Savills’s global living report found that the provision of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) was highest in the UK, where 27% of all students could be accommodated, while in Italy it was only 5%.
PBSA experienced a record year in 2017 with $17.5bn (approximately £13.4bn) invested globally, up 4% on the $16.9bn (approximately £12.9bn) recorded in 2016.
The UK and western Europe accounted for over half of this investment (51%, $8.9bn (approximately £6.8bn), a 35% increase on the $6.6bn (approximately £5bn) invested in 2016.
Meanwhile, the UK, Germany and Spain were the most active single-country PBSA markets in Europe.
“There is a growing number of investors, including foreign and institutional ones, that see investing in student housing as an ideal way to diversify their portfolio and get higher yield rates than in traditional asset classes,” said Samuel Vetrak, CEO at StudentMarketing.
- Unlocking Investment Opportunities in the Regions - Steve Norris keynote speech (highlights)
- Tide Construction completes 257-bed modular student housing scheme
- 2018 has been 'toughest' year for PBSA occupancy
“In addition, investors appreciate the fact that student housing is considered as a recession-resilient asset class as the number of international students has grown constantly, even during the crisis a decade ago.”
Savills also found that there had been a movement by some student-housing operators into the multifamily and co-living sectors, creating opportunities for investors looking to spread risk across several asset types.
Multifamily investment across eight major European markets exceeded €27bn (approximately £20.7bn) last year, still a fraction of US volumes, but up 19% since 2013.
Marcus Roberts, director of residential capital markets in Europe at Savills, added: “As management quality has improved and operators have strengthened their brands, and with many markets under-supplied of professionally managed private rental stock, providers such as the Fizz and Milestone are delivering a new product to satisfy demand.
“In the UK, multifamily is still a young sector with total investment volumes at £2.6bn in 2017 – just 18% of Germany’s volumes, but up 20% on 2016.
“Last year, 70% of deals were forward funding and forward purchase deals.
“The focus on the development of new stock is likely to fuel future transaction activity.”