the student residence market


1.1 Definition and scope of study

Student housing includes any official residence or accommodation provided to students in universities and schools . Among the players active in this market are private actors who build their own buildings and then manage them, or who manage buildings already built by the educational institutions themselves in the form of outsourcing. These specific housing units usually consist of one building or a group of buildings entirely inhabited by students.

Structures can generally have two configurations:

  • Similar to apartments : multiple bedrooms, common areas, shared kitchen and bathroom.
  • Similar to hotel rooms : single rooms, single or shared bathroom.

What both structures have in common is the presence of common facilities to which all students living there can have access. In general, they are both leisure and work/study facilities. Student accommodation is a sub-segment of the real estate market and represents an attractive investment . The market is booming worldwide. This follows the increase in the number of students in higher education. As the supply cannot meet the demand for student housing in many geographical areas, private investors have seen this as an opportunity in the real estate sector.

The university segment in Portugal is attracting more and more foreign and domestic investors. Characterised by an offer that is still far from being adapted to the real demand, there is still plenty of room for expansion and the entry of new players. The sector is expected to represent more than 500 million within five years .

The mismatch between supply and demand is one of the main factors determining this market. With approximately 385,247 students enrolled in higher education in 2019, according to data from PORDATA The problem of lack of beds/dormitories continues to be a growing concern. In this context, the Portuguese government recently approved a decree creating the National Plan for Student Housing, an intervention plan aimed at requalifying and building residences and increasing the supply of housing for higher education students, which provides for the rehabilitation of more than 250 properties in the country.

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