What is driving the student accommodation construction sector?

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Student accommodation

While the 2017 intake of university students should be settling into their term-time residences, demand for student accommodation with increased amenities is continuing to grow across the country.

This has been fuelled by overseas and postgraduate students, say property and cost consultancy, Thomas & Adamson.

They have seen a marked increase in revenue this year from the student accommodation sector in line with expected growth in the sector.

Partner and student accommodation specialist, Brian Donaldson said: “Over the course of the year we have seen a 10% increase in student accommodation projects going to site, which confirmed our projections.

“In addition, we are finding the number of clients looking at student accommodation as the catalyst for development of their existing sites is also continuing. This is borne out by recent studies suggesting around 10% of all commercial property investment is directed through student accommodation.”

Thomas & Adamson is currently working with clients building property to house both overseas and postgraduate students, as well as clients who are working directly with universities for the undergraduate market.

Michael Beverley, Director at Thomas & Adamson explained there is now a demand for the provision of more amenity space in the direct let market. “With the undergraduate market the target cluster size is between six and eight bedrooms to optimise social interaction.

“Fewer than six and more than eight can cause issues such as a lack of social inclusion, isolation and taking ownership of the flat the students are living in. For postgraduate and overseas students, studios are popular, with amenity space significantly increased and expectation of dining rooms, cinemas, gyms as well as the more familiar common rooms and study spaces.”

Donaldson claims the cost of building in the sector has continued to rise over recent years. He said: “The days of new-build student accommodation between £40,000–£45,000 have for the most part gone.

“Construction costs for new-builds are ranging between £50,000-£65,000 per bed, excluding more high-end studio products for overseas and postgraduate students. For conversion of existing properties, the costs are generally between £50,000–£55,000 per bed.”

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