Research shows PBSA cheaper than wider PRS

Knight Frank’s latest research reports that students living in purpose-built student accommodation pay less than those in the wider PRS.

Lewisham Exchange, Vita Student's 35-storey purpose-built student accommodation scheme in South East London – Knight Frank | PBSA News
Lewisham Exchange, Vita Student's 35-storey purpose-built student accommodation scheme in South East London.

Knight Frank’s latest Student Property Report for 2022-23 shows that students living in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) pay less than those in the wider rental market. The research shows that in some markets, students are paying up to £16,500 per year in living costs. With the cost-of-living crisis, this is set to increase further in the coming months.

By mapping popular university towns and cities across the UK, Knight Frank’s research revealed that in 80% of the markets examined, the average cost for a student in PBSA was lower than the cost of accommodation in the wider rental market.

Of the 15 towns and cities analysed, London offered the greatest difference in price. Students living in PBSA in the Capital pay 33% less than those living in the wider rental market once bills are included. This is a saving of approximately £108 per week, or £5,527 over a 51-week tenancy.

Other popular university cities including Liverpool, Sheffield, Glasgow and Leicester also offered students savings of approximately 25%, 15%, 14% and 11% respectively. 

“Against the backdrop of a cost-of-living crisis – something students are not immune to – there has been a changing sentiment towards PBSA. Once seen as a more expensive alternative to renting in a student HMO, rent and utility inflation means that more students are now opting for the fixed cost model of PBSA which offers relative value for money.”

Katie O’Neill, Head of Student Property Research, Knight Frank