The purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) sector will play a vital role in tackling the under-supply of student beds and maintaining the status of the UK’s world-class universities, a parliamentary reception has heard.
The PBSA sector has developed from nothing 20 years ago into an industry with more than £20bn of assets that provides 175,000 beds to students, compared with 275,000 in university halls. This still falls short of the 800,000 beds a year needed for universities to meet their ‘accommodation promise’ to provide housing for first year undergraduate and international students.
Richard Simpson, Managing Director of the UK’s leading operator of purpose built student accommodation, UNITE, said that the predicted rise in student numbers, following the removal of number caps in the Autumn Statement, would put further pressure on student accommodation.
The House of Commons reception, held to mark the parliamentary launch of the British Property Federation’s Student Accommodation Committee, heard that the UK is the second most popular destination for internationally mobile higher education students behind the USA, with a global market share of 13%. Figures published the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills estimate education exports were worth £17.5bn to the UK economy in 2011. About £6.3bn of that, was accommodation costs paid by overseas students in the UK.
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