Student landlords prepare for bumper university applications

Steve Lumley·28 May 2021·4 min read
Student landlords prepare for bumper university applications

An analysis of UCAS data shows that the number of university applications for the 2021/22 academic year will be 8.4% higher than last year.

The findings from real estate firm Knight Frank show this is the highest year-on-year rise since 2010.

Their analysis of the figures reveals that a rise in applicants from the UK is driving the increase.

They say that UK student applications have risen by 11.6% - and this coincides with the growing number of 18-year-olds in the UK population.

International student numbers will increase

Knight Frank also highlights that the number of international students will also increase this year, despite the pandemic.

They say that the figures for the 2020/2021 academic year rose by 17.1% on 2019's figure.

The rise was driven by strong demand from India and China.

However, overseas students are preferring to stay in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) rather than in the local housing market because they are 'unfamiliar with it'.

Students prefer to study at 'higher tariff' universities

The UCAS data also shows that students are preferring to study at 'higher tariff' universities, that's those that demand higher exam grades typically for entry.

Knight Frank points out that while student accommodation investors have taken a hit during the pandemic, there are lots of reasons to be optimistic about the future.

The managing director of Accommodation for Students, Simon Thompson, said: "The findings show that the student accommodation sector in the UK is a strong one and likely to remain that way.

"The data also shows there are opportunities for student landlords to invest and lenders are showing an appetite for student accommodation."

NI students are 'at the mercy of landlords'- claim

Meanwhile, the National Union of Students in Northern Ireland say that students are ‘at the mercy of landlords’ who are requesting that student tenants sign 12-month leases.

That's despite continued Covid uncertainty and being charged for the rooms they did not use during lockdown.

Now, students are claiming that private landlords are treating them unfairly.

The NUS-USI president, Ellen Fearon, said: "Students are signing house contracts in the private rented sector for another 12 months that they may, or may not need."

She added that students are being encouraged to do so and that this is 'disappointing'.

Both Ulster University and Queen's University say their accommodation has remained open during the pandemic, though face-to-face teaching was only carried out in some subjects.

Queen's say they are reviewing the situation for its own accommodation and 'hope to be flexible'.