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Australia: International Students Struggle to Find Affordable Housing

clock iconCreated At:31 July, 2023
write iconCreated By:Passant Mohamed

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Australia has become a popular destination for international students, and as a result, the cost of living, particularly real estate rent, has increased by 10–20%, according to a recent report.

Several student accommodation marketplaces have revealed that rising rental costs, along with the limited availability of beds, increase in living expenses, limitations in construction and supply, unregulated private rentals, and insufficient on-campus accommodation, all contribute to the current housing issue in Australia.

The student housing market in Australia has been growing significantly in recent years, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17%, and is now expected to be worth AUD 10 billion. On-campus housing accounts for 10% of the market, with off-campus housing accounting for the remaining 90%.

According to a recent survey, there were 613,217 international students in Australia in March 2023. This number was 27% higher than in January–March of last year. China, India, Nepal, Colombia, and Vietnam were the top five source countries for international students, and they are expected to bring in AUD 30 billion to the Australian economy this year.

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Highlighting the shortage of affordable student accommodation, the report further revealed that there are more than 60,000 beds across 42 Australian universities, consisting of university and corporate-managed accommodation. Purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) and regional players manage around 90,000 beds, of which domestic students occupy 26%. Apart from PBSA, students can also choose from an unorganised market of Private Rentals and Homestays. The beds in private housing are expected to be over 360,000, whereas the beds in homestays are estimated to be around 100,000. The overall enrolment in Australia's university segment is expected to be around 1,550,000 students, which includes both domestic and international students.

"The number of aspirants opting for higher education abroad from India is on the rise," says Ravneet Pawha, Vice-President (Global Alliances) and CEO (South Asia), Deakin University, Australia. "This year, Australia has attracted a record number of Indian students, making it the largest cohort of international students on campus at many universities." The quality of education, vocational training, and industry-led learning and training available in Australia, as well as a multicultural society and post-study employment options, make it desirable for international students."

Between July 1, 2022, and May 31, 2023, there were 64,617 student visa applications lodged by Indian nationals outside Australia. According to the Australian Department of Home Affairs website, 75% of student visa applications in the higher education sector are processed within 22 days.


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