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24 August, 2020
The outbreak of Coronavirus and the lockdown which ensued has impacted almost every sector in a variety of ways. This includes the realty industry as well. Among the several branches of real estate, student housing is one of the most affected. However, the student housing segment hasn’t grown a lot in India yet in an organised way and holds a lot of potential for real estate players.
Several cities in India which are major education hubs have witnessed a rise in demand for student housing lately. Greater Noida, for example, houses more than 50 colleges and more than 2,800 students enrol in these colleges every year. More than half of them are from outside the NCR and require rental accommodation. While there are plenty of PGs and other student housing options, one would find only a few organised players in this sector.
Evidently, student housing offers good prospects for investors. A majority of the students prefer to live in housing accommodation provided by local and national operators. The lack of many organised operators creates low competition in this field for the realty players.
Right now, student housing has come to a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is primarily because schools and colleges have been shut for months and most students have returned home. Moreover, the concept of student housing is based on shared space to optimise the area and make accommodation affordable. This is something which is being avoided at a time when social distancing is crucial to arrest further spreading of the virus.
However, it is expected that student housing would once again bounce back once the pandemic ends and things return to normalcy. Even though online classes are gaining popularity, they still have a number of disadvantages compared to the physical form of education. In case of some certain higher education and professional courses, online classes aren’t sufficient. Hence, the decline in demand for student housing accommodation is only temporary.
The realty players can step up to provide evolved student housing with modern facilities designed to cope with the current situation and its aftermath. These include better health and sanitation features to ensure the safety of the students residing there. Moreover, students would now seek rental accommodation with more facilities than before. For example, high-speed Wi-Fi is one of the modern needs. With the internet becoming an indispensable part of life and playing a key role in education, good connectivity is highly sought after.
In a nutshell, it can be concluded that the student accommodation segment would return to normalcy once again and organised players in this segment would be able to perform well in the long run.