By Barry Sweetlove – Executive: Property Administration & Facilities Management
We are very pleased to report that we are already at 98% occupancy at all our student accommodation properties for 2023.
The abovementioned occupation rates have been achieved via intense and vigorous marketing which commenced in September 2022. Market knowledge and preparation are key to obtain the high occupancy levels. Being informed of what is happing in the market and aware of student activities, i.e., when the universities registrations open, when matric results are released and when students will need to move in etc., enable us to target the right audience at the right time.
NSFAS Capping at R45 000 for 2023
The impact of NSFAS’ decision to cap student accommodation rent at R45k for the year, has placed the landlords under severe strain to continue providing the following services, which create an environment for a student to flourish academically and enhance their campus experience:
- Uncapped Wi-Fi
- General privacy
- Good security
- Clean and serviced units and communal premises
- Uninterrupted electricity and hot water supply
- IT Lab facilities
- Recreation facilities
- Regular well-organised and safe social events
- Bus services (where required) that are safe and punctual according to the scheduled roster.
Conversion of Offices into Student Accommodation
Numerous office owners are looking at converting their properties into student accommodation as there is still a shortage of student housing. However, the feasibility of the conversion must now be revisited due to the lower capping of NSFAS funding for 2023 (R60k in 2022) and the uncertainty of NSFAS funding going forward.
It has become clear that more and more companies and institutions are granting students bursaries which provide them with the necessary accommodation funding to further their studies.
There is still a market for the placement of private students, i.e., where parents do not qualify for NSFAS funding.
The student market is highly sensitive and volatile. However, with the right management team it can remain a successful investment for a landlord.