Student living provision reaches new record

Birmingham is now home to 21,768 purpose-built student beds.

A record 30,000 new student accommodation bed spaces were delivered during 2017, taking the total number of purpose-built spaces available to 602,000.

Cushman & Wakefield’s UK Student Accommodation Report 2017/18 looks at the student accommodation market across the UK, including demand and supply of new developments. While the numbers of newly delivered en-suite and studio spaces have both increased significantly, the supply of studio rooms has increased by 106% since 2014.

Overall rents per bed space in student accommodation increased 2.9% between academic years 2016/17 and 2017/18, marginally above the 2.7% seen during the same period in the previous year, indicating the sustained health of the student accommodation market as a whole. However, there were significant variations across the UK as well as by type and sector.

Birmingham is now home to 21,768 purpose-built student accommodation bed spaces for the 2017/18 academic year, with the city maintaining its position as being home to the fourth largest number of bed spaces in the UK. Birmingham is a top tier university city and home to four significant institutions which attract a significantly large number of international students, which has led to high investor and developer interest in the city.

An additional nine blocks opened in 2017/18 accounting for 1,643 bed spaces to meet the increasing demand from international students and those arriving to study from the rest of the UK. 78% of these bed spaces are en-suite. This includes the Student Housing Company’s Bentley House comprising of 534 bed spaces to the north of Aston University’s campus. Newly opened in September 2017, 88 Bromsgrove House located in the heart of Birmingham’s China Town delivers high end luxury with its very own cinema, library, karaoke and games room.

Despite ongoing intensive levels of development, the demand-supply balance in Birmingham has remained healthy thanks to continued student number growth (particularly at the University of Birmingham) and the movement of BCU to the city centre. There remain a large number of developments in the planning pipeline, meaning that new schemes need to be well located, whilst offering good value and the extensive social amenities now deemed so important by students.

David Feeney, Advisory Associate at Cushman & Wakefield, commented: “It is encouraging that the student accommodation market continues to flourish despite initial concerns following the EU Referendum and the impact of increased student tuition fees. However, in a number of cases studio development has been driven by higher prices rather than by true student demand, which now risks oversupply. En-suites and shared rooms provide a cheaper bed and more of a social experience, with communal and shared spaces.

“There is a real opportunity for developers to meet the demands for more affordable accommodation and provide more standard or en-suite rooms for students. Studios are 45% more expensive but do they offer a 45% better experience? It is all about the value of the experience and this will increasingly drive students’ preferences for accommodation.”