Skip to content

Student accommodation demand expected to stay strong in UK

Some sectors have argued that university towns could see fewer students needing rented accommodation within the relevant catchment areas. However, Caroline Kavanagh, group lettings director of Townends estate agents says there is no evidence of this.

‘The recession now has been going for a number of years, and young students don't have the same financial backing from their parents anymore, meaning that university is just not an option for some since yearly fees rose to as much as £9,000. This has meant that there seems to be a new trend of fresh out of school or college students wanting to earn money straight away and not take the university route, and this has been supported by an increase in applications from this group,’ she said.

‘As well as tuition fees, the general cost of living has increased so there are more financial factors to be considered. Inflation rises have pushed prices up across the board, and this has meant we are seeing more and more sharers in the lettings market as people can't afford to live on their own, especially if they are just starting out from school or college,’ she explained.

‘Although this increase in demand has been seen throughout our branch network, it does mean that in locations that we operate in with a university close by, appropriate accommodation will be required, making up for any shortfall as a result of fewer people studying at university,’ she added.

Reports have also suggested that it is a different story when looking at overseas students, as early figures show an increase in applications. ‘With this also in mind, there will definitely not be a shortage in demand for student accommodation,’ said Kavanagh.

Meanwhile, Savills London Planning team, on behalf of Alumno Developments, has gained planning permission for student accommodation and commercial space at the junction of  Hampton Street and Steedman Street, London, SE17, a new departure for the local council.

It will create 221 student beds and 1,308 square meters of commercial that will be used for start up businesses, incubator units and a coffee shop.

Approval follows many months of significant negotiations with the London Borough of Southwark officers, particularly with regard to financial contributions. ‘This is a significant decision from the London Borough of Southwark as it shows that the Council is willing to consider university led schemes, based on viability and recognises the importance the universities play in Elephant & Castle,’ said the team’s Scott Hudson.

The scheme will provide affordable student residential and start up/incubator units, which will be allocated by the University for local students.