Credit - Savills
Boston most expensive city as student housing investment grows

The US cities of Boston, New York and San Francisco remain the most expensive places for international university students to live and study, according to a new student housing report that also claims record levels of investment in the sector in 2016.

The report, World Student Housing, was published by Savills and features pricing data from international student accommodation listings company to show that Boston was the costliest location for international students at around US$5,800 per month, as of August 2017.


The price comparisons are based on a non-EU international student on a non-specialist STEM undergraduate degree course at a top 200 institution, residing in purpose-built accommodation, said.


New York and San Francisco were both priced at over US$5,500, while the Australian city of Sydney (US$4,700) overtook London, UK, (US$4,600) to become the most expensive non-US city. indicated that the strengthening Australian dollar and the weaker pound sterling accounted for the shift.


The cheapest destinations in the analysis of 20 cities were Warsaw (Poland) and Vienna (Austria), both less than US$1,000 per month. "Tuition costs in these cities are minimal, accommodation costs are half the average of the 20 cities examined, while quality is improving thanks to increasing amounts of purpose-built student housing being developed," said


The research found that there were fairly similar room requests across all world regions, with more than 60 per cent of international student clients from each region requesting private room accommodation. Students from the Middle East (90 per cent) and China (87) were the most likely to choose academic year tenancies.


Luke Nolan, Founder and CEO of, said, "Students will always opt for at least some level of privacy, especially for the space in which they sleep, and consistent feedback is that being close to campus is the number one priority, even if this involves compromising on extensive facilities. The most popular social spaces revolve around fitness, entertainment and study.


"Overall, students expect more and the industry loves delivering to student requirements, which drives an upward pressure on rents - especially since most mature markets still don't have enough student housing."


Elsewhere in the report, Savills said that total global investment in student housing reached US$16.4 billion in 2016, a record year for the sector and double the level recorded in 2014. The USA accounted for US$9.8 billion of the investment.


Savills said that mainland Europe has seen an increase in activity, with EU750 million invested in Germany, a 380 per cent increase on the previous year; EU425 million in the Netherlands (24 per cent); and EU170 million in France, up 245 per cent.


Citing international student trends, Savills said that overseas enrolments were driving up the total number of higher education students in a number of key markets, including Australia, but that this was also putting pressure on student housing stock.


The UK had the highest ratio beds in purpose-built student accommodation to total enrolled students at 24 per cent. The comparative ratio in the USA was 12 per cent, and only six per cent in Australia.


In the full report, the authors outlined the current state and future prospects of the student housing sector in a number of individual countries, and noted increased potential in Poland and the Czech Republic as they position themselves as study destinations.


Overall Savills identified an under-served middle tier sector, between the premium private accommodation options and lower-quality university stock, and said that partnerships between universities and investors may be a means to serve this demand.



By Matthew Knott

News Editor