Market Update Western Europe

Virtual Summit FR

October 20th, 2020


In May, amid global alert on the pandemic, Campus France launched an international campaign with a video urging international students to “Choose France” acknowledging the crucial contribution of international students to the country’s research and innovation. One of the first countries to re-open borders to students, France didn’t forget national students either, as higher education institutions have moved mountains to make room for an increase in graduated high schoolers. As the academic year kicks off in Paris, Mayor Anne Hidalgo highlights that her administration is helping students with everything from housing to social life. And the attention paid to talent hasn’t gone unnoticed. According to Studyportals, France recovered the best as the destination in the EU for prospective students and as of July 2020, the search results for France even marked 14% higher compared to the same period in 2019. But despite compelling supply and demand dynamics, France remains a relatively underdeveloped student accommodation market. Paris has been the primary recent target of international investors’ European growth strategies, seeing some recent large portfolio deals and joint ventures in the coliving and flexible rental housing markets. What factors are influencing the type, speed, and location of investment in France? Are barriers to market entry preventing the living, working, and learning needs of students and young talent from being met? And how can the blended living players investing in accommodating young talent in the capital help shape the Mayor’s 15-Minute City?

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Jo Winchester

Executive Director


Joe Persechino

Head of Residential & Student Accommodation

AXA Investment Managers

Stefan Kolibar

Head of Marketing


Leading BONARD's marketing and partnership strategies.

Yoony Kim

Managing Director

The Class Foundation

Bringing together the intertwined industries, including higher education, real estate, and European university cities.

Michael Neuman

VP Investments Europe

Ivanhoé Cambridge

Dan Baker

General Manager, EMEA

Florent Bonaventure

Director of Communication & Student

Campus France


  1. Growth Ambitions and Realisations: it's evident that France is eager to attract global talent and is succeeding rather well with a recent steady 4,5% growth in international students traveling to France per year. Despite the potential impact of Covid, Campus France's ambition to attract 500,000 international students by 2027 still seems feasible.
  2. Why Attract Global Talent? The national/local governments and HEIs recognise and value the positive impact global talent has on the French economy, curriculum, rankings, and visibility. French HE is seen as a soft power since their culture, customs, and business style are an important export.
  3. Welcome, But Where Will They Live? Throughout the summit, we heard about the imbalance in demand and supply for housing international students and young professionals. Even for those with purchasing power access to quality housing is a challenging pursuit. The challenge for many students is not about finding the cheapest accommodation, but about value for money. This creates many opportunities for investors and developers to provide quality, serves and safety.
  4. Advice From Veterans and New Movers: Patience, perseverance, and caution. The demand is there but it's crucial to understand the market and have boots on the ground. Competition and the cost of land is high and regulations abound.


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