Market Update Western Europe

Virtual Summit DE

July 14th, 2020


Germany maintains a reputation for promoting international higher education beyond the industry itself. An acknowledgment of the long-term socio-economic benefits international students bring to Germany has resulted in the country’s offer of a package global talent can’t refuse: free tuition, a relatively low cost of living compared with neighbouring countries, thousands of English taught programmes from among the highest-ranked universities worldwide, post-study visa pathways, ample job opportunities, and a robust healthcare system. How have they responded to the pandemic and what does the future hold for the region? Hear what our expert line-up has to say during our final virtual summit of the season.

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Benjamin Röber-Rathay

Director Business Development

International Campus

Brian Welsh


Nido Student

Christiane Schmeken

Director Strategy


Frank Uffen


The Class Foundation

Gerrit Bruno Blöss

Founder & CEO

Leonie Ackermann

Board Member

FZS (Free Association of Student Bodies)

Stuart Osborn

Head of European Residential Investment Transactions

Knight Frank

Ulrike Hagendorf

Senior Research Manager

Catella Residential Investment Management GmbH


  1. Short term uncertainty: There are still significant obstacles to the normal start of Academic Year 2020/2021 in Germany. Students may not be able to study in Germany due to financial difficulty, visa delays or travel restrictions. Many universities have not communicated what the next semester and campus life will look like, which currently leaves students in a situation of insecurity.
  2. …but long term optimism: Young people are still wishing to go abroad. Only a small percentage of students say virtual education is an adequate substitute for a German higher education experience and Germany is perceived to have coped exceptionally well with the pandemic. Moreover, Germany will likely become a top alternative study destination to the UK due to Brexit and as the impact of the pandemic plays out, Germany’s higher education institutions may prove among the most resilient in Europe.
  3. Internationalization plays a broad role in society: Germany recognizes the important role internationalization plays in society. Student housing providers in Germany are also working hard to create environments to facilitate intercultural exchange. There is an opportunity for housing providers to contribute to Germany’s diplomatic efforts to attract and retain talent as the idea of student accommodation grows and offers more choice to domestic and international students.
  4. Student housing in Germany has a residential character: Students in Germany tend to stay in accommodation longer terms. This was highlighted through COVID-19, when only 2% of universities closed their housing during the pandemic and many operators saw low vacancy.
  5. Planning processes remain a challenge to new housing concepts: The robust German system makes for great business conditions, but planning policy in many cities does not allow for much innovation in housing. Some German cities are slowly opening to the role of living, working and learning environments in attracting talent and are changing approaches to things such as parking requirements as they become more familiar with blended living products.


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