Student housing construction hits 5-year high

Contracts to build more than 4,500 new student bedrooms were awarded last year, the highest amount in over five years.

According to research from Barbour ABI, the total value of construction projects for student housing was worth over £2.3bn, a 26% increase on the previous year.

Michael Dall, Lead Economist at Barbour ABI, said student housing had undergone a significant change during recent years due to rising rental fees and higher levels of expectation from students.

“Universities and investors are behind a wave of more modern accommodation, with Wi-Fi to en-suites now becoming the norm as they attempt to attract prospecting students with high-end living facilities,” said Michael.

“A wave of postgraduate accommodation has also come into play and I expect this to continue in 2016, as the majority of investors focused on bridging the gap for first year housing prior to 2015.”

Michael said the removal of the cap on student numbers had also triggered many universities to expect an increase in enrolment over the years.

“Hence the jump in the number of new student bedrooms being commissioned in 2015,” added Michael.

“As investor appetite remains high for student housing, I expect it will be at the forefront for many contractors over the coming years.”

The peak of student housing construction came in the final quarter of 2015 with contracts awarded to build 2,117 units, the highest total recorded since before the recession. 

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