The demand for purpose built student accommodation was growing in Australia with more local and international students shifting their focus from traditional homestays to living environments that suited their unique needs.
Atira Student Living says that with enrolment growth expected to reach 1.82 million within the next five years including a significant proportion from overseas, student accommodation is far from the cottage industry it once was.
“International education is one of Australia’s top service exports contributing in the vicinity of $20 billion per year,’’ said Andrea Slingsby, CEO of Atira Student Living.
“Student accommodation in itself is a massive industry that has been existing largely in a cottage way with homestays until the emergence of purpose built facilities to bring it in line with modern environments and the changing needs and expectations of students,’’
“The costs of private rental which typically do not include services, utilities or internet are comparable to purpose built student accommodation which comes with so many more facilities and inclusive social benefits that are priorities for international students, in particular,’’ she said.
For example a private rental room may cost around $125 per week but the real cost is closer to $195 per week once furnishings, utilities and internet are factored in. For that price, purpose build student accommodation is hassle-free all-inclusive alternative with bonus extras including central location, 24/7 security support, student experience programs, gym, games and more.
To meet growing demand, ATIRA currently has its third purpose built student accommodation project under construction in Brisbane, due to welcome its first students in February 2018.
Comprising 512 student beds, the Toowong facility follows the February 2017 opening of Atira Southbank (725 beds) and the July 2016 launch of Atira Woolloongabba (309 beds).
The company has a further 4,000 beds in the development pipeline covering Melbourne and Adelaide. It aims to deliver 10,000 purpose built student beds in premium inner city locations in Australia and New Zealand over the next five years.
Ms Slingsby said Atira was working to address the significant undersupply in student accommodation being felt in major cities around Australia.
“Education enrolment growth is forecast to reach 1,822,000 by 2021, with just a little over 100,000 purpose-built student beds existing or in the pipeline for the same period,’’ Ms Slingsby said.
Atira forecasts that a significant demand gap for purpose built student accommodation will continue to remain within Australia over the next five years, with a shortfall of 430,458 student beds in NSW; 380,990 in Victoria; 242,814 in Queensland, 140,452 in WA, 96,669 in South Australia; 32,269 in Tasmania and 11,938 in the Northern Territory.
Ms Slingsby said Atira model focussed on nurturing academic success through the provision of home-like support and connection.
“Recognising that academic success is enhanced when we create a meaningful sense of comfort, connection and belonging culminates in a superior overall experience for our students,’’ she said