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A new report estimates the purpose-built student accommodation, build-to-rent residential and retirement sectors will eventually reach a combined value of £880 billion, as private and institutional investors from around identify the huge opportunity in these assets.
There is a huge growth opportunity for investors in the UK’s large-scale, professionally owned real estate sectors.
That’s the message from Savills, who estimate that three of the country’s largest purpose-built property sectors are set to quadruple in value once they reach full maturity.
At present, the combined value of the purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), build-to-rent residential and retirement property sectors stands at £223 billion. But, as momentum in these markets continue to build, this will be rise four times to £880 billion.
Although already established sectors, they are still in their infancy in terms of the growth opportunity for investors. As more students, young professionals and retirees demand higher-standard accommodation, in locations close to places and amenities important to their respective demographics, the advancement of these purpose-built property sectors will continue to drive investment levels.
“Common to all these sectors is the recognition that investing in where people live has great potential for investors, particularly those seeking long term income streams,’ said Lawrence Bowles, Savills research analyst.
“The fundamental demographic and economic changes supporting these sectors are difficult for investors and developers to ignore. Institutional interest will continue to grow as these asset classes mature and can increasingly demonstrate their track record.”
Of these sectors, PBSA is currently the most mature, with Savills estimating its value at £51.2 billion. Last year, global investors poured £3.1 billion into the sector, and a further 35,000 PBSA are expected to be bought in 2019. However, while total PBSA unit numbers stands at 640,000, the UK’s student population has increased 9.7% over the last five years, underlining the undersupply the sector currently faces.
Like PBSA, the build-to-rent sector has helped to raise standards in the UK’s residential rental market, with high-quality apartments in key city centre locations, operated by professional management companies.
But build-to-rent is only just at the beginning of its development, presenting investors with huge growth potential. Savills currently values the sector at £9.6 billion, but projects it will be worth close to £550 billion at full maturity and provide over 1.7 million UK households.
Yet, despite their similarities, only a relatively small number of institutional investors operate in both the PBSA and build-to-rent markets. Savills, however, believes this will soon change.
“Given the similar challenges in development and management, we would expect to see more investors expanding their capabilities to cover the full spectrum of operational residential assets,” commented Peter Allen, Head of Savills Operational Capital Markets.
“Student housing investors have the potential to extend their brands into build to rent and use a strong track record in a very established sector to secure favourable finance terms to maximise opportunities in a newer, less mature sector.”
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