The number of students needing accommodation in Bristol is projected to grow to 44,000 by the 2018/19 academic year.
Growth can be attributed to the city’s two notable universities, the University of Bristol and the University of West of England, which has a combined total of just over 40,000 full-time students. These two institutions have driven Bristol’s continued demand for student accommodation, providing a prime opportunity for developers and investors.
The University of Bristol, in particular, is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of Universities, which represents 24 leading universities in the UK. Ranked 9th in the UK according to the Times Higher Education League Tables, the university has long experienced high student demand and seen a 20% increase in applications since 2012. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has named it the 6th most oversubscribed university n the UK — demand for places at the university exceeds even that of the world-famous King’s College London or Queen Mary University of London!
Adding to the allure is the value a University of Bristol degree holds in the working world. A research by Savills has shown that British universities boasting high graduate salaries see a bigger increase in applications over the past five years, compared to the rest. The research reports that graduates from the University of Bristol are most likely to go on to jobs that pay £2,700 above the average in the UK.
The University of Bristol is currently embarking on an ambitious expansion of its facilities, which includes plans for a brand-new campus right in the city. The £300m million Temple Quarter Campus will be situated next to Bristol Temple Meads train station, in the centre of the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, one of the largest urban regeneration projects in the UK. Once completed, it will provide study places for 5,000 new students, which will starkly increase the city’s demand for student accommodation. The new campus is expected to open in time for the start of the 2021/22 academic year.
Savills: Bristol is Top 12 in PBSA investment
Currently there is a significant demand for student accommodation in the city.
Savills puts the city of Bristol in its first-class tier, or top 12 cities in the UK for investment in the commercial purpose-built student accommodation sector, based on the current and future projected supply of student property, demand, affordability and potential for rental growth.
Backing up Savills’ research is a study by Sellhousefast.uk, which places Bristol in the top 20 cities in the UK by demand for student accommodation, at a ratio of about 1 bed to every 2 students (1:1.93).
Investors who invest in Bristol student property can expect favourable returns on their investments. According to the Cushman & Wakefield Student Accommodation Tracker 2017/18, en-suite rents in Bristol went up by 4%, tying with Birmingham as the highest increase of all cities in the UK. En-suite bed spaces represent 56% of the student property market, whilst studios account for 12% of all beds.
James Pullan, head of student property at Knight Frank, says Bristol is structurally undersupplied.
“As is apparent from the figures, Bristol needs purpose-built accommodation. It doesn’t have enough. If you look at the university projections, it still needs more. The market would not be saturated if another 4,000 beds came to market,” he says.
And Much More
There’s much more to Bristol than top-notch universities, which makes it a great place to live and work in.
Bristol has been voted the best place to live in the UK by the Sunday Times in 2017. It was announced as the Green Capital of Europe for 2015 and has numerous eco-friendly projects, from fish farms and tidal generators to the infamous ‘poo bus’ — a bus powered by methane generated from the Bristol Sewage Treatment Works.
Bristol also has the reputation of being England’s first “cycling city”, with a report stating that 24,000 cars are kept off the streets everyday, thanks to cycling.
Economy-wise, Bristol performed strongly in 2016, recording a 2.4% increase in YOY economic growth and moving into 10th place in a league table for city growth, according to a study by the Centre for Business & Economic Research (CEBR). The report projects Bristol’s economy to grow 15.7% by 2026.
Jobs are also being created in the city, and accessibility, increased.
The Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, a 70-hectare enterprise zone in the city is expected to draw talent from the creative, high-tech and low-carbon industries. Since 2012, over 3,000 people have come to work in the Enterprise Zone. The target is 22,000 jobs over the lifespan of the project.
The Temple Meads railway station, which is being redeveloped by Network Rail to be a brand-new transport hub, will improve access to surrounding neighbourhoods and the city beyond.
In conclusion, there is a significant market for the commercial student property sector in Bristol, and investors can capitalize on that. The student population is set to increase over the next few years, and the current lack of supply of student beds gives great potential for growth in this sector. The residential property sector, meanwhile, looks to benefit from increasing jobs created in the city.
Article by Ian Choong
CSI Prop proudly promotes international investment property with high yields at low risk. Our portfolio comprises residential and commercial property including student accommodation and carehomes, in cities across the United Kingdom (London, Luton, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, York, Glasgow, Scotland; Sheffield, etc) and Australia (Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane). Our projects are concentrated in high-growth areas with great educational, infrastructural and job growth potentials. We aspire to make a difference in the lives of our clients by helping them achieve their investment goals through strong market research backed by third party experts and due diligence.
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