Students Turn to the Private Rental Sector Due to Shortage of Beds in Student Accommodations

There are now more than three students for every student bed available in purpose-built accommodation, according to research by Stripe Property Group.

The property developer’s study revealed an average of 3.1 students fighting it out for one residential place as those heading or returning to university face an overwhelmed and understocked rental market and lack of quality purpose-built student accommodation.

According to Stripe Property Group’s research, there are now 2,180,419 full-time university students across the UK, which is 8% more than before the pandemic in 2019/20. However, the study estimates that there are just 697,734 student beds available to them, and although the number has been steadily increasing, it has grown by only 6% when compared with pre-pandemic levels.

With 3.1 students for every bed available, up 0.1 from 2019/20, the current shortfall of student beds available stands at almost 1.5 million, with the private rental sector taking up the slack, the study found.

Although the new academic year only recently started, there’s already high demand for student rentals from those looking in advance of next year, according to Stripe Property Group. The company’s research found that across 15 of the UK’s major university towns, nearly a fifth of student-specific rental properties in the current market have already been taken.

The study revealed demand is at its highest in Brighton, where almost half (48%) of all student rentals have already been snapped up. In London, meanwhile, 40% of student properties are already let, while it’s around a third in Glasgow (32%), Bristol (29%), and Edinburgh (28%).

James Forrester, managing director of Stripe Property Group, observed that purpose-built accommodation plays a vital role in the lives of many students, and for the majority, it will be their first experience of living away from home.

“Those lucky enough to secure a bed will find that there are some outstanding developments available to them, designed specifically to help maximise both their academic and social life while at university,” he said.

“Unfortunately, for every one student that does find a place to live, there are now more than two who won’t, and this lack of affordable, purpose-built living can cause an immense amount of stress and anxiety at a time when they should be focusing solely on their studies.

“As it stands, the private rental sector is left to pick up the slack, but this often means paying way above the odds to rent a home that is quite often not fit for purpose,” Forrester added.

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