The best places to invest in student property in 2016
As more and more people look to invest in student property, where are the best places for buyers to spend
Over the last few years, the market for student property has grown at an incredible pace, with investors piling money into a sector that has grown from a small niche into one of the most lucrative and attractive of all asset classes, both within and outside of property.
Both 2013 and 2014 saw student property investment in the UK top £3 billion, but 2015 was the year where it really came into its own, with £6 billion being put into properties in this sector.
Unite Group reports that 85 per cent of second year undergraduates are now looking for quality, purpose-built student homes that fulfill all their needs, and with the CBRE statistics showing that student accommodation generally has occupancy rates of some 99 per cent, it's easy to see why people put their money into this area of the market.
With this strength of demand – and student numbers expected to continue to grow year on year – the sector is likely to see even more investment in the years ahead, potentially making even 2015 pale into insignificance in the long run.
But where should investors look to spend? UK property specialist Experience Invest takes a look at a few of the very best markets in the country for investment in student property in 2016.
Manchester is one of the easiest choices when it comes to investment in student accommodation. Over the last few years, the city has undergone something of a transformation, with the moving north of many media companies in particular, having seen it become something of a revelation in residential lettings. But even as more people come to live in the city for work, it remains a hotbed of student activity.
Manchester has more students than any other city in Europe, 85,000 across four universities, which gives investors the peace of mind that it's one of the liveliest areas of demand in the entire country.
The still relatively low entry prices and high yields in the city also mean that 2016 could be the very best time to put money into Manchester's thriving student property sector.
Few cities have seen regeneration in their city centres quite like Liverpool in the last few years, and with many of the new build student properties being centrally located, it's time to put money into an area that will be ready to take off in the last years of this decade.
The nightlife in the city centre is more plentiful and impressive than it's ever been – which is likely to bring in an influx of residents – and with the number of students in the city now topping 50,000, it's becoming one of the most important cities for universities in the entire nation.
The UK's second city has two main factors that make it a great place for student property investors; quality of life and the sheer volume of people studying there.
The bohemian nature of Birmingham has made it increasingly popular with students from London over the last few years, especially with the likes of Aston University's consistently strong performance going hand in hand with this.
And with as many as 65,000 students living in Birmingham, there will scarcely be a shortage of people to rent good quality, modern accommodation that really enhances the trendier areas of the city centre and its attraction for students.
A surprising entrant for 2016, Brighton is becoming more and more popular as the years roll by, especially as the number of people enrolling in its two universities – University of Brighton and University of Sussex.
Much like Birmingham, it has become very popular in the last couple of years with London-based students who are not only seeking out a strong education, but also the more peaceful way of life that can be found on the south coast.
Unlike most of the other areas, Brighton is also a great place to invest in more traditional properties. Beach side accommodation may not be the sort of trendy flats seen in most cities, but it's popular with those looking for something a little different from their student digs, and Brighton can be a way to buy away from the more popular areas for the more savvy investor.