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Student Property Investment in the UK – An Overview

Renowned for its ability to deliver strong returns even during times of wider uncertainty, UK student accommodation investment is one of the most in-demand assets for global investors.

Select Property Group – and its market-leading partner student property brand Vita Student – has been delivering success to its investors since 2012.

Below we’ve outlined some of the key things you need to know about UK student investment property.

A British education is considered one of the finest by employers around the world.

Why Invest in Student Property in the UK?

In key centres of education around the world, student accommodation investment is one of the most highly sought-after property assets.

And, as one of the world’s leading destinations for higher education, the UK has one of the largest student accommodation investment markets.

A British education is considered one of the finest by employers around the world. Oxford and Cambridge are some of the world’s most recognisable universities; indeed, 11 UK universities are currently ranked among the world’s top 100.

In times of wider economic uncertainty, more people apply to university to attain skills that can help maintain a competitive edge in narrowing job markets. For the 2020/21 academic year, and amidst the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand to study at UK universities was unprecedented:

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As demand for a university education increases, so does the need for UK student accommodation, making it a strong and resilient long-term investment, even during times of wider uncertainty.

Types of UK Student Property

There are three clear sub-sectors of the UK student accommodation investment market.

University accommodation – often referred to as ‘halls’ – is the traditional type of student accommodation. Typically comprising bed spaces in shared apartments, they can offer low-cost accommodation close to university. However, most halls are old-fashioned and are beginning to look increasingly outdated in today’s market.

Homes of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) – the common buy-to-let student property investment – is another popular option. These are traditional residential homes that have been converted into student housing, divided into apartments for groups of students to live together. However, like halls, HMOs are also looking increasingly outdated and unfit to meet the needs of today’s students.

Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) is the fastest growing and most in-demand accommodation choice among UK students today. Modern living spaces, state-of-the-art facilities and the central locations students, particularly international students, are demanding. PBSA provides the amenities and experience students will pay premiums to access.

Communal Hub at a Vita Student PBSA residence

What Do Students Want From Their Accommodation?

Understanding the needs of those studying at UK universities will help you to make the best decision when considering UK student accommodation investment opportunities.

Over 60,000 UK students were surveyed for the Knight Frank & UCAS Student Accommodation Survey Report 2020. Here’s what they value most when choosing a place to live:

  • Value for money – 97%
  • Overall cost – 96%
  • Cleanliness of the bedroom – 96%
  • Quality of the accommodation – 95%
  • Location of the property – 95%
  • Facilities (e.g. WiFi, parking, gym) – 91%

“Today’s students demand more. Better facilities. Better locations. An overall enhanced living experience. Yet in key university cities across the country, those with elite universities and rising international student numbers, there simply isn’t enough of this type of student accommodation available. It’s helped transform UK student property into one of Britain’s fastest growing property sectors, with investment coming from buyers located all over the world.”

CEO, Select Property Group

Purpose-Built Student Accommodation Investment

Purpose-built Student Accommodation (PBSA) is the student housing sector attracting the highest levels of global investment. Buyers are attracted by the sector’s ability to generate regular income streams with high yields.

PBSA is famed for its resilience. Following the 2008 global economic downturn, it consistently remained one of the world’s best performing asset classes. Today, despite wider economic concerns, it continues to be one of the most popular investments in the UK.

It is also the preferred accommodation choice for the UK’s growing number of international students. Crucially, it is the only student accommodation investment sector that can deliver on all of the key requirements students in the UK today are demanding.

PBSA In Numbers:

  • PBSA represents around 30% of full-time first-year undergraduate housing choices, up from 22% five years ago
  • Analysis by JLL shows that 41% of current PBSA tenants are international students
    • “On this basis, there is a shortfall of over 370,000 PBSA beds”
  • 4:1 demand to supply ratio for UK PBSA units between 2014-18
  • This imbalance will increase to 3.5:1 between 2019-2030

For investors, PBSA is one of the strongest student accommodation investments you can make – and one that can help you to achieve stable, long-term growth.

