UK Student Property Boom Gathers Pace

Traditional university cities in the UK are leading the boom in student accommodation developments. It was announced on Friday that Empiric Student Property PLC acquired the contracts to develop significant student accommodation capacity on Glasgow’s George Street. The deal is believed to be around £10 million and continues the trend of a string of new and renovated developments in the city this year.

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The group will obtain the freehold development rights of the property, which currently consists of a large six storey office building, with an additional basement. Located close to the University of Glasgow, the plans show the site will be developed into 87 high standard studio apartments and one luxury two bedroom apartment. Despite an increase in planning disputes up and down the UK in 2015, this development in the centre of Glasgow has faced little opposition.

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Empiric chief executive said “Once all properties are complete Empiric will own 440 operating beds in this Russell Group University city, which will help to drive further operational efficiencies and economies of scale. This acquisition is in line with Empiric’s investment criteria and returns profile.”

Another city that has seen a recent boom in student property buildings and development is Liverpool, which has seen heavy investment in student accommodation this year, as its student population continues to expand.

New plans to build a brand new 1000 bedroom student accommodation complex near Scotland Road have been submitted, forming the latest boom in student housing growth in the city this year. The application from Bevington Developments Ltd is located next to another proposed site where 377 residential apartments have been accepted.

The new 1000 bedroom project will encompass four tower blocks, including a yoga centre, gym facilities and an outdoor communal area.

Over the past twelve months Liverpool has seen twelve new student accommodation schemes proposed and accepted, sometimes in the face of stiff local opposition. Though this blog commented at the start of 2015 about the hold ups and issues facing developers as a result of local opposition, Liverpool has still seen a huge surge in plans being accepted.

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In the summer campaign groups, councillors, developers and reps from the city’s universities met to discuss the boom in student accommodation, what it meant for different areas of the city, what it meant for students and what it meant for the universities. The situation is being monitored, though it is accepted that student property is a growing market and to keep up with demand, new developments are essential.

Some of these localised booms coincide with figures showing that investment in student accommodation in the UK was higher than investment in the same market in the US; for the first time ever. All of this goes to show one thing – the UK student property market is strong right now, with plenty of potential for developers to make great returns on their investments.