In recent years, the number of students who have been looking for privately let accommodation rather than the more traditional university-owned property has grown, helping to push the private sector on to greater success year after year, culminating in nearly £6 billion worth of investment in 2015.
However, this move towards private accommodation to this point has largely been fuelled by a lack of stock. As student numbers have climbed year-on-year since 2011, there’s been more pressure on property owned by universities, and this lack of stock has pushed more students towards the private market; but this could all be about to change.
According to a Times Higher Education report, students are increasingly worried about what they get for their money in terms of university-owned accommodation, and the next few years could see students choosing actively to live in privately let accommodation because of this, and the value for money it offers rather than simply greater availability.
It quotes the case of the University College London (UCL) students, who refused to pay the consistently increasing price for accommodation owned by the institution. Those opposing the rises said that the university had increased what it charges by as much as 56 per cent in the last six years, and demanded it drop prices by 40 per cent immediately.
Student accommodation has a reputation for being somewhat low in quality, and for what students are offered in halls of residence, it’s almost understandable that there would be an outpouring of anger when prices rise time and again.
So is this where the private sector can step in and claim even more prominence in the student property market? Companies like Experience Invest are increasingly focusing on the development of student properties that really deliver what students are looking for.
Purpose-built properties offer things such as high-speed internet connections, spaces for socialising and study areas that are vital in attracting students. In many cases the quality that newer properties designed with students in mind gives, will provide them with better value for money, which could drive a further push away from university-owned accommodation, and a far improved level of demand for the private market, helping it become an even more important player for years to come.