The Class of 2020 invited student housing industry investors and other stakeholders to take part in an open business discussion on how to action the set up of benchmark data for the European student housing sector. The meeting took place during ULI’s European conference on the 4th of February 2015 in Paris and was hosted by the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
Why a European standard on benchmarking is essential
As the European student housing market is at a tipping point, the lack of sector specific benchmark data is withholding the sector of reaching its fullest potential. Without proper benchmarking, investment strategies cannot be created thus withholding the growth of the asset class as a whole. Clear benchmark data is desired by the various stakeholders looking to pioneer the development of the European student housing market.
At this time stakeholders are analysing the market by using their own metrics which are often country and organisation specific. When looking to other markets and comparing with other companies, it is often found that the used metrics of analysis are not applicable due to a variation in standards. This is leading to miss-understanding of the student housing sector creating a lack of trust in the market and prohibiting cross border investment within the European community, ultimately withholding the development of the student housing sector.
Withholding the stakeholders from sharing the current information is that there is no independent body currently taking leadership in the research of the market. The general consensus is that data will be shared with an independent body, though not amongst one other for competitive reasons.
What is required to enable data sharing for benchmark purposes?
Needed by the various stakeholders to be able to maximise their capabilities in developing student housing is a European benchmark report. To enable this, the consensus is that a working group needs to be set up to develop the metrics to which the data can be collected by an independent governing body.
- This group will be lead by a governing body to take on the research
- This group will consist of a mix of stakeholders, this to establish the right metrics needed for the various stakeholders.
- The stakeholders in this group have a long term interest in student housing and are therefore willing to commit to the success of benchmarking the sector
Role of The Class of 2020
As an independent foundation who’s mission is to advance European student housing, The Class of 2020 shall set to establish and the facilitate a working group whose goal is to develop standardised metrics which can be used for collecting benchmark data in Europe.
The Class of 2020 will look into its broad spectrum of partners for participants in this working group, followed by data collection and publication of a European student housing benchmark report.
Quotes from the session:
- “We might be doing a terrible job at this moment. But without an industry benchmark, we cannot measure our performance properly”
- “You can only make returns when you solve problems”
- “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”
- “A lack of data leads to a lack of understanding, which leads to a lack of trust”
This post was written by Nimesh Patel – Partnership Manager at The Class of 2020.