Of all the sub-sectors of the UK property market, purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) is an area of growing interest for domestic and international real estate investors. In fact, the UK’s PBSA market is worth over £50 billion, making it the second largest in the world.
There are plenty of reasons why investors are injecting capital in PBSA projects across the country. Above all, however, is the fact that demand for student accommodation is rising. To meet demand, investors are partnering with construction companies to ensure they have the funding needed to complete on new-build developments.
Catering to rising demand
The number of students enrolling for higher education is rising, and this can be partly attributed to the growing number of international students. Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency revealed that in the 2018/19 academic year, there were 485,000 international students in the UK. This was 5.9% higher than the year before.
Separate research from JLL forecasts a 27% increase in the number of full-time students in the next decade – equating to 40,000 new students per year.
While there have been some concerns raised over the long-term impact Brexit could have on the UK, the fact that student numbers are rising means that Brexit has not dampened the reputation of the country’s higher education institutions. Moreover, of the international students who study at UK universities, almost three times as many come from non-EU countries (343,000) compared to within the EU (143,000).
The challenge is now ensuring there is adequate accommodation to meet future student demands. At the moment, only 26,619 new rooms are currently in the development pipeline for the 2019/20 academic year – well short of the numbers required.
Opto Living and Experience Invest
At Experience Invest, we understand the importance of the higher education sector, which is why we are close partners with the Opto Living. Responsible for some of the UK’s leading PBSA projects, Opto Living is currently managing a number of projects to ensure there are modern living facilities in the UK’s top student hotspots.
2020 is gearing up to be an important year for Opto Living, and we are already pleased to announce the following updates:
- Opto Student Newcastle is due for 100% completion in mid-February. At the moment, 167 of the 227 rooms have been completed, with 147 rooms currently occupied
- Construction for Opto Student Cardiff is scheduled for April. With planning permission secured for 728 studio apartments and a multitude of onsite facilities, this will be Opto Living’s largest project to date
By understanding the changing needs of students when it comes to university accommodation, and working closely with local authorities and government bodies, Opto Living is playing a leading role by ensuring there is adequate PBSA in place to cater for the growing student population.
Experience Invest is a proud partner of Opto Living and looks forward to supporting both its current and future projects in the UK.
For more information about Opto Living, click here.