Our specialist student accommodation and higher education teams work alongside our planning, development and capital markets teams to provide a full service offering with capability to identify new opportunities and guide you through all aspects of planning, viability, development, funding, valuation, asset management, acquisition and disposal.
We advise over 65 universities on a range of property issues; we are in the market advising on investment transactions; and our market leading planning and development team has secured planning permission for over 5,000 beds in recent years, giving you reassurance that we possess the expertise to help you in these challenging times.
Despite the current economic and political challenges, Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) continues to be one of the more resilient asset classes. The strong fundamentals continue to attract developers, investors and lenders to the sector, albeit there are challenges, particularly with the provision of new developments.
In an increasingly competitive market, universities and private PBSA operators are under pressure to upgrade the quality of their assets and with accommodation being the biggest cost for students after fees, increasing pressure to deliver affordable accommodation.
Planning policy has already begun to play a part in seeking to influence these issues with the introduction of an affordable student housing policy in the London Plan, with viability assessments required if at least 35% of the proposed accommodation is not secured as affordable, as well as nominations agreements being required upon the majority of the student accommodation.
Whilst there is still an under-supply of PBSA nationally, the demand and supply dynamics vary significantly on a micro level. The removal of the student cap has seen some University towns/cities, struggle to provide sufficient PBSA to meet demand and resulted in them housing students in other cities. Others have had such a high number of developments completed in the last few years and/or a reduction in student numbers which has led to an oversupply.