Birmingham’s student accommodation sector resilient in face of pandemic
The purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) market has been “remarkably resilient” over the last year despite the shadow of Covid-19, as the number of new beds increases and the development pipeline remains strong.
New research from Cushman & Wakefield reveals that the national development pipeline currently stands at 115,000 beds and approximately 58% of these have planning permission. Birmingham has the largest regional pipeline at 6,700 beds.
Cushman & Wakefield’s Student Accommodation Tracker currently records 25,672 purpose-built student accommodation bed spaces in Birmingham for the 2021/22 academic year.
The Selly Oak area of the city has been the subject growing investor appetite, with more planning applications seen in the area than before (the pipeline currently stands at just under 5,600 beds).
For the 2021/22 academic year, two small, modern schemes totalling 130 beds under new operator, Volume Property, are set to open in September close to Aston University.
Rental growth between 2019/20 and 2020/21 showed rents in Birmingham increasing at a higher rate for studios than en-suite rooms due to the high level of new en-suites that have recently entered the market. Demand at all five major Birmingham institutions has remained high over the last five years, including a significant increase from students outside the West Midlands and this continued demand has sustained a healthy student to bed ratio in comparison to other major cities.
In terms of regional breakdown of where new beds were delivered, Coventry led the way with over 3,700 new beds being delivered (16% of the total market). This is followed by London, Leeds and then Exeter. Average rents range from £124 per week in Sheffield, up to £174 per week in Bristol, with London coming in at most expensive at £238 per week.