The Covid-19 has impacted several businesses across the world. And student housing is no different. However, unlike many sectors who may find the road ahead fraught with bumps, this alternate asset class is likely to bounce back much quicker.
In India, millennials account for almost 35% of the country’s population and are the target market for student housing or co-living spaces. Specifically, in the student housing sector alone, the demand in the top 12 cities currently stands at approximately 12 Lakh beds.
We believe that going forward, shared accommodation spaces – for both students and working professionals will emerge and become an organised sector. Student housing is typically a 10-11 months revenue cycle, and in 2020 this is expected to be 8-9 months revenues assuming colleges open in September or October. Despite the significant revenue impact, students are expected to demand single/twin sharing rooms, which might mean altering the inventory of many hostels.
Hygiene and wellness: The key concerns
With hygiene and wellness being the key concern for residents, the industry is revamping the operating framework in line with the demand of consumers.
The student housing product on offer will be forced to evolve with more focus on creating a clean, hygienic, and equipped study from home kind of an environment. This would necessitate speedy connectivity, re-designed study rooms, and other changes.
Kitchens and food preparation areas will also require strict sanitisation protocols. The operational SOP will have to change to accommodate these changes and will need to align to Government and WHO protocols.
All precautions and guidelines laid down by the authorities must be adhered to; not only because that’s what the residents demand, but also in a broader sense to fight the pandemic.
Additionally, tying up with medical facilities for home care and tie-ups with hospitals will be critical to ensure maximum safety and wellness of the residents.
Though the pandemic has created huge uncertainties, the future of the organised student housing sector remains robust. It is a matter of ‘when’ colleges reopen to start physical classes rather than ‘if’. Demand for professionally managed operators is expected to increase as parents will endow an increasing value on personal space, safety, and hygiene.
This article is contributed by Nidhi Kumra, CEO and Co-founder, Your-Space.
(The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of RoofandFloor)