In the academic year 2014/2015, there were 72,000 students in the UK in purpose-built accommodation, compared to 34,000 seven years earlier.
Students are demanding high-quality accommodation and are willing to pay higher rents for more luxurious accommodation. The average weekly rent for purpose-built student accommodation in the private sector is £143, compared to £120 five years ago. Student accommodation rents rose by 2.1% last academic year, but this is below the average rent rise for the UK as a whole, which stands at 3.2% according to Knight Frank’s data.
Knight Frank said that there is a lot of interest among investors in the student accommodation market. Universities own 60% of purpose-built student accommodation, with private investors owning the other 40%.
Knight Frank said that the supply of purpose-built student accommodation does not meet the demand. There has been a rapid increase in international students studying in Britain and other European countries. The CEO of StudentMarketing, Samuel Vetrak, said:
“International students are the future. The numbers of domestic students are decreasing, due to demographic trends, but that decline is more than compensated by the increase in foreign students targeting continental Europe.”
Building new student accommodation can be expensive. Smaller investors can purchase existing houses and flats to meet the demand for student accommodation. There are many specialist lenders who provide commercial mortgages for buy-to-let landlords investing in the student housing market.