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Student Housing Research: Q4-2019 Update

Posted by Richard Ward

Student search activity during the Q4 period (Jul-Sep) was focused on smaller sizes, with 1-bed flats and studios taking the lion's share of activity.

Whilst smaller sizes were also the preferred choice in the previous quarter, in Q4 the trend became more pronounced. This is in stark contrast to search activity recorded on since October, which has focused heavily on larger sizes. With the new season now in full swing, this reflects an increased level of demand for group bookings, primarily related to house-hunting domestic students.

Fig 1: National Distribution of Search Activity by Bed Size

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Growth in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) is likely to be substantial yet again this year. Those locations leading the way include Leeds and Sheffield with 1,695 and 898 new beds already confirmed, albeit these figures are likely to grow further.

Last year an additional 34,409 beds were added in time for the 2019-20 academic year, representing year-on-year growth of 5.3%. Assuming developments in the pipeline are delivered in line with expectations, this is a figure that could be surpassed in 2020.

Fig 2: PBSA Supply Growth by Location 2019 vs 2018

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In other developments, Bristol witnessed a decent level of planning application activity in the last quarter, with the number of beds submitted and approved now surpassing levels recorded in 2018.

Leicester represents another location that has been gaining traction with investors and developers, with the number of beds granted planning permission year-to-date surpassing the combined total of the previous three years.

At the other end of the scale, cities such as Cardiff that have witnessed significant growth in PBSA in the last few years, have lacked activity during the first nine months of 2019.

The extracts above have been taken from our Quarterly Market Reports covering 46 locations across the UK and Ireland.

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- StuRents is one of the leading proptech partners in the UK student accommodation space

- StuRents operates, the largest student-centric accommodation search platform, listing over 750,000 bed spaces nationwide

- Beyond search, StuRents facilitates integrated online tenancy signing, tenancy payments and app-based tenancy management solutions

- This unique, vertically integrated end-to-end solution underpins StuRents' data insights and research capabilities