Demand for private student lets rises due to shortage of PBS stock

Property Reporter
21st September 2021
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The start of a new academic year has brought more stories of students struggling to secure university accommodation or arriving to find the digs they had secured were far from adequate.

Build-to-rent furnishing experts, Manor Interiors, analysed current PBSA student rental stock levels and found that across the UK there were just 469 student hall rental rooms listed online, although 77 had already been listed as let agreed.

In contrast, some 22,265 private student properties were listed and while 23% had already been marked as let agreed, this leaves some 17,073 student rental homes available.

The firm then looked at what percentage of this stock had already been let across the UK’s major university cities, to highlight where may be seeing the biggest shortage and which locations still offer a good chance of finding university digs.

The most in-demand university city is Bournemouth, where 84% of private student accommodation has already been snapped up by students returning for the new school year.

Bristol is also in high demand with demand at 67%, closely followed by Glasgow (64%), Cardiff (61%), Cambridge (57%), Edinburgh (49%), London (40%), Portsmouth (33%), Southampton (27%) and Nottingham (25%).

In contrast, just 4% of listed student rental stock has already been let in Swansea, the lowest level of all major university towns.

Birmingham also presents a strong chance of still finding student digs, with just 8% of student accommodation already listed as let agreed.

Farhan Malik, CEO of Manor Interiors, commented: “While the majority of students will have already secured their accommodation ahead of the new academic year, high demand has seen many struggle to do so within the PBSA sector and many more have arrived to find a less than adequate offering.

"As a result, demand for private student housing remains extremely high across a number of major UK university towns and luckily there is a strong level of stock to accommodate this demand.

"However, the focus must remain on ensuring we have enough suitable accommodation, particularly for those heading away from home for the first time who are reliant on the PBSA sector.

"A lot can be learnt from the build to rent sector in this respect. A sector that has seen dramatic growth in recent years due to a tenant first approach focussed on modern living and the amenities and lifestyle requirements that appeal to today’s tenants.”

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