Student housing construction climbed to five-year high in 2015

Investment in student housing boomed in 2015, with contracts awarded to build more than 4,500 new student bedrooms, the highest annual amount in over five years.

According to construction data specialists Barbour ABI, the total value of construction projects for student housing was worth over £2.3 billion in 2015, with investment in the sector showing no sign of slowing down. There was an overall increase of 26 per cent in student bedrooms being commissioned for construction in 2015 compared to the previous year.

The peak of student housing construction came in the final quarter of 2015, as contracts were awarded to build 2,117 units, the highest total recorded since before the recession.

Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, said: “Student housing has undergone a significant amount of change over recent years, with rising rental fees and a higher level of expectation from the occupying students. Universities and investors are behind a wave of more modern accommodation, with Wi-Fi to en-suites now becoming the norm as they attempt to attract prospecting students with high end living facilities. A wave of post-graduate accommodation has also come into play and I expect this to continue in 2016, as the majority of investors focused on bridging the gap for first year housing prior to 2015.”

Dall also said that the removal of the cap on student numbers may have also triggered the increase in new student bedrooms being commissioned in 2015. He said that the upward trend was expected to continue for a number of years as investor appetite remained high for student housing.

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