The Property Council of Australia (PCA) has launched a new Student Accommodation Council created to represent and advocate for Australia’s Purpose-Built Student Accommodation sector.
The Student Accommodation Council’s 10 founding members, which account for almost 50,000 of the 123,000 purpose-built beds across Australia, are made up of the country’s most significant student accommodation providers.
These include Campus Living Villages, Cedar Pacific, Iglu, Journal Student Living, Student One, UniLodge, WeeHur, Dwell, Scape and Yugo which, combined, have assets valued at more than $20 billion, and many more projects in the pipeline.
The decision to form the council comes off the back of consistently strong industry growth, which, over the last five years, has delivered 31,000 purpose-built student beds with an estimated value of $9.3 billion.
Anouk Darling, the CEO of Scape, Australia’s largest owner and operator of purpose built accommodation, has been named inaugural President while experienced advocacy and policy professional Torie Brown, previously Executive Director of the Property Council’s Capital Markets Division, will take on the council’s Executive Director role.
Ms Darling, said the Council’s advocacy agenda will focus on supporting the maturation of the industry including attracting increased domestic and international capital to the asset class, building relationships with the tertiary education sector, addressing tax and lending frameworks as well as the continued safe return of international students with stable settings to support open borders.
“The launch represents a coming-of-age for our sector – and firmly asserts our position as a growing and maturing asset class,” Ms Darling said.
“Students thrive in the Australian education sector and thanks to our members, increasingly have access to high quality purpose built communities to support their learning journey.
““We are thrilled that Torie will lead our new Student Accommodation Council in its critical formative stage and look forward to Torie working with members to build our voice, and contribute to the positive future of international and domestic student experiences.
Ms Brown said it is a privilege to be leading the Student Accommodation Council from the outset, as the industry welcomes the return of international students now borders have reopened.
“Creating a great living experience for students in a sector that is set to grow rapidly over the next decade is important for Australia’s relationship with the world and for the success of our globally ranked education providers.
“I look forward to creating strong partnerships with universities, advocating strongly for the sector and highlighting the benefits for students, their families, the tertiary education sector and the Australian community as a whole,” she said.
In 2019, prior to the pandemic, the 900,000 International Students contributed $41 billion to the Australian economy. The tertiary education’s sector international reputation has seen Australia attract the second highest share of students from Asia, sitting only behind the Unites States.
The Purpose-Built Student Accommodation sector has, over the last five years supported the creation of 3,500 direct and indirect construction jobs annually, on top of the more than 5,000 who work in the operation of the industry.