Student Accommodation Investment Opportunities with Select Property Group

The latest student property development from Select Property Group’s market-leading PBSA partner brand, Vita Student:

Vita Student Park Place

The 22nd project to launch from Vita Student, Park Place will become the most desirable student property development in Cardiff.

Boasting the finest living spaces and unrivalled communal facilities, Vita Student Park Place comprises all of the qualities that have made the brand the UK’s number one experience-led PBSA provider.

Crucially, the location of Vita Student Park Place will be highly attractive to the city’s students. Quite simply, there are no other PBSA residences in Cardiff this close to both Cardiff University and the city centre. Your tenants will be within walking distance of both the university campus and the city’s main leisure and retail attractions.

This will make Vita Student Park Place one of the best student accommodation investments in the UK, helping you to achieve strong long-term growth.

Find out more about investing in Vita Student Park Place.

Why Choose a Student Accommodation Investment with Vita Student & Select Property Group?

A brand that revolutionised an entire industry.

  • Vita Student is an award-winning student accommodation brand, created by leading UK developer Select Property Group and its sister company, Vita Group.
  • A proven investment, it has been delivering strong returns for investors like you, and high satisfaction to its tenants, since 2012.
  • To date, Vita Student has a total of 23 operational and in-construction residences across the UK. Select Property Group has sold 12 of these projects to its global investor community.
  • In total, there are 6,587 apartments in the Vita Student portfolio, with a combined value of GBP 1.088 billion. Developments across the portfolio are consistently 100% let, while all residences boast a consistently high re-booking rate from satisfied tenants wishing to stay for another year.
  • No other student property developer can boast a track record of delivery as extensive as Select Property Group can with Vita Student.
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“I wanted to invest in British real estate, due to its stability and returns in a strong currency. Select’s reputation and proven track record of results sold their investments to me over other UK developers. To date I’ve been extremely satisfied with my investments, and I’ve already been confident enough to refer Select to several of my friends.”

Mshindi B Kenya-based investor

“To date I am very satisfied with my investments, not just from a capital gains perspective, but with the personal level of service and attention Select Property gives to each individual investor throughout the entire sales and property management process. As an overseas buyer, I’ve found it very easy to invest in the UK with Select Property, and I’d be very open to investing with them again in the future.”

Colin C US-based investor

“I have also successfully referred other investors in Egypt, as I was deeply convinced that others would be as attracted by the great investment potential and Select Property’s professional management standards as I was. For sure I will be investing in the UK again, solely with Select Property.”

Sherif D Egypt-based investor

“I’ve bought a number of different products as I’m very confident that Select Property can deliver success in different real estate sectors. With each property, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at just how easy the whole investment process was. So far I’ve bought more than six properties and it will only be Select Property that I trust to invest with in the future.”

Khalid Z Lebanon-based investor

“The returns I have achieved so far are in line with initial expectations promised by Select Property, while my properties have also enjoyed notable capital appreciation. Select Property’s dedicated team of professionals have made the investment process clear and simple right from the start.”

Antony L Thailand-based investor

“Select Property has developments in the best locations, and the quality of their properties have been proven time and time again. Growing a portfolio is very important, and having a trusted partner is essential to building your portfolio successfully, so I will definitely be trusting Select Property again with any future investments.”

Mohammed A Kuwait-based investor

“After doing my research, I chose Select Property Group because of their impressive track record and their full-service approach; I found very few other developers that would manage my property for me, too. Every person I’ve dealt with has displayed huge professionalism and demonstrated an incredible knowledge of the UK property market.”

Brian M South Africa-based investor

“The investment process was made very easy. If I ever had a problem and needed more information, every person at Select was very helpful and friendly, explaining everything in detail and always returning my calls promptly. Going forward, it’s made me very interested in investing in any future developments Select bring to market.”

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