07 January, Avvenire
It’s not easy for a student moving to Milan finding accommodation at affordable prices. The offer is limited and expensive, not only in the city centre. As a result, more and more people have to make a compromise, finding temporary solutions, living with other people in crowded apartments. However, there are several accommodation options.
One is renting, although a series of problems limit the options here. There are millions of empty apartments in Milan since landlords don’t want to rent them. In an attempt to unlock these properties, the City of Milan has recently tried to find an agreement with property owners. The city administration launched a call for tender worth 1.350 million euro to temporarily put on the market houses and properties to address the housing emergency in exchange of an economic contribution. The situation is critical not only for students, as the city is going through a period of high demand for housing, causes the supply to reduce and rents to spike. The rent for a furnished apartment is set at 1,161 euro a month on average, 25% more than in Rome (925 euro) and 58% more than Florence (736 euro), according to figures from Solo Affitti as in December 2018. The report by Scenari Immobiliari and Camplus shows that the average price for a single room is 560 euro a month, the highest in Italy.
Rents in central and prime areas are still very high. The worrying data is the progressive reduction in the gap between high-range prices and low-range prices as the demand shifts towards less central areas of the city. Renting a room, the preferred accommodation solution by students is expensive everywhere. This is a problem for the 175 thousand students in Milan, 80 thousand of which moved to the city specifically for studying. Students are moving to the best city in Italy in terms of quality of life, but they have to deal with the costs of accommodation, transport, and cost of living in general. What to do then?
Student halls provide a solution. As the survey Scenari Immobiliari together with Camplus shows, student halls in Milan cover only 15.4% of the demand. The market has emerged in recent years, thanks especially to the initiatives of the universities present in the city. Student halls meet the demand of those students who wouldn’t be able to afford accommodation otherwise. Several projects are currently under process to broaden the offer for such solutions. For instance, the Bocconi university extended its campus in the former milk factory area (Centrale del Latte) inaugurating the new facility with 300 new places last September. In the same area, Hines is going to implement two other student halls. It will concern high-end accommodations for 600-700 beds each. The interest of real estate for student housing might be the solution for this shortage. The problem, however, doesn’t concern Milan only. In Italy, the student housing market shows a potential of 50 thousand beds with the possibility of doubling the current offer. This objective will require investments for about 3 billion euro.
The offer for beds in student halls currently covers 8.6% of the demand corresponding to 52 thousand beds, while the students that choose to rent privately are 620 thousand.
Translator: Cristina Ambrosi