International students make themselves at home
Much has been written in recent years about the trend to city living in Brisbane, and across Australia. Brisbane’s CBD and surrounding suburbs have witnessed extraordinary population growth since 2000, most easily seen in the residential towers transforming our skyline. What’s not often acknowledged is the impact on this trend by growing international student numbers. Australia is currently home to some 355,000 student visa holders and this has grown 25% since 2002 alone. Queensland accommodates around a quarter of these, so naturally there’s enormous benefits to Brisbane’s rental market.
The resident manager of one CBD ‘super-tower’ recently told us around two-thirds of their new tenants were international students. With most of Brisbane’s education campuses located in the inner city this is where international students come to live and study. We’d argue they’re in many ways underpinning the CBD rental market in particular.
China has more than 83,000 students in Australia, while India and South Korea contribute large numbers and all three are fast growing markets. Our ‘traditional’ student nations of Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore are dropping slightly as competition for this lucrative market increases, but interestingly Australia’s appeal to non-Asian nations seems to be on the up – student numbers from Brazil (up 45%) and the Middle East (up 34%) rose sharply this past year.
With international education making up such a large market for Brisbane’s inner city rentals its fortunes certainly deserve more attention from those who’ve invested in the area. Both the UK and USA have seen slight reductions in their own international student inflows over the past year (5% and 1.3% respectively) but for now all looks good in Australia: our numbers grew 9.5% in the year to September.