Student housing in Continental Europe has become a sophisticated and fast-changing market, which needs strong operating teams on the ground, delegates at EXPO REAL heard on Wednesday.
'Student housing is now an established asset class in Europe and has been ranked number 1 for development prospects and number 3 for investment prospects out of 23 asset classes,' said Samuel Vetrak, CEO of StudentMarketing in his scene-setting presentation on 'Where to invest in Student Housing?'.
'The race for amenities has moved from the US and the UK to the Continent now,' Rainer Nonnengasser, CEO of MPC Micro Living, told the Student Housing and Micro Living Investment Briefing, organised by PropertyEU and The Class of 2020.
'Young people are a lot more selective now, as well as mobile.' Gyms, indoor pools, study rooms and large communal areas are a must, as well as high-speed internet.
The quality of the accommodation and its facilities are more important to international students than a building’s location, according to research conducted by StudentMarketing.
Branding is also becoming increasingly important, said Jorick Beijer, foundation manager, The Class of 2020: 'International students want a good experience, so they opt for operators with a clear vision, a good reputation and a proven track record.'
Institutional investors who are increasingly attracted to this asset class because of its growth potential must also be aware of the challenges, according to Andrew Smith, foundation investment director, GSA: 'The two key things to deliver are buildings that are flexible enough to be adapted to changing trends and needs, and an effective operational team on the ground.'