Regional student housing is best-performing UK property investment sector

16 May 2011


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  • Student accommodation in the regions (England and Wales) only marginally underperformed the wider IPD All Property Annual Index  in the year to December 2010, with total returns (income and capital values) of 14.65%, against London’s 8.41%
  • Average rents in regional cities rose 4.1% over the period, while London fell by -3.6%
  • The strong performance of the regions is being driven by the imbalance in supply and demand – the Knight Frank Student Property Report Spring 2011 points to Kingston, Brighton, Edinburgh and Durham in the top ten locations to invest
  • The Browne Review is expected to lead to an ‘application race’ this year, with students motivated to secure places before the impending rise in fees from September 2012. The most recent application figures from UCAS (April 11) show a 7.7% increase in interest from non-EU students
  • Knight Frank also expects that universities will begin to market accommodation stock to the private sector, raising in the region of £500 million over the next five years.
James Pullan, Knight Frank's head of student property commented:
"There have been record applications for University places this year. Once again students will find there is an undersupply of student accommodation to meet their needs. The student accommodation sector is now recognised as forming a critical component of a balanced investment portfolio.
“The Knight Frank Student Property Index is the only investment index in the sector that demonstrates investment performance of this specialist asset class. Total returns in 2010 for student accommodation in the regions performed well, with regional accommodation only marginally underperforming the IPD All Property Index. Knight Frank has identified the 20 top University cities and ranked them according to investment potential. With 40 higher education institutions, London has the highest concentration of students in the UK, but a structural undersupply of student accommodation providing value accommodation at an affordable rent. We consider London needs a further 100,000 student bedrooms."