While Liverpool has seen a boom in the development of purpose-built student accommodation, Manchester still needs more supply in order to move students out of low quality stock, according to Cushman & Wakefield.
Across the UK market, appetite for purpose-built student accommodation continued to flourish in 2018, with 31,300 new beds delivered for the 2018/19 academic year.
In its UK Student Accommodation Report 2018/19, C&W said that this addition to the market takes the total number of purpose-built spaces available to a record 627,115, with a further 36,000 new rooms are expected to enter the market in 2019.
The report states that the private sector’s position in the market has grown 130% in four years and now controls over half of all supply, if on-campus partnership bed spaces are included as private sector beds. As recently as 2014, universities provided two thirds of all beds in the UK.
New supply has also been dominated by private sector development, with 77% of all beds delivered by this part of the market in 2018.
In Manchester, the UK’s second largest market in student numbers outside London, there were in excess of 24,000 purpose-built bed spaces for the 2018/19 academic year.
David Feeney, student accommodation advisory at C&W, said: “The market in Manchester is diversified and competitive with high occupancy levels in both university and private sector schemes.” Feeney said that there are indications of growing pressure on the city council to move students away from the private housing market, with residents in areas such as Fallowfield becoming vocal in their opposition to Houses of Multiple Occupation.
Although several large schemes have come forward, particularly close to the city centre such as Vita and Liberty Heights, with more consented such as Unite’s New Wakefield Street, Manchester lags behind the wider market, Feeney said:
“Given the low levels of development in the city, student accommodation is typically dated and of a low quality, compared to other large student cities. For the 2018/19 academic year just 270 new bed spaces were brought to the market, the most notable of which is Hello Student’s The Chapel.”
C&W said that Manchester’s development pipeline currently stands at just over 6,000 bed spaces, including refurbishments, giving a net increase of 4,000.
Liverpool’s market continues to grow: there were 24,100 purpose-built student accommodation bed spaces on offer to students in Liverpool for the 2018/19 academic year.
Feeney said: “The University of Liverpool continues to attract a significant international student population to the city, with overall student numbers growing by six times the nationally observed rate of growth. The remaining institutions have also shown continued growth over the last two years, indicative of sustained student demand for purpose-built student accommodation.
“As such, the market has seen rapid expansion in recent years, with the largest number of purpose-built beds built since 2015 after London and Newcastle.”
More than 1,200 additional beds were brought to the market in Liverpool for 2018/19, with Fresh Student Living and Collegiate AC introduced to a market previously “dominated by average quality stock”.
Feeney added: “Whilst there are concerns about the market reaching saturation point, with well over 2,000 more new bed spaces set to be delivered for the 2019/20 academic year, it’s worth noting that the city has successfully managed to move large numbers of students out of poor quality private rented accommodation. Despite this, investors have continued to support HMO accommodation in popular student areas such as Wavertree.”
The full report can be viewed online.