Using a sample size of 12,000 students booking accommodation across 125 cities, the Student.com report revealed that Boston ($464), New York ($402) and London ($339) rank as the world’s top three most expensive cities in terms of where students spend the most on rent.
Overall, the most expensive country was shown to be Australia ($255), where students spend approximately 19% above the global average of $214, followed by the UK ($212) and the US ($204).
The most expensive Australian cities to live in were revealed to be Sydney followed by Melbourne and Wollongong.
Meanwhile, students in Albacete (USD$60), Johannesburg ($76) and Singapore ($94) were found to spend the least on their rent globally.
“We’re seeing an increasing number of providers becoming aware of the need to price competitively”
After Singapore, the least expensive countries based on average national weekly rent spend were shown to be Spain ($136) and one of the most popular international student destinations, Canada ($159).
Spain and Germany were revealed to be excellent choices for international students on a tight budget, as they both feature cities in the 20 least expensive list, without appearing on the most expensive list.
Luke Nolan, founder and CEO of Student.com said globally, students are becoming savvier when searching for and booking accommodation.
“They have greater access to information and resources, and are generally able to gain a quicker understanding of the options available to them in their study destination,” he said.
However, Jasmin Lin, managing consultant at international student advice website SI-UK told The PIE News that students should be careful before considering a study destination based solely on cost.
“We have seen students aiming for high ranking universities which are based in smaller cities but end up with withdrawing from the course and moving to big cities like London to repeat the same level study,” she said.
“In the end, students have paid tuition fees twice and waste one year of time.
“Standardised housing offers not only quality but also security which parents appreciate”
“While the city environment has a huge impact on student’s satisfaction and learning outcome, students should have a clear picture of what they can expect from the city where the university is based.”
Various concerns around suitable and affordable student accommodation in Europe have dominated headlines in recent months.
In 2017, at least 150 international students in the Netherlands called a Housing Hotline concerned that they had nowhere to live for the 2017/18 academic year, with some even resorting to sleeping in campsites.
Additionally, data gathered as part of a HousErasmus+ survey revealed that 45% of Erasmus+ students found the housing market of their host HEI country difficult to navigate.
Speaking to The PIE, Stefan Kolibar, head of Marketing for global international education and student housing research specialists StudentMarketing said the main factor impacting the fluctuation in student rental prices lie in the general lack of supply across continental Europe.
“Students are therefore trying to find accommodation among private, public, religious, purpose-built student accommodation as well as the private rental sector,” explained Kolibar.
However, he added, there are students – often from well-off families – coming to Europe from the Middle East or Asian countries who do not consider such accommodation prices excessive.
“The reason for this is because standardised accommodation offers not only quality but also security and on-the-ground support, which parents appreciate.”
Kolibar said that international students usually decide on a place of study according to tuition fees, quality of education or post-study work opportunities more than accommodation prices or lack of quality housing.
“That’s why we’ve seen more and more students looking for quality education in countries with lower tuition fees or an absence of fees completely, such as Germany.“