Record-breaking new student bed spaces provided in 2018

The UK student accommodation market continued to flourish in 2018, with 31,348 new beds delivered for the 2018/19 academic year, according to new research from Cushman & Wakefield. This has taken the total number of purpose-built spaces available to a record 627,115 and a further 36,000 new rooms are expected to enter the market in 2019.

Cushman & Wakefield’s UK Student Accommodation Report 2018/19 looks at the market across the UK, including demand and supply of new developments.

New data reveals the private sector has grown 130% in four years and now controls over half of all supply in the market, if considering on-campus partnership bed spaces as ‘private sector’ beds. This is a significant change from 2014 when universities provided two thirds of all beds in the UK. New supply has also been dominated by private sector development with 77% of all beds delivered by this part of the market in 2018.

David Feeney, UK Student Accommodation Advisory at Cushman & Wakefield, commented: “The student accommodation market shows no sign of decelerating with another record-breaking year of student bed-space provision in 2018. Even with the uncertainty caused by Brexit we don’t expect the UK to become any less venerated as a top location for study and predict the upward trend to continue in 2019.

“Students are increasingly discerning when they select a university and the quality of amenity spaces is more important than ever to the success of schemes. With the private sector tendency towards individual rooms and amenity quality, there is a real opportunity for developers to meet increasing demand, in a market where students are not just weighing up the quality of their course, but the quality of facilities too.

“Over the coming year we will see more re-provisioning of bed spaces into high-grade communal spaces and an increasing number of private-university partnerships to achieve outstanding living spaces for students close to academic buildings.”

The Cushman & Wakefield Student Accommodation Tracker recorded 15,993 purpose-built student accommodation bed spaces in Bristol for the 2018/19 academic year – a 4.2% increase over the previous year. Growth was driven primarily by the new UNITE development at Brunel House which saw an additional 246 beds being introduced to the market, most of them en-suites, with weekly rents starting at £167. En-suites are the most common room type in the Bristol student accommodation market, with over 50% of bed spaces now listed as such – a figure which has doubled since 2014.

With average weekly rents of £177, Bristol’s halls of accommodation are some of the most expensive outside of London. Whilst the number of en-suite bed spaces in Bristol has grown by 27% since 2015, an ongoing undersupply of purpose-built stock means that en-suite prices grew by 4.0% on average between 2017/18 and 2018/19.

David Feeney added: “There are growing concerns about the impact of a burgeoning student body on the city’s Council Tax base, with losses of £1.6 million forecast for the coming year due to student exemptions. With likely increases in student numbers in the coming years, concerns over the impact of Bristol’s student population on the local housing market are likely to continue.”