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  • Student Accommodation

    Significant rise in PBSA affecting landlords?



    There’s been a big rise in the volume of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) in the UK, suggesting that the market may be getting tighter for the traditional individually-owned buy to lets aimed at student tenants.

    Knight Frank reports that some 29,000 purpose-built student bedrooms are due to be completed across the UK by the start of the 2019/20 academic year - up 25 per cent from the 23,000 reported in 2017/18.

    The agency’s figures are based on an analysis of pipeline development data across more than 60 university towns and cities in the UK.

    The agency says that private developers will build 82 per cent of the total new student beds due to be completed by 2021, and nearly 90 per cent of the beds due to be built for the 2019/20 academic year. 

    Full/source article 

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    There is no doubt that PBSA has had an impact on traditional student HMO's.

    There used to be two distinct letting periods, the first is from December to February. This is when UK students tend to find their accommodation for the following academic year.

    The second period was from July to September when overseas students come to the UK.

    My letting agent tells me he has seen a sharp decline of applicants in the later period and he thinks a lot of the overseas student are now renting PBSA pods.

    This coupled with S24 and falling European student numbers(Brexit),  has caused me to no longer buy into this market.



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    University-owned PBSA could be a threat in the future if numbers get high enough, but I don't think privately/company owned PBSAs will ever dominate as they are very expensive. The latter does appeal to overseas students but not UK students who seem to be more price sensitive.

    Time will tell of course but when students go into a nice student house they wouldn't consider going back into PBSA unless they couldn't find a group to share with.

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