The purpose built student accommodation typologies are evolving and the market is maturing across mainland Europe. As a result, student housing providers are going beyond building communities and applying trendy interior. Barriers are broken down, hybrid brands are disrupting the student accommodation market and existing players continue their differentiation. The introduction of hospitality-driven concepts in numerous industries opened the doors to an unprecedented range of possibilities that can touch the young talents’ hearts and minds by tapping into their culture and lifestyle while nurturing their aspiration and development. How do student housing providers and developers tailor to the needs of an emerging generation of students and young professionals? Where do we see the hospitality industry blending into PBSA? And what are the key offers that really set the best operating brands apart?
- The outlook on the Spanish PBSA market remains positive. Cushman & Wakefield foresees further purchasing of strategic development sites after some major M&A’s. New rent levels start to be proven in certain locations, although also tier 2 and 3 cities in Spain remain popular.
- Understanding micro-location, domestic mobility demographics and competition: what, where and how to operate, is key to any investment decision within the market. Spain is becoming somewhat more transparent, but there is still high demand for fine grain data.
- Concessions and surface rights are at the heart of the Spanish market and represent a challenge for investors. For developers, urban planning policies remain tricky, especially for more advanced schemes that need more flexible and progressive zoning.
- Segmentation of services and innovation are the key words in this growing market. Whereas hunting for new sites and replicating proven models might be tempting, the Spanish market is ready for a next phase of product sophistication.
- Modern students require access to services within the residence whilst also wanting to have private personal space. Buildings are a commodity; it’s a holistic operational concept and social engagement and mental health’s support is what make students stick.
- Partnerships between HEI and providers should be strengthened. Here, co-creation can develop a strong value chain for attracting and accommodating footloose international students.
- The future holds more ‘co’. Collaborative working, learning and living will drive new designs for spaces and catalyse new service concepts. The natural evolution from PBSA into co-living and built-to-rent will keep diversifying both investment portfolios and attractive cities.