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JLL reveal PBSA insights following A-level results day

Insights from JLL reveal an opportunity for the purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) sector to resume - following disruption caused by Covid-19.

JLL has released its Student Housing Leasing Survey which provides an update on the demand outlook for the purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) sector – following the release of this year’s A-Level results in England and Wales. The results are expected to trigger an active period for the PBSA sector.

JLL’s insights show a sharp increase in applications between January and June – which has led to a 2% increase in UK applicants. With 18-year olds, the participation rates are at their highest – which goes against the demographic decrease within this age group in recent years.

“There is still uncertainty around how things will look once the new academic year gets underway in September, but after a significant period of disruption there are some encouraging signs.” 

Philip Hillman, Chairman, Living Capital Markets, JLL

The overall acceptances on A-level results day are up 1.9% year on year. As of 30 June, UCAS data showed an increase of 10% in unconfirmed university places compared to last year – with over two thirds of students not having confirmed their final university offers. Despite some concerns, demand from international students increased by 5% on last year. The first clearing data shows UK acceptances are up 2.9% and non-EU acceptances are up 2.0% – even though EU acceptances have fallen by 15.2%. 

For this academic year, universities face a temporary 5% cap on how many students they can accept – increasing competition among students since 78% achieved A* to C grades, which is up 75.5% on last year.

The recent GDP, employment data and the disruption caused by lockdown means that deferrals are not expected to increase. This will give many universities the chance to fill places with high quality students.

According to JLL’s Student Housing Leasing Survey of over 145,000 beds – the equivalent to 45% of the private market – insights reveal that leasing activity for PBSA remains strong – with over 70% of beds already let for this academic year. PBSA bookings are ahead of where they were 12 months ago – mainly due to existing students rebooking, but also an increase in demand from new students.

“The longer-term outlook for student housing remains strong and it will continue to be driven by the same underlying counter cyclical factors that has attracted so much investment in recent years.”

Philip Hillman, Chairman, Living Capital Markets, JLL

Following the Covid-19 disruption in March and April, JLL’s insights reveal that a flurry of leasing activity is expected in the coming weeks – as students settle on courses and begin to secure PBSA ahead of the new academic year.

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