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Australia faces student housing shortage

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Demand for student accommodation is currently outstripping supply in the major cities, a new report has highlighted.

The analysis by JLL found Australia may be experiencing a shortfall of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) due to a rise in international student numbers.

In 2013, there were a total of 410,925 international students studying within Australia, a 2.3 per cent increase on 2012 figures.

Almost 29 per cent came from China, with another 8.8 per cent from India and 23.7 per cent from other nations in Asia.

The JLL analyst and the report’s author Conal Newland found the majority of these students favour purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), as opposed to renting privately or through a real estate agent.

Reasons given by Mr Newland include the PSBAs proximity to amenities, overseas marketing campaigns, ease of booking and enhanced security options.

Yet the PSBA market currently provides only 53,459 bedrooms across Australia’s capital cities.

“Our analysis of the existing supply of PBSA (both university and private sector) indicates that in all the major Australian markets apart from Canberra, there is currently less than one bedroom of PBSA for every 10 students. Canberra has one bed per five students,” Mr Newland writes.

“All of the major Australian cities have less provision than more established markets such as London, where the ratio is one bedroom per four students.”

Mr Newland predicts demand for this sector of the market is only likely to increase as international student numbers continue to grow.

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