James Pullen, Head of Student Housing at Knight Frank, has said that investment in PBSAs by institutions has 'polarised the market'. Knight Frank's latest Student Housing Market Review also revealed that 2015 beat all previous records for investment in purpose-built accommodation.
A year of bumper transactions and investment has changed the market argues Pullen, who points to the fact that half of all student bedrooms in PBSAs transacted in 2015 were acquired by institutions. "This wave of Institutional investment has now polarised the market such, that assets which fail to meet Institutional specification have much reduced liquidity,Â” he went on to say.
This polarisation went on in 2015 as £5.1 billion was invested in the market for purpose-builds, more than doubling the 2014's total of £2.4 billion.
A partner at Knight Frank, Neil Armstrong, summarised the year as follows, Â“In 2015 student accommodation showed rock solid occupational demand supply credentials. Rental growth averaged at 3.65% as student numbers grew and supply struggled to meet demand. Whilst the macro picture (3.65%) is relatively steady, each market demonstrates different credentials largely depending upon the current level of structural under supply together with the development pipeline and its delivery in any specific year."