Student housing is becoming an even more interesting asset class now that the boundaries are blurring, delegates heard at Real Asset Media’s Cradle to Grave Rental Solutions – Urban Being – The Future of City Living Investment Briefing, which was held in Amsterdam recently.
‘We are aiming to create the complete connected community that includes students, locals and co-workers,’ said Dimphy van Wijk, Head of Real Estate Benelux, The Student Hotel. ‘We provide a student-driven product, an urban campus that becomes part of the infrastructure of the city and an integral part of the community’.
The fundamentals remain strong, she said: ‘There continues to be high demand and low supply, which is the perfect recipe for us. We are seeing a continual growth of international students in Europe, who are our core market, an increase of about 8-10% a year’.
But the asset class has developed and evolved in the last few years of rapid growth. Students have become more demanding, they ask for more quality and they are also willing to pay more for it. They are also keen to be part of the wider community.
As students only need a room during the academic year, said van Wijk, ‘we give them a 10-month contract instead of a 12-month one, and we rent the space to hotel guests. This creates an interesting mix of people under one roof and it also ensures that people keep coming back. They come as students, stay as hotel guests and then come back as professionals or co-workers’.
There is a real blurring of boundaries between student housing and regular housing, agreed Gert-Wim Bos, Director, COD: ‘In Amsterdam North we have just delivered a project with 955 apartments, of which 400 student units, all in one complex and managed by one firm. It creates a really nice blend, and ensuring diversity is also a way of future-proofing your investment’.
The co-living umbrella is covering an-ever wider mix of solutions. ‘In 2017 only 180 co-living permits were granted in Amsterdam, but last year the number increased to 600,’ said Hein van der Meer, Partner, CMS. ‘It shows how rapidly co-living is developing’.
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