Which UK City is Experiencing a Surging Demand for Student Property?

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As the student population continues to grow and universities struggle to provide accommodation for all of their offer holders, the demand for student property in Manchester is booming.

With more than 100,000 students attending five major universities, Manchester is home to one of the largest student populations in Europe. The city’s population growth is three times the national average, and it is becoming an increasingly popular location for students and young professionals.

With this, the demand for student property in Manchester is reaching an all-time high, and city-centre accommodation is becoming an increasingly attractive investment opportunity.

The demand for student property

In recent years the number of full-time students has outweighed the number of beds by 3:1 (Savills).

This year, universities are set to welcome an overwhelming number of first-year students in September, with record numbers of top grades this summer, combined with a backlog of offer-holders who deferred over the pandemic.

As a result, universities across the UK are struggling to meet the demand for student beds, and many prospective first years are yet to secure accommodation—with less than two weeks until their course is due to start.

Most recently, Manchester Metropolitan University is experiencing an accommodation crisis. With significantly more offer-holders than predicted, the university is having to redirect new-starters to accommodation in Liverpool and Huddersfield.

Students are receiving offers of accommodation over 30 miles from the university, with compensation of £100 a week to cover travel costs. Those who accept the offer will have to catch a 40-minute train into Manchester’s city centre and walk 15 minutes to the Man Met campus.

With a startling shortage of rooms in university halls, investors would be wise to acquire property in Manchester’s bustling city centre, in close proximity to the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan, and the University of Salford.

Investing in student property and PBSA

Manchester student property is an attractive investment opportunity, as several, separate tenants sharing one property maximises rental income potential. That said, investors are also turning their eye to studios and one-bedroom apartments in Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA).

manchester student property

PBSA is particularly popular with international students who are willing to invest in a renowned UK education, and high-quality accommodation to match.

There are around 20,000 international students at Manchester’s universities, and international students from China—of which there are about 7,000—are 2.2 times more likely to rent PBSA according to Savills.

Renters are attracted to PBSA by top-notch facilities, which often include communal spaces and gardens, gyms, and private parking.

Students can live in PBSA right into their working lives, which is an advantage for renters and investors alike.

Over half of students from Manchester universities choose to remain in the city after graduation, according to Centre For Cities. In fact, Manchester is actually known to gain more graduates than it loses.

Therefore, not only are PBSA rents premium compared to standard lets, but the tenant retention rate is stronger, and the pool of prospective tenants is enlarged by a mass of graduates and young professionals staying in and entering the city.

Whether you’re drawn to PBSA or standard lets, both will fair well over the next few years as Manchester’s population grows and students scramble for city-centre accommodation in close proximity to the city’s university campuses.

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