If one prods over the past with all the fresh and new ideas, as and when they happened, it’s no surprise that everyone wants a piece of a new idea. Student housing is no different and one is not wrong to think that many want to have a piece (large or small) of this new and hopefully successful business.
Unlike most other sectors and industries where there has been a sea change in terms of product innovation and services, the real estate industry has been far behind in introducing fresh new concepts into the industry. The age-old idea of 1/2/3 BHKs was considered the only way forward since there was a demand for the same. Real estate builders never felt the need to introduce innovation into their offering simply because the age-old formula worked for more than two decades. However, over the last few years there has been a shift in the real estate market. The same old product became boring and excessive in supply. Consumers stopped investing in these offerings. It’s no secret that real estate has been going through tough times in the last couple of years. This slump in the real estate market was the primary reason for builders to look out for new ideas like co-living, warehousing, co-working and student accommodation. Many real estate players have been looking at products or services that can absorb the surplus that is already available in the market, and most importantly bail out the future by consuming a large chunk of real estate production.
Secondly, we live in an era where change is the only constant. From the way we eat to the way we communicate, everything around us has evolved tremendously. Almost everything mentioned above was considered a small business a few years ago until one realised that the name of the game is numbers. There was a time when student housing was about living in old hostel rooms with minimal facilities. Over the last decade, there has been a cultural shift in the way students want to live. The change in student accommodation was waiting to happen. The days of old dingy hostels are now over. When it comes to accommodation, students today look for modernised housing with high quality services that elevate their living experiences.
Thirdly, the average Indian’s standard of living has risen tremendously over the last two decades. This has resulted in the influx of a number of luxury brands into India. Exposure to international travel has changed perspectives on how people live world over. It has become highly aspirational for the Indian parent to provide quality lifestyle to their families. Providing good education has become a top priority for Indian parents. In their quest to provide the best for their children, parents today do not mind spending on quality accommodation that can provide comfortable living for their children. A few years ago, the concept of professionally managed hostels was never heard of. Today parents are ready to go the extra mile and invest in professional hostels and student accommodation that can ensure quality living for their children.
Finally, the best way to have an innovative and successful business model is to ‘Find a problem and create a solution for it’. We all know that there are millions of students in India that migrate from one city to another for education. Their quality of living has always been a huge concern for parents and for the students themselves. Despite approximately 34 million students in the higher education space in India currently, the options for student housing in the country are limited to basic campus housing, private hostels and residential paying guest format. Quality accommodation, developed to cater to the specific requirements of students, is the need of the hour.
Yogesh Mehra is the Founder and CEO of Tribe Student Accommodation.
First Published: IST