International students continue to flock to the UK to further their education at some of the most prestigious universities and colleges in the world.
According to figures published by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) in April 2018, the number of applicants from non-EU overseas countries has increased by eight per cent this year, hitting a record high of 65,440. Applications from EU nations rose by two per cent to 46,040, while the proportion of English 18-year-olds requesting university and college places also reached a new record.
There are many desirable locations where individuals from within the UK and further afield can choose to pursue their studies, one of which is Newcastle. In addition to the facilities on offer at its two universities, this city gives students the opportunity to sample a vibrant slice of British culture.
For buy-to-let property investors, the popularity of Newcastle means strong demand for student accommodation and high occupancy levels.
Newcastle’s growing appeal
A report released by Knight Frank in February 2018 cited UCAS figures showing that, since 2008, the number of applications to Newcastle’s higher education institutions has risen by 35 per cent.
Data for 2015-16 revealed that the 6,560 international students at Newcastle University made up more than a quarter (29 per cent) of the overall full-time student body, which comprised 22,245 people. That proportion is higher than the national average of 25.2 per cent.
Both the University of Northumbria and Newcastle University are expected to see stable student numbers in the short to medium term, meaning consistent demand for accommodation.
These institutions have made some significant investments designed to maximise their appeal to applicants.
As well as being the first UK university to open an overseas medical school and generally expanding its international activity, Newcastle University has teamed up with the city council on the £250 million Science Central, the focus of which is urban innovation.
The University of Northumbria, meanwhile, has invested £200 million in its city centre campus over the course of a decade. It plans to spend a further £52 million over the next two years.
Beyond the universities, Newcastle has a lot to offer students, including a renowned nightlife scene and cultural attractions such as the Theatre Royal and the BALTIC Centre For Contemporary Art.
The benefits of purpose-built accommodation
Wherever they decide to study, all international students and their families must give close thought to their living arrangements. Given the various benefits and reassurances it offers, purpose-built accommodation is a popular option for this particular market.
A report from professional services firm EY noted that international students are “often prepared to pay higher rents for all-inclusive, superior and guaranteed accommodation”.
The number of individuals from foreign countries enrolled to study in the UK increased by 7.4 per cent in the five years up to 2015, according to the research, fuelling steady growth in demand for purpose-built housing.
Students receive the reassurance of everything being included in the price they pay for their accommodation, from basic rent and bills to extra provisions such as gym membership. They also have easy access to leisure amenities and shared facilities that could help them socialise and settle in to their new home.
For parents of students heading overseas to study, one of the biggest benefits of purpose-built accommodation is the security it offers. A development such as Opto Student Newcastle, for example, provides key fob access, 24/7 CCTV coverage and an on-site management team.
Demand exceeds supply
Strong demand for bespoke housing and the willingness of international students to pay higher rents to secure these benefits are highly positive factors for investors in purpose-built student accommodation.
Looking to the future, there is a strong likelihood that this asset will continue to offer excellent prospects for rental yields and high occupancy levels in Newcastle, largely because demand is exceeding supply.
Knight Frank’s research revealed that the city’s universities and private sector accommodation schemes currently offer 17,391 bedrooms – enough to cater for only 40 per cent of the total student population. Even if the consented development pipeline of 3,615 bed spaces is completed, more than half (52 per cent) of students would still be unable to access purpose-built accommodation.
Investors in this asset can therefore expect to see strong demand, particularly from international students willing to pay for the many benefits and reassurances of bespoke housing. Combined, these factors make student accommodation an appealing and potentially lucrative investment.
Studio apartments within Opto Student Newcastle offer investors 8% NET per annum assured for 5 years from a fully managed room within a high quality purpose-built development. Contact Experience Invest today for more information.