Thanks to its quality education, internationally recognized universities, and scholarships and financial support from the government, the UK is a great country to study in. In fact, nearly 2.38 million students were studying here at higher institutions in the academic year 2018-2019.
Currently, 19% of higher education students are international students and contribute more than £20 billion to the UK’s economy every year. After the United States, the UK is the second top host destination for international students, having a total of nearly 496,570 international students last year.
However, right now, the UK is experiencing an uncertain political climate, which may affect the study plans of international students, especially EU students. In a recent survey, 39% of EU students reported that they are keeping their study abroad options open as they fear that a no-deal Brexit may lead to higher fees. Yet, 10% of non-EU international students said that the uncertain political climate doesn’t affect their plan, and they will continue to study in the UK.
Yet, Brexit won’t be changing too many things for international students as they will have the same rights as before until 31 December 2020. So, the country remains an attractive study destination. Obviously, with so many students, both local and international students, showing interest in UK universities, it’s no surprise that the UK market for student accommodation is booming increasingly competitive.
Where do students prefer to live during their studies?
It’s no doubt, the UK attracts and will continue to attract lots of students to its reputable universities. Yet, is the housing market ready to host millions of students? And, where do students prefer to live: uni accommodations or private purpose-built student accommodation?
A Student Accommodation Survey conducted by UCAS, in which took part nearly 70.000 students found some interesting insights.
According to the survey, 30% of full-time first-year students prefer to live in private purpose-built student accommodation, which is an 8% increase from 22% as it was five years ago. The study also found out that 40% of them prefer to live in uni accommodation options provided by their university. The remaining 30% of students live in either private rented sector or at their parents’ homes.
According to the same survey, most students claimed that they were happy with their accommodation choice. However, the study concluded that while 76% of the students who lived in PBSA were happy about their accommodation, whereas only 73% on those living in the private rented sector was feeling the same way.
Another key finding of the survey is the fact that students reported that the most critical factor influencing their accommodation choice is value for money. In fact, 97% of respondents rated “value for money” to be the most important to them. 96% of them also rated the overall costs, the cleanliness of the bedroom, the quality of the accommodation, and the location of the property as being very or extremely important for them.
The PBSA sector will continue to grow
With such a huge influx of international and domestic students in the UK, it’s no surprise that the country has the second-largest purpose-built student accommodation worldwide, after the US, valued at more than £50 billion.
What drives the UK PBSA sector? Many aspects, including a massive demand for accommodation and the fact that it is a top destination for Asian investors. In fact, it is expected that over the next couple of years, investors will contribute nearly £8.8 billion, from which almost 30% is expected to go to the student housing sector.
Apart from high demand from students, there are also the young professionals, a group of customers aged 18 to 24, who have just graduating and they are still looking for employment in the same location where they studied.
Currently, the sector creates room for nearly 25.5000 students every year. And, as the PBSA sector is expected to attract even more private investors, we are also going to see it growing at even a faster pace.
Most popular student accommodation markets across the UK
You’d think that London is the most popular student accommodation market in the Uk, right? However, the capital isn’t really that student-friendly as it has high rent costs and long commute times. In fact, the survey from the UCAS found out that students who live in PBSA in London, Brighton, and Edinburgh have the longest commutes, with nearly 20% of them commuting for 30 minutes or more every day.
So, if London isn’t the top student-friendly accommodation market, which cities are?
The city is home to two prestigious universities which attract a total of nearly 21.000 undergraduate and postgraduate students from more than 120 countries. Its popularity among students has obviously led to incredible demand in student housing options. The good news for students is that there are leading estate agents in Newcastle who can help students find different locations to satisfy every type of student.
The latest available data suggests that there were nearly 25.000 student beds in Nottingham. Surprising as it may be, the city centre has a mere 1% vacancy rate, which means that the area is occupied almost entirely by students. Many property owners took advantage of this massive demand in student accommodation options and converted their properties to cater to the needs of young students and professionals. As a result, the city has also experienced an increase in student-friendly bars, pubs, and cafes.
Manchester is one of the top most attractive cities in the UK for international students. More than 33.000 students out of 100.000 students, who enrol in one of the most popular universities in Manchester, are international. To keep up with the increasing demand in student housing options, investors are knocking down old buildings located in the city centre area to build accommodation options that appeal to young residents. This has led to a new trend in the city: the city centre is populated almost entirely by students and families and working couples are moving to the quiet suburbs.