Manchester based property investment firm, Knight Knox International, has revealed that their latest student accommodation project is firmly on its way to being fully reserved, only three short weeks after coming onto the market.
Knight Knox have been advising investors for some time now about the lucrative deals to be made in the student accommodation sector, and their latest project, St. Ann’s Lodge, is certainly exceeding all expectations.
Ideally located in the leafy suburb of Headingley, St. Ann’s Lodge is a turn-of-the century building which is currently undergoing major refurbishment to convert it into stylish student accommodation units. Built over four floors, with disabled access at ground level, all rooms are tastefully furnished to an exceptional standard and include free WiFi. Conveniently situated within walking distance of Leeds Metropolitan University and all local amenities, the development has garnered a tremendous amount of interest from investors wanting to take advantage of the lucrative yields (currently assured at 10%) and high occupancy rates. With prices for a 1-bed student pod starting at £29,500 and due for completion in time for the 2012/2013 student intake, the speed at which this development is selling is an indicator of the amount of confidence that property investors have in this sector.
The popularity of student accommodation investments has been highlighted in the media with increasing frequency of late, particularly in light of recently published statistics from commercial property advisers CBRE, who estimate that over £750m of capital was invested into the sector in 2011, an increase of almost double the £350m invested in 2009.
The amount of money being poured into the sector confirms the current buoyancy of the market, at a time when UK universities are finding it increasingly difficult to provide adequate levels of accommodation for the volume of students they are accepting onto courses. In addition to the increase in fees introduced by the government in 2011, recent changes to the Tier 4 student visa by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has meant that only the wealthiest of foreign students will be accepted onto degree courses. Whilst this may have initially been viewed as an obstacle, recent thinking by property experts Knight Frank, in their recently published 2012 Student Property Report, is that students will now begin to view their university experience as a commercial venture, forcing universities to re-evaluate their provision and differentiate themselves in a saturated market.
This shift towards a more commercial offering for student residences is something that property experts like Knight Knox have been anticipating, demonstrated by the tremendous success of their latest offering in Leeds.
Knight Knox are delighted with the speed at which the development is selling, commenting that “this is an extremely encouraging start to the year, allowing us to be confident of the decisions we are making in regards to the provision of bespoke, boutique student accommodation to the market place.”
“The student accommodation sector is currently one of our hottest markets and our experienced team of sales advisers are on-hand to advise investors on the best way to expand their portfolios into this lucrative area.”
Following successful developments in major cities including Birmingham and Liverpool, St. Ann’s Lodge is on its way to becoming Knight Knox’s 10th sold-out student accommodation project, firmly establishing the company as a market leader in this niche sector. Further projects in the midst of completion include those located in the popular university towns of Bolton and Sheffield.
For more information on student accommodation investments, please contact Knight Knox International on +44 (0)161 772 1370 or visit www.knightknox.com.
By Samantha Jones