Student Housing Demand Dries Up in Some Areas

Student Housing Demand Dries Up in Some Areas

15:49 PM, 21st October 2011, About 13 years ago

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Speculative developers looking to cash in on the student housing boom have been warned numbers of halls of residence have reached saturation in some areas.

The writing is on the wall for some big developers as banks pull funding because they consider they are over exposed in the niche.

Birmingham’s Aston University has slammed councillors and developers for planning homes for students that are not needed.

The University claims developers have over estimated demand without considering how rising tuition fees will discourage students taking courses in the city.

Chief finance officer Alister Hewgill was speaking as Birmingham City Council approved plans for two new tower blocks for housing 472 students.

“There is no demonstrated need for this student residence,” he said. “The assessment of student numbers is flawed. It is not up to date.”

Hewgill says he expects more students to take courses nearer home to keep their living costs down as tuition fees rise.

He also pointed out that Aston’s own new 700-bed halls of residence is opening in 2013 and even more student housing developments are planned.

Banks have also pulled funding on many projects, blaming over exposure to the market as the main reason for closing the lids on their coffers.

Blackburn College has also refused to back a 48 bed student hall plan for a disused warehouse in the town that has triggered protests from 60 neighbours around the site who have put their names to a petition complaining about parking and access.

Developers want permission to build the halls over a basement wholesale warehouse in Devonport Road.

Meanwhile, overcrowding at Lincoln University has eased as the remaining students living in a shed village have been moved to better housing.

Around 200 first year students failed to find homes in the city, so the university put up a temporary cabin village.

A university spokesman said: “The last person will leave in early November. The university’s accommodation team has worked round the clock to find additional permanent housing for the late-comers and there is now good quality accommodation for everyone.”

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