Australia’s population growth has quickly rebounded after experiencing one of the largest declines in growth by a developed country during the pandemic. Over the past 12 months, the population has grown by around 659,800 people, with net overseas migration being the main driver comprising more than 548,000 people – more than 83 percent of total growth. This net migration figure is 60% higher that the previous year. (Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), March 21 2024)

Australia reached a record-high enrolment of around 4.1 million year 7 to 12 students in 2023. The highest annual growth rate of student enrolments was in Western Australia (2.1 percent), Victoria (2.0 percent) and the Australian Capital Territory (0.9 percent). (Source: ABS, February 14 2024)

According to a recent report by Savills based on ABS data, there were 618,350 international student arrivals to Australia in the nine months to September 2023 – an 88 percent increase compared with the corresponding period of the previous year.

One of the reasons for the uplift is the return to in-person course delivery at Australian universities, coupled with the Chinese government's encouragement for its students to return to destination universities.

The surge in overseas students prompts the key question of their residence. While purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) is one option, a recent report by commercial real estate agent Savills revealed that demand for PBSA is at its peak and tipped to further increase. The report also highlighted the easing pipeline of PBSA development over the next three years, with the total number of new student beds dropping by more than 50% compared to the previous three years.

Despite this anticipated influx of international students, Australia's PBSA sector faces challenges, grappling with high demand and a supply shortfall. The demand for PBSA is likely to outpace the availability of rooms, highlighting the sector's dynamic challenges.

Completed Lodged / Applied Approved Construction  Commenced Total
Sydney 7,805 126 943 1,260 10,134
Melbourne 14,238 626 2,555 855 18,274
Total 22,043 752 3,498 2,115 28,408