With the UK set for political and economic uncertainty over the next few years, some commentators have predicted a period of stagnation for the property sector.
Although this remains to be seen and the market has held up well so far, one area that won’t be affected is student accommodation. This is because student investment is countercyclical in nature and less likely to be affected by the overall economy.
Students will always need somewhere to live, and if you can find a property in a favourable location, demand will hold up year-on-year. At Aspen Woolf, we offer a number of student properties for this exact reason.
Throughout the current decade, student accommodation has outperformed traditional assets in the property sector. Although recent external pressures on buy-to-let may partially explain this, the main reason is due to the strong demand for purpose-built flats in prime student areas.
Traditionally, first year students have had to rely on university-sponsored halls when they enrol – these are usually older buildings with limited space and basic amenities. Now, it seems undergraduates prefer modernised, purpose-built flats when given the option.
A recent report by Knight Frank backed this up. It showed students are prepared to pay increased rents if the facilities impress them, and so with many new developments containing gyms, games rooms and individual car parking, finding tenants should be of little worry.
Even though many are being constructed in areas close to campus buildings, transport links and shops, there’s still a significant structural undersupply. It is here that individual investors can take advantage.
Yields are consistently high, helped by low-entry prices onto the market, with impressive occupancy rates. This isn’t a recent trend either, it has remained a resilient investment sector for many years now with no indication of slowing down.
In addition, rents are usually guaranteed by a parent and paid upfront. For investors, this provides great peace of mind knowing you’re assured both demand and rental income at the start of each term.
Although the UK student population is roughly 2 million, there’s only enough private-sector accommodation to house a quarter of them. And despite increased university fees, applications don’t seem to be slowing down. It seems the student sector will remain a robust asset class for many years to come.
These positive forecasts are being recognised by wealthy foreign investors. Over 70% of new purchases are from private equity and high net-worth overseas buyers. Even if you can’t compete with this financial clout, as a private investor it pays to recognise their buying behaviour.
According to Knight Frank, the purpose-built student market is estimated to be worth around £46 billion, with a further £5 billion to be added in new developments this year. This shows that, despite the economic uncertainty around at the moment, one sector unaffected is student property.
At Aspen Woolf, we’ve recognised this trend and have sourced various student flats from hotspots across the UK. We’ll have management companies in place for the investment on your behalf, meaning all you need do is sit back and enjoy your assured rental yields of between 6-10%.
Take a look at our current student property investment offers today.
If you’re interested in investing in student accommodation, you may want to take a look at the Five Best Student Towns to Invest In.