Occupancy rates of student accommodation is good news for property investors

Occupancy rates for student developments are burgeoning as rooms continue to be reserved ahead of the September 2013 intake, according to property firm Knight Knox International. The firm advises property investors about the changing demands of students, whose desire once did not venture beyond simply having a bed to sleep in but who now do not see traditional halls of residence as adequate.

MP230908AH1-_0123This has led an increasing number of students, especially those from overseas, wanting boutique, state of the art accommodation with double en-suite bedrooms and gymnasiums. The firm says that this trend is being fortified by the high occupancy rates it has experienced in its latest student developments. The private student property market has ostensibly moved towards a city centre market over recent times, as students continue to situate themselves in urban locations, with most attending city centre campus universities, something which is demonstrated in the fact that 20 to 34 year olds now represent 36% of the adult population in city centres.

When this statistic is combined with the prestige associated with receiving a British education the firm believes this shows that the student market continues to offer such strong returns for investors and continues to attract a growing number of international students, who now represent 19.2% of the student population.

Quote from PropertyForum.com : “Official statistics from the UK authorities today confirmed that Britain has the fastest-growing population in Europe with a net increase of 419,900 between 2011 and 2012.”

Knight Knox International aims to provide private student accommodation in cities where demand outreaches supply, in terms of a shortage of beds for students in the area. Over the last 18 months it has launched over 10 high yielding student developments in undersupplied locations many of which have been launched in cities which have student populations of over 50,000, including Nottingham, Manchester and Liverpool.

It gives Liverpool as a good example where using Liverpool based developers X1 Developments has enabled the firm to market perfectly positioned developments. X1 Borden Court, which is located next to the University of Liverpool, is already 80% let for the 2013/2014 academic year and X1 Arndale House is already 75% let for the September 2013 intake. Another Liverpool project in Jamworks-Shaw Street is within a week of taking bookings – the development was already over 50% let and interest among students is high.

Leeds is another city which has long been undersupplied in terms of student housing and over the past 18 months the firm has launched projects such as St Ann’s Lodge and Lovell Park as a solution to the city’s housing needs. The Bank, a development providing bespoke private student accommodation in Bolton, is already 100% let for next year and a number of other Greater Manchester projects are to be launched soon. Projects released in 2012/2013 which are now completely sold out include Bard House in Nottingham, which is 90% let for the September intake and Dunn House in Sunderland, which is also 90% let for the 2013/2014 academic year.

Meanwhile, research shows that London’s graduate rental market is shifting away from traditional areas such as Shoredtich and Hoxton, to East Barnet, East Leyton and Forest Hill. A study by property website FindProperty.co.uk pinpoints new trends on the rental scene and found that areas around Canary Wharf, once popular which financial services professionals, are now out of favour, hinting that the graduate jobs market is also driving rental market trends. ‘Our research confirmed typical areas popular with graduates, but some were a real surprise. Graduates are being forced out of traditionally young areas. This influx of young people will lead to the gentrification of these areas, prime areas for buy to let investors to buy in,’ said the firm’s founder Peter Thum-Bonanno.

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