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The Future of Student Accommodation

The ways in which properties are built and designed for students is constantly changing. Given that students like to stay on top of the latest trends and developments, property developers need to ensure they're keeping up with them.

Not only do property developers need to follow trends, but they also have to remain updated with regards to the state of the economy. The purpose-built student accommodation industry may have a few uncertainties on its hands, in the form of Brexit, tuition fees, and emerging technologies.

What exactly does the future of student accommodation look like? More importantly, what is expected to change? We've taken a look to find out.

The Aftermath of Brexit

Let's talk about the elephant in the room right away. The decision has been made for the UK to leave the EU, and this is definitely going to have an impact on higher-education institutions.

In 2015/16, there were 701,010 overseas students studying in the UK, with students from the EU making up 5 per cent of the student population in the country. EU residents who study in other EU countries are classed as "home students", allowing them to save between £18,000 and £48,000 on tuition fees.

Whilst no decision has been made with regards to the future of EU students, it's unlikely that these automatic discounts will remain in place - meaning EU students could end up paying the same as non-EU students and could result in a dramatic drop in EU student numbers.

The Russell Group, which is made up of the UK's top ranking universities, is working with the government to get the best possible result for students. As negotiations are to take place, it's unclear as to what exactly will happen next but it's expected that fees will go up.

The potential of Brexit is the opening of the market to the wider world. International Student application to the US have dropped since the election of President Trump and Australia's tightened entry requirements have also reduced the number of inbound students.

The UK without much effort could pick up this capacity if the political will is there, particularly due to the fact that the UK has some of the best universities in the world. Student numbers are actually growing in the UK and there is still huge demand for purpose-built accommodation - showing there is still interest in the country.

The Student Mindset

Student behaviours continue to change throughout the years. Pair rising tuition fees with the competitive world of the graduate job market and you've got students who are more likely to take their education seriously.

Students want to ensure their £50,000+ is worthwhile and justified, and that may just mean a bigger demand for additional lecturers and study spaces. Property developers in the student accommodation industry are already finding a growing need to provide areas that can be used for revision. Students want to be able to study in the comfort of their own homes and not just at the library.

Rising Fees

Until 2020, universities are able to introduce annual increases in tuition fees. In 2020, increases will be based on individual performance and the teaching quality of each institution.

These increases will mean that accommodation providers will need to reflect the rises in fees depending on areas and institution. Where universities perform well based on student performance and teaching quality, there will be more demand and students will expect better choices when it comes to their student accommodation.

With increasing fees, students have less money to spend and are therefore becoming more precise about their needs and demands when it comes to accommodation. Gone are the days of dingy, dark rooms; students want functional rooms that are designed with productivity and trends in mind. With a greater cost comes a higher expectation.

The Bar Continues to Rise

More and more graduates are choosing to study at university each year. In 2015/16, there were 2.28 million students attending higher-education institutions across the UK.

In spite of Brexit, there is still a growing need for student accommodation. Investors aren't deeming Brexit to be a serious enough risk, and are still making deals worth millions.

The fact remains that students will always need accommodation. Adapting trends mean that modern students are expecting more from their accommodation. It's up to landlords and property developers to deliver on these expectations.

Stay up-to-date with the future of the student accommodation industry with Student Furniture's latest guide, and find out how you can furnish the perfect student property.

Alec McKenzie is the Head of Student at Student Furniture, with specialist knowledge of the Student and Graduate Accommodation Sector.

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