Commercial property consultants are urging landlords to convert empty offices in to homes for students to help solve the housing shortage.
As three multimillion pound deals for unwanted offices destined to become student flats have completed in Nottingham, the firm, Jones Lang LaSalle, is urging other cities to look at similar developments.
They point out the scheme has advantages for everyone -
• Students have the accommodation they need
• Eyesore buildings are redeveloped to improve neighbourhoods
• Housing problems are eased as students move out of residential streets
Matthew Robertson, associate director at the Nottingham offices of Jones Lang LaSalle, said: "We have successfully exchanged, completed or put under offer, buildings which will deliver 500 student beds within the city centre.
"Already there are a series of buildings at various stages of the development pipeline which are being converted by investors, developers and operators.
"With the continued national and local under-supply of purpose-built student accommodation available we don't see this trend abating."
Many university cities are under strain from an influx of students, and while jobs are hard to come by due to economic difficulties, many young adults are choosing degree courses over work in a bid to improve their marketability in the workforce.
The latest figures for students wanting to start a course in the next academic year shows a continuing demand for places - and more stress on accommodation already in short supply.
"In converting obsolete offices into student houses of multiple occupation (HMO), the availability of traditional housing within the city and immediate suburbs will increase,`” said Robertson.
"This will help address the current shortfall of family homes.”
Many office refurbishment projects are in cities with more than one university - like London, Nottingham, Oxford, Manchester and York - and also favour obsolete buildings near road and rail transport hubs.