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Purpose-built student accommodation providers must work more closely with universities to create happier students and communities

Students throwing hats in the air

The Property Marketing Strategists (TPMS) with leading on-campus student accommodation provider UPP have conducted one of the largest pieces of research focused on the views of home by Gen Z asking over 2,500 16-25 year olds. In a post-pandemic world where hybrid learning has taken a real step change it finds that  47% of current students still want to be in student accommodation and living with their peers.

Just 3% of Gen Z want to live alone, 12% want to live with 2 others and 54% want to live with 3-4 others whilst studying. One of the key reasons for living together is to share the bills with some 74% citing this. Community is central to the experience of university, and we know that students perform better when they are in supported living environments – making purpose-built student accommodation the answer, second only to university campus accommodation. Another key component is integration within the local communities within which they live – some 50% of students say that taking part in non-student community events is important to them – from volunteering, shopping and socialising beyond campus.

Deenie Lee, co-founder of TPMS comments, “At the moment it appears there could be more effective collaboration between Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) providers, Universities and Councils. These bodies need to come together more effectively to create a better balance of accommodation options in the interests of young people, universities and local communities. We know that councils would like to manage more closely student-let HMOs. It is the PBSA sector that is best suited to provide this accommodation outside of University-campus accommodation, but these bodies could co-ordinate better in order  to understand what councils, universities and students want from these homes.”

In 2020/21 there were 2.66 million students at UK higher education institutions, 750,000 students applied for full-time undergraduate places – a record high, despite concerns over Covid-19.

After studying, 38% of UK students are looking to rent where their career is likely to be. With PBSA acting as  a precursor to BTR and co-living homes, both sectors can learn from each other regarding the most effective ways to create connected communities in and out of the home. So, like PBSA operators, BTR providers also need to work closely with councils to ensure these homes are aligned with local economic priorities and policies that help attract and create jobs for Gen Z.