There has been a significant rise in the number of students who need a place to stay in the UK while they complete their university education. Student numbers are rising, and an increasing number of students are looking for high quality purpose-built student accommodation.
Student accommodation now is very different from what you might picture. Luxury apartments in new build city centre blocks are being built especially for the PBSA market. Students have been looking for more privacy, quality and convenience over recent years. With an increase in fees for UK students and considerable costs for overseas students, they are demanding more for their money than ever before. Features like 24-hour concierge services, flat screen TVs, on-site gyms and cinema rooms are all available for students who are looking for a more comfortable student experience.
New student apartments like those by RW Invest are offering students a luxurious and high quality living experience. They also provide investors with lucrative rental yields.
Student numbers high despite Brexit
Though Brexit has discouraged some EU students from studying in the UK, the number of international students choosing a university in the UK has remained high. Overall, 14% of undergraduates and 38% of postgraduates were from overseas.
The main students choosing to study in the UK came from non-EU countries, 21% were from China, followed by Malaysia, the United States, India, Hong Kong and Nigeria who each made up 4% in 2015. This is a reassuring indicator for property investors, as it shows the sector isn’t reliant on the EU and should be able to weather Brexit uncertainty with less impact.
Overseas students often stay in the UK for their entire university career without trips home, so they need a base for longer periods of time. They also often have an increased budget for accommodation and living costs as they can afford to study in the UK and their family wants them to do well. Many people view a UK education as an investment in the future.
To be able to afford something means to have the ability to pay for something without it causing serious financial problems afterwards.
Demand for student accommodation affects cities
The increased demand for student property has affected most UK cities. Travellers around the UK will notice the increasing number of high rise buildings, university expansions and blocks under construction. Students are having an increasing impact on UK towns and cities, contributing a great deal to the economy and making up a significant proportion of the population.
Cities with more than one university are also seeing an increasing impact from their new student residents. Cardiff, which has three universities, now has a population of which 20% are students. This has significantly affected the property market, with an ever-increasing demand for rental property for students.
In London, student numbers are growing 15 times faster than the available supply of rental property. Universities have been unable to keep up with the skyrocketing demand, leaving private student property firms with a lucrative gap in the market. Some universities have a shocking lack of beds for students. In Bristol there is a student to bed ratio of 1:93, in Southampton there are 41 students to each available bed and in Exeter there are over 22 students per bed space.
Student accommodation sector less volatile than other sectors
The student accommodation sector remains strong and is considerably less volatile than other sectors of the property market. With increasing student numbers, the demand for student beds is higher than ever. The standard need for a guarantor, often a parent, is another reason why student property investments remain secure. This predictable market is a great opportunity for property investors to secure lucrative rental yields and a regular, healthy income.