“What do students want?”
This is a question which should occupy the mind of a buy-to-let investor looking at Purpose-Built Student Accommodation.
If you are buying a property you should be looking for something that appeals as much as possible to potential tenants – it sounds basic, but it is bizarre how often an investor will purchase an apartment that appeals to them and not the renter. Is it really a surprise when they then end up with long void periods?
With that in mind, the UCAS Media Student Lifestyle Report 2018 makes for interesting reading as it provides a detailed look at how students live and what they want from their university experience.
The first interesting statistic is that students spend 65% of their weekly budget on groceries, eating out and entertainment. Perhaps this statistic is not surprising given that this is often a young person’s first time living away from home in a strange city, but it is interesting from an investment point of view. It suggests that if you purchase PBSA close to shops, bars and restaurants you are far more likely to be able to find good tenants.
The next interesting statistics concern transportation. 32% of respondents to the UCAS report state that walking is their main method of getting around town and university, with another 32% saying the bus was their main mode of transport. Cars and trains follow a distant third and fourth. This means that almost two thirds of students prefer and rely on hyper-local forms of transportation, and that they will be on the lookout for accommodation which facilitates this. If you invest in an apartment which is close to a good bus stop or is convenient walking distance then you will be able to find a tenant more easily.
Finally, something that holds true across the board is that students rely heavily on the internet for every aspect of their university experience. Social media is vital for making friends and socialising, whilst email was rated the most convenient method of communication for everything from university work to conversing with their landlord or letting agent. Whatever you do, don’t invest in an area with poor internet speeds or no phone signal!
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