Student housing - A New Emerging Trend in India
India, the steady and fastest-growing economy globally, is also home to the second-largest post-secondary education pursuing student population. The current gross enrollment ratio (GER) in post-secondary education is 26.3% (MHRD, 2019). This accounts for students who are both-the day scholars and the hostelers. Hostelers are typically the students who migrate to other places to seek their higher education or even a job. Given such a scenario of high enrollment, there is an increasing need for housing facilities other than the universities' popular hostels. This can be efficiently catered by student housing.
Student housing/purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) provides millennials with basic amenities like food, electricity, WiFi, and others required for their livelihood. These student housing accommodations are of high quality, security, and, more importantly, affordable to the common man.
Reasons for an Increase in Demand of the Student Housing Sector in India
'Study in India' initiative by the Government.
In the 2019 Union Budget, the Government announced its plan to attract 200,000 NRI students to study in Indian universities under the 'Study in India' initiative. With regulatory measures enabling the number of students on the country's college campuses to witness a hike, the demand for trustworthy student housing on par with global quality standards started to hit an all-time high.
The two major cities with the highest number of migrant students are Bangalore and Pune. Bangalore, being the center of the Silicon Valley of India, attracts a massive population of migrant students annually owing to a more significant number of colleges located in the vicinity and tremendous employment opportunities.
Pune is a unique market where most, i.e., 90% of the colleges are privately owned, building a private-owned student accommodation market. As more millennial-aged students gather in city centers, there is a more significant stress on the existing supply of student housing.
Lack of Campus Hostels and Facilities
The number of students studying at colleges and universities and the number of students able to acquire campus hostel facilities is extremely disproportionate, with the latter accounting for as little as 20% of the total volume. The scenario being such, students are mostly forced to look for private accommodation facilities around campus, which they typically do with the help of property brokers. Even then, it's not very common that students find housing which aligns with their preferences and taste. It is here that student housing managed marketplaces are finding their ways.
Hassle-free Housing Option
A large part of the target demographic holds a more globalized outlook, and people need not have to put up with overbearing landlords and sub-agents. They impose arbitrary regulations on their lifestyle. These rules can range from impositions such as night curfew and policy against overnight guests to being prohibited from inviting friends from the opposite gender, so on and so forth. Thus, today's students prefer to opt for student housing, which allows them to live independently with dignity.
Amenities and Affordability
Students need to be provided with basic amenities such as food, electricity, WiFi, and security. The inclusion of other facilities such as laundry, transport, air conditioning can also be made available to students if they wish to opt for. But unfortunately, due to the lack of supply of student accommodation spaces, students are left with no option but to live in tiny hostel rooms or PGs, which do not offer them all the amenities mentioned above that they require.
Student housing comes as a savior in such circumstances. It provides them with all the facilities that they require at a price convenient to them. Its design and architecture are kept quite comfortable and quirky, suiting the general needs and taste of students, unlike hostels and PGs. Thus, it started becoming an attractive option in the eyes of students.
All these factors contribute to the enormous growth of the student housing domain and the associated real estate sector in the country.
Nonetheless, nothing comes without a downside to it. Few general issues that the students complain about student housing are disturbing housemates, repairs, burglaries, dampness, an infestation of pests, sewerage problems, inadequate water supply, maintenance issues, so on, and so forth.
But these issues can be resolved with proper communication with the management or the authorities. They cannot be considered as a principal concern to reject the concept of student housing altogether.
At present, there are only a few small first movers in this segment of PBSA in India. Most of the student housing companies have been incorporated within the past five years, hinting at a shift in the mindsets of developers of student housing. As the market for them remains mostly untouched in India, it offers both domestic and international developers and investors an excellent opportunity to come forward and start investing in student housing.
Student housing provides students with quality food, WiFi, electricity, and many other facilities. Its design and architecture are kept quite comfortable, suiting the needs of students. Whereas this is not the case with hostels and PGs as not many of them provide good facilities, quality food, comfort, and are neither safe.
The factors contributing to an increase in demand of the student housing sector are:
- Immigration of NRIs.
- Increasing numbers of students who seek to study and work in places other than their hometowns.
- Lack of/ less number of the university built hostels.
- Amenities and affordability.
- Other key contributors include safety, security, comfort, and so on.