Best in Class: The Global Trend of Luxury Student Housing


There’s a potentially significant market opening up if you own or are planning to buy investment property in Sydney, and it comes from what may be a surprising demographic. International students are growing in numbers, and appear to be seeking out a new standard in luxury student accommodation.

City View From Balcony

The international student market in Australia is worth an estimated $32.2 billion a year. As of 2018 the number of international students enrolled in the country had grown by 12% since 2017 and 22% since 2016, with a large proportion of students hailing from China and India. The number of international enrolments is expected to grow from 542,054 in 2018 to 940,000 by the year 2025.

The majority of these students aim to study at Australia’s Group of Eight universities, which include the University of Sydney and UNSW Sydney. This means by 2025, there will be almost one million international students looking for housing in inner city – and particularly inner Sydney – areas. Many will be looking for quality rental properties where they can study (and later work) close to their university and career opportunities in the CBD. For landlords, that promises a stable rental return.

International study is not cheap; the average annual tuition fee for an international student studying in Australia is over $30,000 per year. This factor means that many international students and their families are financially comfortable, with a suitable allowance to spend on private accommodation. Demographer Bernard Salt told Real Commercial that there are around 2,500 Asian students studying here with an annual income of more than $150,000 a year, and this wealth is becoming apparent in inner-city shopping centres where students are spending up big on luxury brands.

In the past three or four years, there has been a global trend towards luxury student housing to accommodate those looking for a more upscale student experience. We could well see Australia follow the US and the UK’s trend of high-end student accommodation, where students have come to expect an in-building swimming pool and gym as well as convenient connection to the major universities.

So where are ideal locations to buy an apartment for sale in Sydney that will appeal to international students?

The new CBD and South East Light Rail is also currently under construction, and this streamlined transport system promises even greater connection to the University of NSW as well as TAFE, sporting and entertainment precincts.

For some international students, they may well look to buy their luxury apartments in Sydney’s most desirable suburbs. For the rest who choose to rent, they’ll be looking for state-of-the-art and perfectly located apartments. Investors, take note.

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