply-and-demand industry and many are starting to ponder where students are going to stay.

James Martin, who runs Insider Guides – targeted to students to ensure they are prepared as they arrive in Australia is one of many who is asking the question.

Martin says “vacancy rates in rentals across the country at sitting at approximately 1 per cent. Rents are sky-high. Competition is ruthless for renters. Many private student houses were converted to standard rentals during the pandemic, because of high rental income and, well, no students, and are now gone from the available stock equation.

“Purpose Built Student Accommodations (PBSA’s) are full or are looking like they’ll be full in early 2023 and there are not enough homestay hosts.”

He makes a good point. It wasn’t that long ago there weren’t any students and now accommodating an influx may well be an issue.

Phil Honeywood, CEO of International Education Association Australia is aware the UK international student market is being impacted by the lack of appropriate accommodation options. “It’s not surprising with the rush to get back that there may be a shortage of student beds in our country,” he says.

State and local governments need to better coordinate with providers to ensure we plan appropriately for time for next year.”

It’s a tricky situation at best and one that has been well-documented in the Netherlands as recently as August. Students who have been enrolled at the University of Amsterdam have been told not to travel unless they have secured accommodation ahead of their start date. The announcement can be seen here.

As published by the the situation at the university is dire with 4,720 international students registered for accommodation, but Uni Amsterdam only has 2,416 rooms available.

Of course, this could not possibly happen in Australia – here’s hoping.

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