Universities are far from the only institutions feeling the pain of the pandemic’s hit to the international student market.
A recent analysis by education think tank the Mitchell Institute found international students were in more than 30 per cent of the accommodation in some inner-city and close-to-campus suburbs.
About a third of the students’ spending was in retail and hospitality, with another third spent in the property sector.
Some of that spend ends up in the purpose-built student accommodation sector, comprising specialty housing developments that have capitalised on the massive growth in international student numbers over recent years.
Empty seats are not an uncommon sight in student housing before lunchtime, but the halls of Iglu Student Accommodation in inner Sydney are unusually quiet this year.
“We’ve seen our occupancy, which would typically be around 95 per cent, it’s been halved by COVID, and it is directly related to COVID. It’s been very instant,” Jonathan Gliksten, director of Iglu, said.
According to data compiled by property consulting firm Urbis, there are nearly 113,000 purpose-built student accommodation beds in Australia, and a further 45,500 in the pipeline, either under construction, in development or planning.