Student landlords shrug off tuition fee worries

Britain’s biggest student landlord is on course for rental growth as demand for university accommodation is surging despite worries about increased tuition fees.

Bed space reservations for the next academic year hit 73% of available occupancy – up from 62% in March and slightly ahead of the May 2010 level of 71%.

In a trading statement for March 2 until May 18, the company said rental growth is expected to rise by 3% – 4% for the next academic year.

Unite is set to deliver more 4,500 student rooms across the country over the next three years, giving the firm a capacity of around 42,000 bed spaces.

The company also has an agreement with the London Olympic Games organisers to provide 3,600 rooms for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Unite said: “Applications to study at UK Universities are 2.1% above 2010/11 levels indicating that, with no increase in funded places, 210,000 applicants will not obtain a place at University this year, which underlines the continued strength of demand for places.

“With the introduction of the higher tuition fees in 2012 and approximately 70% of Universities indicating they will set their fees at or above £8,500, we are anticipating a reduction in applications next year.

“However, due to the latent demand highlighted above, we do not anticipate a significant reduction in actual student numbers in the University cities in which we operate.

“International students, who will not be affected by the changes in tuition fees, now represent 46% of Unite’s customer base (70% in Greater London) and we expect this proportion to increase as UK Universities continue to be an attractive option for students around the world.”

Meanwhile, Grainger plc, the UK’s biggest buy to let owner has also confirmed profits before tax for the six months ending March 31 were £65.2 million compared with £3.5 million for the same period a year ago.

The north-east based group also reported revenue rose from £126.3 million to £133.8 million.

 

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