A new report focusing on population growth in the south west of the UK has shown that over the past 10 years, Plymouth has emerged from a dockland town to become a vibrant university city.
The survey conducted by GVA Grimley Ltd, commissioned by Plymouth, South Hams, West Devon and Cornwall councils and Dartmoor National Park Authority, has shown that the current housing supply in Plymouth is unable to keep up with its rising population.
The report, which is partly based on data from the 2001 and 2011 censuses, has shown that Plymouth has evolved into a desirable university city over the years, due to an influx of young people aged 20 to 25 moving to the city.
According to the report, between 2001 and 2011, over 1,500 people aged 15 to 19 moved to Plymouth in search of education, jobs and homes. Over the same period of time, Plymouth’s population grew by 15,600 people to 256,600.
With the city’s population expected to reach 300,000 by 2031, there is a strong demand for new-build property in Plymouth, especially accommodation for students who are currently being priced out of the local market.
For would-be buyers, average house prices in Plymouth are 6.3 times the average income. The report suggests that rising house prices coupled with a growing number of cash-rich older residents who are buying local properties, is driving students out of the market.
Cllr Mark Lowry, the Cabinet minister for finance, commented that Plymouth is building only half as many houses as it needs just to stand still, with the city in need of an extra 1,000 new homes per year to keep up with population growth.
It’s no wonder why property expert, Knight Frank, stated that Plymouth is a location where student property is ‘structurally unsupplied’. With only 55% of the available rooms with en-suites, there is a high demand for new-build properties to cater for rising student numbers.