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  • Apr 17, 2020

Student Housing in Dubai – An Untapped Investment Opportunity

Studies show that only 34% of UAE nationals are enrolled in higher education institutions. Where do the remaining students stay? This is the major question to be asked here. These stats clearly show that offers for property for rent in Dubai are only targeted towards families and tourists but not students.

Dubai, as we all know, is the hub of real estate investments. There have been major developments in the city to make property for rent available for the tourists. It’s rightly so, given the fact that there are over 18 million foreigners coming into Dubai every year. However, it’s coming to light that people might not have been paying attention to the student population. With everyone considering tourists, families and labor to move into the city, perhaps we might be overlooking student housing or residential requirements.

Student Population in Dubai:

Dubai has a total of 63 institutions that are providing higher education curriculum. Recently, the student population for the academic year of 2018-19 in higher education institutions was 53,200. People are coming in from all continents and increasing the annual enrollment percentage every year. In K-12 private schools alone, a 90% increase in student enrollment since the past decade is worth noting.

Coming over to the higher education sector, an increase from 48,653 in 2011 to 77,463 students in 2016 is incredible evidence. This supports the fact that these numbers are going to grow in the coming years. The situation is going to require large-scale housing and residential developments to accommodate them.

Real Estate Allocated for Student Population in Dubai:

According to CBRE, there were only 5200 beds for students in 20 residential developments in Dubai. A rough breakdown will show that 40% of these are on-campus, 45% off-campus and the remainder 15% are in PBSA. Another crucial thing to note is 2the rise of PBSA in the global market. According to Knight Frank, in 2018, investments amounting to Dh60bn were put forward for student housing. Although in the UAE, Uninest has been present since 2016, nothing else seems to be attracting people to invest.

For those who show interest, there isn’t a lot of competition in the market. Firstly, KSK Homes launched a student community providing almost 1900 units for students. While the Myriad Dubai scheme opened its gates for 2250 students for the upcoming academic year. The yield, however, is going to be at least 8-9% as rooms in The Myriad go for at least Dh4,000. This means there is a lot of room for growth in the student accommodation sector.

Controversial statements might be put out in terms of the market’s positionality and space for such real estate projects. However, it is vital to note that all major areas of the world have invested in the education sector. Even if the investment might seem to be too much, the numbers are growing and will continue to grow.

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