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09 Nov, 2022

Student Property Demand is Booming in the UK

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    A Boom in Student Property Demand

    Student property is one of the most popular methods of buy-to-let property investment in the UK.

    Usually, it is more affordable than regular residential properties, and in large cities where there is high demand for this property type. That means investors can rely on a consistent income for the majority of the year.

    Recently, the demand for student property has skyrocketed across the UK, as more students than ever return to campus after spending several years studying remotely.

    This demand is reaching unprecedented levels, with student housing developer Unite reporting in July 2022 that they have already filled 90% of their accommodation spaces for the 2022/23 academic year.

    This is a faster rate than during the COVID-19 pandemic, when it was only at 81% filled, and is even faster than pre-COVID, as in 2019 Unite only recorded 89% of their spaces being filled by the same point that year.

    Unite expects that it will achieve occupancy rates of 97% by this time next year, close to the pre-COVID levels seen by the company when term time starts.

    All this is clear evidence that students are returning to universities around the country in droves, and that there is a higher demand for high-quality accommodation than ever.

    Students inside HMO

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    What Does This Mean For Investors?

    Higher demand for student property is great news, as this means rents can rise at a faster rate than expected.

    Just over 44% of 18-year-olds submitted UCAS applications, the highest rate ever seen. More young adults than ever are going to university, and so with this larger contingent of students comes the need for more student property.

    With more students than ever fighting over similar numbers of properties, they will be more likely to pay a higher level of rent, which means more rental income in the pockets of investors.

    Unite has indicated that it can raise rents on the properties they own by around 3.5% or slightly more, which was the most optimistic of prior forecasts until this point.

    This is fantastic news for the student property market, as it can give investors confidence that the sector has bounced back from the damage the COVID-19 pandemic caused and is stronger than ever.

    Student accommodation is a popular property type for buy-to-let investors thanks to the more affordable property prices, so the chance to raise rental costs means it is likely investors will have higher rental yields on their investment portfolios.

    Naturally, this is exciting, as higher rental yields mean a better return on your investment than expected during the pandemic.

    Buy-to-let student property has traditionally been seen as old, run-down houses of multiple occupancy or HMOs, which are often just residential properties converted to house students.

    However, nowadays students prefer modern purpose-built student accommodation, which allows investors who purchase a property like this to charge higher rent each month due to the popularity of their properties.

    These kinds of student properties are often located near campuses or in major city centres, so there will be lots to do nearby for them to make the most of vibrant city life.

    As such, these kinds of properties are well-suited to make the most of the high demand for student properties and are in the best position to benefit from the booming market we are currently seeing.

    If you would like to learn more about investing in student property, try reading our in-depth guide to the topic by clicking the link.

    Alternatively, browse our range of purpose-built student properties available to investors by clicking here.

    For the latest on the UK Student Property Market, take a look at our updated 2024 guide. 

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    Dale Barham

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    Dale is a property content writer at RWinvest. Keeping a close eye on the UK property market, Dale helps our readers stay informed and up to date on the latest market news and statistics.

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