Students in danger
Why would both a government and an opposition look to dramatically reduce Australia’s fourth largest export industry? International students are big business for inner city Brisbane and if you’re a landlord or property owner in the area the current election threat to slice their number is likely to have a direct impact on you.
Generating revenue of $19 billion in 2009, a BRW Magazine report says Australia hosted 751,000 international students last year. Those who watch Brisbane’s CBD rental market closely will tell you much of our housing demand has been from this group. It’s no exaggeration to say that whole residential towers depend on students for survival. Take a walk down Albert Street yourself. And this isn’t a new trend.
Not to mention the food, travel, entertainment, retail and other industries that benefit. Many of these students are great spenders! Access Economics estimate that for every $1 on education they spend $1.90 elsewhere. Brisbane’s Lord Mayor says this is our city’s largest export service industry and Universities Australia’s CEO says a 50% drop in international students would cost us 60,000 jobs. But Labor’s Sustainable Population Minister says cuts in numbers are warranted and many use their student visas as a “pathway for permanent residency”. The LNP’s Tony Abbott says they’re the “largest contributor to net overseas migration”.
Politics and race aside this is big business for inner Brisbane and especially for property owners. Yes the trend to inner city living is strong but a big chunk of our demand is from international students, especially in the CBD itself. Drop them and we may see a big reduction in rents.
What do you think? We’d love to have your comments.