24,800 new student beds enter UK market

24,800 new student beds enter the UK market as Covid-19 fails to silence the call of the campus.

24,800 new student beds enter UK market as students wish to return - Cushman & Wakefield | PBSA News

New research from Cushman & Wakefield reveals that the purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) market has been remarkably resilient over the last year – despite Covid-19. The research reveals that there are 24,800 new student beds in the UK. The pipeline also remains strong. The national development pipeline currently stands at 115,000 beds – and approximately 58% of these have planning permission. Birmingham has the largest regional pipeline – at 6,700 beds.

There are currently 681,000 student accommodation beds across the UK. The new student beds entering the market for the 2020/21 academic year represents a net increase of 21,000 beds – with around 3,800 beds leaving the market, improving the overall quality of stock. Quality student accommodation continues to be on students’ minds – demonstrated in the price of a new university en-suite bed increasing by 17% annually compared to 2019/20. 

The Cushman & Wakefield report shows that 58% of student beds are now en-suite, and the number of rooms let by operators directly to students increased by 119% over the last seven years. The private sector has delivered the majority of the new beds this year (85%) and now owns 51.4% of beds in the UK.

Excluding London, the average private sector rents stood at £7,040 per year versus £6,409 in university-owned accommodation. Beds wholly owned by universities have grown by 4% – indicating increased appetite for universities to work with accommodation providers in long- and short-term partnerships. 

“Our clients have been faced with unprecedented uncertainties during the last year over the Covid-19 pandemic, but student accommodation operators have risen brilliantly to these new challenges. This has included providing additional support to help ensure the wellbeing and health of students is protected in these difficult times. Students have made it clear that they are intent on continuing their university journeys and going away to study still has an incredible value in providing important life experiences.

“Although some new beds have been delayed, the continued delivery and positive commercial outlook despite the pandemic confirms the engine for growth is still powering this market forward. Whilst universities may see this recent period of blended learning for many students as an opportunity to consider more flexible ways of learning into the future, the campus is set to be an important focus for learning as ever for students.”

Sarah Jones, Partner in Higher Education Public Sector Advisory, Cushman & Wakefield