Research reveals who owns student accommodation in the UK

Independent commercial property advisor GVA has analysed 27 of the main student towns and cities

The first research of its kind has revealed who owns student accommodation in the UK.

With 53% of ownership in the hands of the universities themselves, it is estimated 47% are now privately owned, with the largest of these providers being Unite and UPP combining to make up 35% of the private market.

Independent commercial property advisor GVA has analysed 27 of the main student towns and cities, covering more than 70 universities to provide the most comprehensive study of its kind in recent years.

Roger Lown, GVA senior director and head of student housing, said: “Our research is the first of its kind in the UK.

“What it demonstrates is the extent of the private sector market share in student accommodation, and one that continues to grow.

“With the influx of overseas investment into this sector, particularly from the US, we expect the extent of privately owned student housing to grow beyond 50% of total market share well before 2016.”

The research covers 325,000 beds in 1,000 schemes across the UK. A total of 172,076 beds or 53% of purpose-built stock is owned by universities ensuring they remain the main key player within the student accommodation sector.

However, over the past 20 years, the privately-owned market share has seen major growth, now standing at 47%, accounting for 150,000 beds.

The largest private owner is Unite, with 34,000 beds accounting for 22% of the private market. Its closest competitor is UPP, with a 13% share. Brandeaux remains the third largest with 10%. Other providers include Victoria Hall, Mansion, MCR, Roundhill Capital, Knightsbridge and IQ.

The research also highlights the ratio of private to university-owned accommodation at individual universities; rental values; and domestic and international demand.

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