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Corporate investment in student letting was up 50% to £1.15 billion last year as rents and yields continue to go through the roof.
The flood of institutional money into student accommodation has continued in the first three months of 2012 with nearly £250 million invested, according to property consultants CBRE.
This year’s increase in tuition fees up to a maximum £9,000 for the academic year starting in September has slightly dented applications for courses, but universities are still receiving more applications than they have places.
Any shortfall in places is easily taken up by students from overseas, whose numbers continue to grow.
According to UCAS figures, applications from outside Europe grew by 12% year on year. The largest numbers came from Hong Kong (37%) and Australia (15%).
Jo Winchester, Head of Student Housing, CBRE, said: “Applications are currently 80,000 ahead of the number of acceptances in 2011. While we do not expect student numbers to fall nationally due to fee increases, we do anticipate wide variations at a local level. However, it is still too early to identify which universities will have reduced cohorts in 2012 and how demand for accommodation will be affected in those towns.
“Looking ahead, developers will need to not only consider student numbers and bed-spaces, but most critically the financial strength and popularity of universities in conjunction with the underlying dynamics of the property market. Support from universities together with clever structuring is likely to assist planning and funding solutions for new development.
“The recent figures have shown investors that now is a good time to buy student properties as property yields look very positive.”
Despite the massive investment by corporates and universities in providing halls of residence, even the largest corporate only has 44,000 bedspaces.
Halls offer around 30% of the bed spaces needed by students across the UK, leaving private landlords to take up the student letting slack.
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