UK student accommodation: Is it a good investment opportunity?

We evaluate the case for investing in student property in the UK. Student numbers increased by 19,000 in 2013/2014; steadily increasing demand from overseas students and lack of available suitable accommodation has resulted in a trend toward purpose built student accommodation. The lack of funding for new built property has created an opportunity for lucrative gains for investors.
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Sept. 29, 2013 - PRLog -- The pool of global ‘travelling students’ is predicted to double to eight million by 2025, with Britain set to attract more than the US, according to the British

Council. These students need to live somewhere – and can pay.

In June 2013, the UCAS figures confirm that the number of applications increased by 3.1% over the previous year. The biggest percentage increases in student applications came from Malaysia with a 25% increase, while non-EU applications increased by 6% on average.

The universities are using the student accommodation as part of the overall marketing plan in attracting international students.

The days of a landlord letting out a house in the suburbs to students instead of a family are starting to disappear. Students are becoming increasingly discerning buyers and branding is increasing important.

‘The trend has moved rapidly towards purpose built student accommodation becoming the norm’ confirms Stride Treglown architects and project managers.

In London, there has been a lot of activity and development. Banks and insurance companies such as HSBC, Legal and General have mainly refinanced existing portfolios with bank lending still very tight on new build development.

Outside of London, finance sources have been almost non-existent. ‘For smaller scale deals and new entrants, debt sources remain very limited outside of London’ says Jo Winchester of CBRE.

5% is Knight Frank’s forecast for like-for-like rental growth across the regions this year. The number of University applications typically outstretches the number of acceptances by 25%- 30% which shows that demand is really strong, 19,000 more students. Where are they all going to live?

New accommodation has to be built; the solution provides an interesting opportunity for people to joint venture with the developers to facilitate the new development of the much needed student accommodation.

Investors buy an off plan student ‘pod’ or a self-contained studio in a purpose built student block which is fully managed by a nationwide student management company upon completion.

Student Accommodation Investment is perfect suited towards overseas investors and retirees alike because the onsite management company takes care of every aspect of the property lettings and management.

‘Our investors have been drawn to UK student accommodation investments which have proven to deliver net returns between 8% and 9% per annum. They relate and understand the investment because many of them have paid for their own kid’s university accommodation’ says Arran Kerkvliet of One Touch Property Investment.

The NUS/Unipol Accommodation Costs Survey, 2012/2013, reveals that the average weekly rent for a room in university owned accommodation in the UK doubled over 10 years.

Growing student numbers, positive returns and an easy to understand concept; lots of other investors felt much more comfortable with student accommodation investments than investing in the volatile stock market. Most people decided that they had to take action after looking at their bank savings statement reflecting a 1% interest on savings. How happy are you with what your hard earned money has made this past year?


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