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Student accommodation

Uni applications rise in positive sign for student accommodation market

Author: Gemma





The number of people applying for places on undergraduate courses in 2020 increased by 1.6% from last year – a positive sign for the student property investment market.

The Covid-19 lockdown has had repercussions for various sectors of the UK property market, from mainstream residential housing to more niche segments like student accommodation.

Encouragingly, there are now indications of positivity returning to the industry, from signs of recovery in buy-to-let property, to a potential staycation boom that could boost the holiday home market.

Good signs for student accommodation

The latest encouraging signals relate to student property, with figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) showing that higher education applications increased during the coronavirus lockdown.

A total of 514,020 people of all ages from across the UK applied by June 30th 2020 to secure places on undergraduate courses due to start in the autumn.

That number marks an increase of 1.6% from this time last year, and also makes up for a reduction in applicants recorded earlier in the year.

The proportion of 18-year-olds applying for university and college places reached a record high of 40.5%, compared to 38.9% last year. This is the first time more than four out of ten 18-year-olds have applied for undergraduate courses at this point in the cycle.

Encouragingly, the number of young people looking for places in higher education has increased despite there being 1.5% fewer 18-year-olds in the population than last year.

This is expected to be the final year of a UK-wide decline in the number of 18-year-olds in the population, which bodes well for future demand for university places, and consequently for purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA).

Encouragement for investors

These are all positive signs for investors who are looking at the PBSA market and seeking reassurance that there will be enough demand from tenants to deliver steady rental yields.

Clare Marchant, chief executive of UCAS, said the latest figures show “an encouraging picture” coming out of the coronavirus lockdown, with students clearly still keen to “expand their mind, stretch themselves, and seize the opportunities that higher education can offer”.

“Universities and colleges are setting out their ambitions to welcome students to their campuses this autumn, with many planning to blend high-quality online learning with face-to-face teaching and support,” she added.

“Confidence is building for an autumn term that safely captures the essence of the academic year’s traditional start as much as possible.”

UK student property has shown itself to be one of the most productive and profitable asset classes for investors in recent years.

If you would like to find out more about current opportunities in this space, book a free one-to-one consultation with Experience Invest.

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