According to data, international students in Europe suffer an average yearly price rise of 14.5 percent across all rental property categories.
The Housing Anywhere International Rent Index by City study, which examines one-bedroom flats, studios, and private rooms in 22 European cities, was released in the first quarter of 2022.
According to the survey, Paris is the most expensive city in Europe for both a private room and a one-bedroom apartment, with the latter costing an incredible €1,978 per month on average, followed by London at €1,940.
While the rental housing crisis persists, tenant demand is increasing as the Covid-19 pandemic limitations are lifted and international student mobility is restored.
“Since most travel restrictions have been lifted, demand for rental properties has been rising fast, resulting in an overstrained rental market,” said Djordy Seelmann, CEO of Housing Anywhere.
The space that a private one-bedroom apartment provides is a luxury that many overseas students cannot afford. Instead, many people opt for studio flats or house shares as more cost-effective alternatives.
Hannah Jones, a native of Edinburgh, Scotland, is in Paris pursuing a master’s degree in Education Sciences and told The PIE that she considers herself to be getting a great deal, spending €550 per month for a private room in a shared apartment.
Jones’ rent is much less than normal, according to the research, with the average monthly cost of a private room in Paris being €789.
Unfortunately for students like Jones, the data shows a year-over-year increase in all property types across all locations that exceed pre-pandemic pricing, including a 12 percent increase for private rooms and a 16.2 percent increase for studios.
“I think the rent prices are extremely high in Paris compared to other cities in France and although the prices may be only just affordable, the apartments are usually very small and in bad condition,” added Jones.
“The rental market is extremely competitive and it’s very hard to find an apartment. As a foreigner and a student who doesn’t earn three times the rent, most landlords are not at all interested in letting to you.”
Jones is qualified for the Caisse des Allocations Familiales (CAF), a housing stipend provided by the French government for students. She has not gotten any money since seeking help six months ago.
In other cities, the average quarterly rise for each kind of accommodation has almost doubled, with an increase of 10.8% for flats, 9.2% for studios, and 7.7% for private rooms.
According to Juan Rayón, head of the Erasmus Student Network, housing has long been a difficulty, with studies indicating that 45 percent of Erasmus+ study mobility students struggle to find housing. A comparable percentage found that lodging expenditures were greater than planned.
“Housing has been a problem for quite a several years, especially in certain mobility destinations, like capitals, big cities, etc. It’s one of the main challenges,” he said. And as forms of mobility become more flexible, the difficulties increase, he continued.
“In the last few years, we are seeing an increase in, for instance, training ships. Now there’s more talk on the importance of short-term mobility, especially for inclusion purposes. So basically, this adds up to the existing challenges.”
To support students in non-traditional mobility formats and short-term programs, Rayón proposed “concrete” support initiatives.
“We live in this inflationary era and it’s important to make sure that we adapt mobility grants to this change in prices.
We have been [talking about] this dimension of inclusive mobility and how important increasing mobility is, but if we are not fast at adapting grants, what’s going to happen is that students are not going to be able to properly afford [mobility].
“At the moment, everybody who goes to the same country gets the same grant, but that doesn’t really work, especially for accommodation.
“If you go on Erasmus to Madrid, it’s completely different compared to if you go to Alicante or to a medium-sized Spanish city. So, we need to adapt grants, depending on the cities. It can also be done through accommodation top-up,” he suggested.
He also believes that dialogue and collaboration between universities, local governments, and housing providers should be strengthened.
According to Housing Anywhere, “the stress level is expected to intensify even further as the rental market enters its traditional peak season in the next quarters”.
Seelmann added that “as cities struggle to develop and implement long-term strategies that combat the imbalance of supply and demand, the lack of available, affordable and accessible rentals is likely to continue”.
Throughout the report, the only yearly price decrease found was for private rooms in Helsinki and Brussels which saw decreases of 5.9% and 1.1%, respectively.
Market intelligence and advisory firm BONARD noted that purpose-built student accommodation, however “remains affordable”.
Rents have been continuously rising since 2019, according to Bonard. With the exception of Groningen (10%), Amsterdam (12%), Barcelona (22%), and Krakow (22%), most European cities saw single-digit increases in 2021. (69 percent). Milan and Hamburg, on the other hand, have seen their private PBSA rentals drop by 5% and 3%, respectively.
“Comparing private PBSA to the private rental market, in most countries PBSA is more affordable,” Julia Momotiuk, head of Rented Residential at BONARD explained.
London and Paris are notable instances of this tendency, with PBSA average monthly rents 15 percent cheaper than the private renting market. Rents are 23 percent and 27 percent lower in Rotterdam and Venice, respectively, for those who choose private PBSA.
However, Rayón emphasized that money is not the only difficulty that students encounter.
“Every year we get a number of emails from students saying they arrived to their destination and the flat was a scam,” he said. “Around 10% of students have problems with accommodation, which is quite a lot if you think about.”
“[He said] ‘since I didn’t receive my grant yet, I literally have no money’… ESN was there to support the student. He stayed with some of our volunteers in Barcelona and we very fast got in touch with his university.
He described a circumstance in which a student from Hungary came to Barcelona only to discover that the housing he had reserved was no longer available.
“The problem is that it can be traumatic for the students if they have problems with accommodation scamming, the quality, etc. that can really hamper the normal development of the mobility experience. Therefore, it’s so important. It is not significant in terms of the number affecting all the students, but when it affects, it’s really damaging the mobility experience.”
Between March 2021 and March 2022, Housing Anywhere looked at 133,736 properties on the marketplace.
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