Research article

Fresh Approaches To Housing Delivery

Lessons learned in the US and UK are now being adapted for student housing in mainland Europe.

The delivery of purpose-built student housing takes many forms and is driven in part by local market characteristics. In mainland Europe, provision rates are low, but the propensity to study in a home town is also much greater and it is more common for students to live at home during their university years, so the supply gap may be lower than headline figures suggest (see Figure 4). For those who do live away from home, small scale, private landlords have stepped in to accommodate students.

Figure 4

FIGURE 4National purpose-built student housing provision rates

Source: Savills World Research

An increasingly mobile global student population has changed the face of the student accommodation sector and the opportunities for providers lie with these students – whether from elsewhere in the country or overseas. Where purpose-built student housing comes into its own is its ability to offer a one stop shop for secure, well managed, high-quality accommodation which is suited to the needs of international and domestic students, unfamiliar with the local housing markets. Students have ever-higher expectations of accommodation, and the private sector has now made inroads supplying it.

European pioneers

Pioneers of the mainland European market have adapted successful models from the US and UK to suit a European context, laws and customs. They range from local investors and developers diversifying into the student sector to specialist pan-European investor-operators. Page 9 highlights some examples of some of the approaches taken.

City Living / The Student Hotel

WHO? City Living

WHAT? Short-let student accommodation

WHERE? The Netherlands / mainland Europe

Owned and operated by City Living, the Student Hotel offers student accommodation on a short-term basis. Stays of up to two semesters are permitted (10 months). Friends, family visiting lecturers, as well as those simply visiting the city, can also book accommodation here. The model provides flexibility of income in a market where student rents are capped. City Living has secured €150m in funding in a JV with Perella Weinberg Partners and a further €100m from APG to expand their model throughout Europe.

International Campus / The Fizz

WHO? International Campus

WHAT? Investor, developer operator

WHERE? Germany

International Campus develops and runs student housing in Germany under ‘the Fizz’ brand. Targeting the premium end of the market, rooms are en-suite with a kitchenette, and a concierge service is available. Rents range from €400-700pcm, representing a significant premium over not for profit Studentenwerk accommodation. The high-spec, purpose-built accommodation has proved popular with the market, achieving very high occupancy levels. Units are also available to non-students.


WHO? Knightsbridge Student Housing

WHAT? Investor, developer operator

WHERE? UK and Europe

Backed by Oaktree Capital Management, Knightsbridge Student Housing has assets under management in Spain and France as well as pipeline projects in Ireland and Spain. In 2011 it launched The Student Housing Company to manage their PBSA portfolio. In May 2015 Knightsbridge sold their UK Westbourne Portfolio totalling 5,867 beds across 12 assets for £500 million to Goldman Sachs and Greystar.


WHO? Crosslane Group

WHAT? Investor, developer operator

WHERE? Germany, France, Netherlands and UK

Crosslane European Capital, a business division of the Crosslane Group, has been active in the PBSA market. Since 2007 it has established businesses in Germany, France, Netherlands and UK solely focused on construction and development of PBSA. Crosslane currently manages a portfolio of 3,606 beds across all markets with a target to develop 17,500 student beds.


WHO? Campus Living Villages

WHAT? Investor, developer operator

WHERE? Australia, New Zealand, US and UK

Campus Living Villages is a global student accommodation specialist operating in Australia, New Zealand, UK and the US. With total gross assets of $1.7 billion, it currently holds and manages a portfolio of 41,000 beds. 42% of the portfolio is located in the US.

▲ Student accommodation providers are expanding in mainland Europe

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