Australia is undergoing a rapid influx of international students, especially from China, India, Malaysia and Nepal and the need to have purpose-built student accommodations (PBSAs) as a viable living option has shown a drastic rise. Australia is the world’s third most popular destination for higher education and accounts for 7% of the world’s 5 million foreign students (Source: UNESCO). The latest demographic information is indicative of the fact that the international student growth is on a considerable rise and the report of Savills Australian Student Accommodation Market Update 2018 further affirms it. “Enrolments in higher education courses with student visas is growing by 12.7% from 2016 to 2017. China (28.9%), India (11.0%), Brazil (4.6%), Nepal (4.4%) and Malaysia (4.1%) are the top five countries of origin for international students who are opting for study courses in Australia.” says the report.
Having mentioned these facts, students flock in large numbers to find student accommodation Australia to set their best foot forward towards higher education in Australian universities. But this is easier said than done. Students are facing challenges and turning to independent living options like PBSAs. These are specially designed apartments that cater to student needs. They are set up in a specific way to help residents socialize in a community-driven environment. Research from JLL, a global real estate services firm and their report confirms, “The key demand driver for PBSA [Purpose Built Student Accommodation] is the continued strong growth in higher education of international students choosing to study in Australia, which increased by 14.3 percent in 2018. China is the clear number one source country for higher education in Australia, accounting for 38.3 percent of overseas enrolments in 2018.”
Enumerated below are the reasons why students are more happy staying in PBSAs.
Unavailability of Campus Halls
Universities are trying hard to accommodate international students but with the growing student population due to the popularity of Australian universities, this task is next to impossible. As per the total Full-Time Overseas Student Enrolments, 2017, report, “The top three popular universities for overseas students are all in Melbourne. The state of Victoria attracted 34.7% of the national market in 2017, with Monash University being the number one academic institution, followed by RMIT and University of Melbourne. The latest data available indicates that total student enrolments grew by 3.3%, an increase of 47,076 students. International student numbers increased by 7.7%.”
On the basis of recent observations, the prices and the availability of student accommodation Australia is subject to how soon an application is processed, and varies according to the respective university guidelines. Looking into the long queue of prospective student residents waiting to get campus hall accommodations, PBSAs are offered as suitable alternatives. According to JLL Real Estate survey, “Almost 10,000 beds have opened for the 2019 academic year, with over approximately 2,500 beds expected to open for the second semester. By December 2022, the number of Purpose-Built Student Accommodation beds is expected to reach over 100,000.” PBSAs offer accommodation that cater to student needs and include onsite amenities and great opportunities to make new friends.
No Close Relatives or Friends in Australia
Getting admission in an Australian university is big news and with this arises the need to find a suitable living arrangement. If a student has a relative or a friend living in Australia and the family agrees to accommodate him, living there becomes a lot more affordable. But when students do not have a relative or close friend’s support, they opt to live in a PBSA as it is far better and more affordable than living in independent accommodation. In PBSAs, students get the opportunity to live with like-minded people with whom they can communicate more often and create a social bonding to get that family feel. Such accommodations, also help students to connect more with the native flatmates or other students who are also in search for co-residents to form an in-country support system. PBSAs, therefore, offer lots of communal spaces to mingle and relax in shared lounge areas. These residences also have shared kitchens which encourage students to swap recipes and cook meals together in an extended homely environment.
Lack of Security and Peer Support in Private Accommodation
Students opt for private accommodation and need to live all by themselves as they don’t have a ready community of fellow students to fall back on. Private apartments accommodate group bookings, but without any peer support and roommates, students have to live alone and manage things single-handedly. Though these types of properties offer great level of privacy and also the comfort of availing in-house facilities alone, but this also means that the student won’t be having a community bonding or friends. Unlike a PBSA, students may or may not be staying with occupants in the same apartment building, who are students and will be more prone to live in an environment which is not a community that comprising of like-minded students and fellow batchmates. Living with such occupants in the same building, will not encourage socializing and network. Private accommodation also do not provide emotional support in trying times and during ill-health to those opting to live solely on their own. Although private accommodations offer CCTV surveillance and secure door entry but living alone in an apartment can make a student feel more insecure, especially in a neighborhood which is less known and not so friendly. Students, therefore, resort to PBSAs that offer peer-support in moments when a students need more care and emotional support.
Access to a Student Community
It is not that hard staying alone but students, bereft of a sense of community, often miss out on the essence of living university life to the fullest. Private accommodations do not provide community support and rarely organize community events. It is for this reason that students prefer to stay in PBSAs. Most of the properties that come under the PBSA style of living offer onsite community support team that looks after social opportunities to encourage new friendships and foster a sense of community. Students have the opportunity to bond with fellow flatmates from varying cultural backgrounds, which too is a great way of learning about the world at large. Property providers are, therefore, keen to offer PBSAs as viable living options. The aforementioned reasons are fair enough for students to opt for purpose-built student accommodations (PBSAs) that are a major benchmark in student housing and cater to the accommodation needs of students at large. The growing number of student enrollments and the need to accommodate them in living spaces of their choice, makes it crucial to have purpose-built student accommodations as the best living option for students.