Why student property is still an attractive investment

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It’s common knowledge that the tertiary education sector was resoundly opposed to Brexit, fearing that it would make the UK a less attractive destination for both students and academics from the EU.


While this position is understandable, it overlooked the fact that the UK’s universities have global appeal and so while the prospect of Brexit may still be unappealing to the sector, it is highly unlikely to cause it any serious damage, meaning that student property investment still presents an attractive opportunity for investors.


UK universities offer massive value compared to their global equivalents.


UK universities offer a very high standard of education for very reasonable prices when compared to universities in other countries, especially the United States. What’s more, in the UK, full-time students at universities are generally allowed to work for up to 20 hours a week during term time and unlimited hours in the academic holidays (for any employer in any role).


This is a significant difference to other countries, for example, in the U.S. there are only very limited employment opportunities for international students.


There is significant demand for university places from domestic students


Even though the UK is a popular destination for students who wish to study internationally, most university places are filled by local students. This is particularly true in Scotland, where Scottish residents (and students from EU member states) are given free tuition and, hence, the cost of attending university is vastly reduced.


Far from reducing the number of students requiring accommodation, domestic students help to support it as they will often choose the university offering the subject or course which they perceive to be most suited to their needs and wants, rather than the university which is closest to them geographically.


Most students in the UK spend at least their first year in purpose-built student accommodation


A student’s first year at university is typically as much about making new friends and learning the basics of independent living as it is about studying. Because of this, the vast majority of them actively prefer to begin their university life in purpose-built student accommodation, which is guaranteed to provide an in-built support network and, these days, will typically have some level of on-site facilities (such as a laundrette), which is convenient at the best of times and a distinct plus when you are still learning your way to lecture halls and have very little idea how to navigate your university town as a whole.


In the old days, students typically left PBSA after their first year to share accommodation with friends and many still do (hence the popularity of student towns with buy-to-let property investors), however some prefer to remain in halls and enjoy the convenience they offer.


There is still a pressing need for new PBSA developments


Although many universities have been working extensively with the private sector to improve the stock of PBSA, the fact still remains that there is still a pressing need for new PBSA developments partly to replace the outdated halls of residence in which many students still live and partly to increase the supply of student accommodation to reflect the fact that more young people than ever are attending universities.





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Nick Marr

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