Student accommodation firm pressing ahead with two major schemes

Unite Students scheme

Student accommodation firm Unite is pushing ahead with two major schemes in London and Bristol.

The Bristol firm says it will be able to deliver 1,450 new beds once it gets the green light for the schemes.

Unite said it is seeing continued strong demand with 86 per cent of beds sold for the 2024/25 academic year.

It is confident in delivering rental growth of at least six per cent for the 2024/25 academic year.

Joe Lister, Unite Students chief executive, said: “Student demand is strong for the 2024/25 sales cycle, reflecting the continued appeal of our fixed-priced, all-inclusive offer and a growing shortage of high-quality student homes.

“Together with our alignment to the UK’s strongest universities, this supports a positive outlook for rental growth for the 2024/25 academic year and underpins our property valuations.

“We continue to progress the delivery of our record £1.3bn development pipeline, securing planning approvals on two schemes in London and Bristol. These projects will deliver much needed new student homes in two of the UK’s strongest university cities.”

Demand from universities continues to grow with a further 1,000 beds secured via nomination agreements.

Demand from international students remains robust despite recent changes to UK visa rules for dependents of postgraduate taught students. International direct-lets for 2024/25 currently account for 13% of rooms, broadly in-line with the 15% let at the same stage last year.

Unite’s 500-bed Freestone Island project in Bristol, which is located close to the University of Bristol’s new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus, has now received full planning consent.

Unite expect to acquire the land in the coming weeks, which supports delivery of the scheme in time for the 2026/27 academic year.

Meridian Place, Stratford has received resolution to grant planning permission at committee and Unite expect to securing full planning consent in the coming months.

Unite now expect to deliver the 952-bed project for the 2028/29 academic year, following delays in our planning timetable.

At Castle Leazes in Newcastle, a joint venture with Newcastle University, a planning application has now been submitted to demolish the existing buildings.

Unite expect to submit a planning application for around 2,000 new beds in April, which supports entry into the joint venture in quarter four this year.