The Chief Executive of Unipol wrote a blog on the Higher Education Policy (HEPI) website in November summarising trends in the student housing sector that was resulting in student housing shortages in many University towns and cities.

The blog can be read at:

The blog covers, the rising accommodation shortages, the decline of off-street shared student houses, the Renters Reform proposals, slowing PBSA growth and the growing issue of housing for students with dependants. The summary of why student accommodation shortages are occurring was:

  • universities reducing their underwrite agreements and securing fewer rooms for their first-year students. When they do react to the possibility of an overshoot in intake, institutions are leaving it too late in the year to buy in provision, because beds have already been let
  • the response of private sector PBSA operators to bearing greater risk is to market to returning students
  • the decline in the number of on-street student bed spaces, as landlords move out of the student sector. This means that more returning students are living in PBSA
  • the renters’ tenure reform proposals causing instability in the supply of on-street student housing
  • the slowdown in the growth of PBSA at exactly the time when returning student demand is on the up.

The blog also gives some immediate ideas of how accommodation suppliers and universities might react to these circumstances.