The new Catella Market Tracker, Student Housing in Europe 2017, shows that almost no other market is currently attracting as much investor attention as student housing. However, the differences across Europe are still quite large, which creates exceptional opportunities in this relatively young asset class.

Student housing sector growth can be observed across Europe. An especially large percentage increase in students is found in Austria (+65%), Switzerland (+50%), the Netherlands (+33%) and Belgium (+31%). Germany has the highest number of students in Europe, numbering 2.7 million.

The individual attributes of residential halls (and student housing markets) vary from country to country. The largest European market for student housing is the UK (438,000 students in residential halls), followed by Germany (297,000) and France (275,000).

“Viewed relatively, Sweden has the largest proportion of students in student housing, while in Italy almost half of all students still live in their childhood home. Furthermore, the market is shaped by huge dynamics, as can be seen in Spain, where the market for student housing is recuperating after years of decreasing student numbers and economic crisis. This trend can also be seen in Denmark, where current demand is very high, especially in and around larger cities,” explains Dr. Thomas Beyerle, Head of Group Research at Catella.

In contrast to conventional forms of accommodation, demand for this category is counter-cyclical to the economy. This means that demand tends to rise during recessions as university enrolment increases due to reduced employment opportunities. However, high demand is even assured during economic booms because of the structural shortage of accommodation for students, especially in big cities. In addition, the relatively short tenancy periods enable flexible adjustment of rents to market trends. “These structural characteristics enable a particularly low risk for investors,” concludes Beyerle.

Catella Market Tracker, Student Housing in Europe 2017, is available at catella.com/research.

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