Student Housing: Is it a good investment?
This week Savills published their student housing report. Here are some key findings from that report and some of personal experience and observations from working with our clients.
“Student housing continues to perform well as an asset class with higher yields than both residential and commercial property” – Savills
In the past the student market has been steered clear by investors due to the reputation of how students treat your property. However in recent years and the massive influx of students, the shortage in student housing has created a market where the returns are far higher and secure than residential and commercial property.
According to HESA between 1999 and 2012 the number of full-time students in higher education grew by 540,000, an increase of 46%.
With university halls of residence just about able to cope with the increasing numbers of first year students and private sector student accommodation operators racing to scale up, most students ended up in the private rented sector.
Many landlords ceased the opportunity, some to accommodate for their own children and their friends. The use and availability of Buy to Let mortgages made it even easier.
Where to invest in Student Housing?
According to Savills, Bath, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Oxford and St Andrews are at the top of the list for investors.
PropVestment’s clients have shown interests in south coast universities like Southampton and Portsmouth. In the past favourites have included Manchester and Nottingham and of course London, with investments south of the river.
Demand for Student Housing & increase in Fees?
It was thought that student numbers would fall after the fees jumped to a maximum of £9,000 from 2012. But this only applied to domestic students.
In 2013 demand from within fell by 2.7%, However, demand from outside of Europe has continued to grow during this period, particularly from the Far East, which has seen average annual growth of 8.5% over the last 6 years.
The overall 0.4% fall in domestic student numbers between 2010-11 and 2011-12 was counterbalanced by a 1.7% increase in international students keeping student numbers
Is London still the place to invest?
London has 300,000 full-time students, and 110,000 part-time students. It is the student
accommodation market is both the largest and most active in the country.
With private sector rents forecast to continue growing, affordability for domestic students,
who make up 75% of the student body, will continue to be stretched and drive demand
into surrounding more affordable markets.
Therefore there is much opportunity in Zone 1 and Zone 2 areas of London. However in London there are many other factors that also effect the market.
PropVestment Top Tips
Invest and convert larger properties into HMOs to house multiple students. The returns are higher for the landlord, and the greater space can provide more affordable alternatives for students rather than renting a studio on Oxford Street.