September 1st, 2016
A-level results were released across the country recently and there have been some astonishing figures quoted. A record number of students have been accepted to universities across the UK amid widespread gloom about student funding.
Many students will be celebrating as a record number of offers were made – 424,000 according to UCAS, up 3% on 2015. Young people from the UK are 4% more likely to have been placed in higher education than last year. This was the highest number of A-level results day university placements on record.
Across the UK, 18-year-olds from the least advantaged backgrounds are 7% more likely to be placed than last year, although the most privileged young people are still 2.5 times more likely to be accepted to higher education than their less wealthy counterparts.
The gender gap has also narrowed compared to 2015 with 3% more men placed in 2016 and 2% more women. However, the gap is still relatively large with over 27,400 more young women than men from the UK placed at university so far.
It represents a monumental success for students and universities who were predicted to see a shortfall in applications and acceptances from EU students in the wake of the Brexit result. Applications from the EU haven’t seen a significant decrease compared to last year but are widely expected to fall sharply whenever the details of the Brexit deal are eventually finalised and released. With this in mind, the rise in acceptances and applications from UK students will be welcome news.
One issue that will keep coming up, however, is that of housing as more and more students struggle to find appropriate accommodation in already busy urban centres such as Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and Nottingham. Building projects have increased in these urban centres recently as demand soars, but there could be a significant shortfall if current trends continue.
Investors should be pleased about the news as ever-higher acceptance rates ensure demand remains high for a limited stock of student accommodation. Yields remain high and stable across the sector which should tempt existing investors as well as those who are looking to diversify their portfolios. Another factor acting as a strong pull for investors is the fact that student accommodation typically comes with a much lower purchase price than normal off-plan residential developments.
As the chancellor has now lifted many restrictions on places and the amount of students that universities are able to accept, there will have to be significant building as universities’ own housing stocks continue to dwindle. Issues surrounding suitability are often raised as the institutions’ own stocks are often not maintained to an equal standard of those for private rental.
The popularity of luxury or boutique housing has risen sharply as students find themselves seeking much better value for money at a time in their lives when their budgets are not flexible. In turn, the popularity of student accommodation for buy-to-let landlords has been increasing every year.
As students earn better and better results, we can expect universities to accept ever greater numbers of students from across the UK.