According to the report carried out by Savills using data from accommodation site Student.com, it costs $4,600 a month to be an international student in London, moving the city to fifth place in the global cost ranking.
Sydney has moved into fourth place for the first time due to a monthly cost of $4,700 for students, making it a slightly less affordable city to live and study in than London.
However high tuition fees coupled with soaring accommodation costs mean Boston, New York and San Francisco have retained their ranking as the top three most expensive cities for international students, each costing in excess of $5,500 a month.
The report also revealed that European cities are well positioned to attract cost-conscious students. Prague, Berlin, Vienna and Warsaw came in as the cheapest cities in which to study, on par with Shanghai. This is due to low and often free tuition, coupled with accommodation costs at half the average of the 20 cities examined.
Rapid growth in international student numbers is also increasing demand for high quality student housing according to Student.com, with up to 90% of students from the Middle East and China taking tenancies of up to a year. This may increase accommodation costs for students from these regions, while those from the US, Asia Pacific and Australia are more likely to rent for shorter periods.
While students from the Middle East are slightly more likely to rent an entire property or studio, overall the report found room type preferences to be relatively uniform across the globe.
Commenting on the findings, CEO of Student.com Luke Nolan said consistent student feedback is that being close to campus is the number one priority, even if it involves compromising on social spaces and facilities.
“Overall, students expect more and the industry loves delivering to student requirements, which drives an upward pressure on rents – especially since most mature markets still don’t have enough student housing.
“Honestly, in the end, the winning factor is the community and not specs, so if you want to invest in anything, invest in the student experience,” he added.