With students beginning to question the real value of being at University versus studying remotely, we look at how robust the sector is, and how important the quality of student accommodation is as a deciding factor in where they choose to live. We also talk to someone right in the thick of it about how they are responding to the challenges in the sector.
Numbers of students in purpose-built student accommodation up on last year
Purpose-built student accommodation is growing in popularity amongst students versus the private rented sector. According to the Knight Frank / UCAS Student Accommodation Survey 2020, ‘Across the UK, around 30% of full-time first-year students live in private purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), up from 22% five years ago. A further 40% live in halls or accommodation provided by the university and the remainder either live in the private rented sector or at home with parents or guardians.’ They go on to say that, ‘Overall, more than three quarters of students living in PBSA indicated that they were satisfied with their accommodation choice for the year, slightly higher than those living in the private rented sector.’
95% cite quality of accommodation important
In all markets, accommodation was ranked as the most important factor influencing student wellbeing. What’s more, 95% of first years rated the quality of accommodation to be either ‘slightly’, ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important factory influencing the decision on where to live.
Where students were dissatisfied, the most cited reasons among students living in privately operated PBSA related to a lack of value for money and problems with the building, whilst for those in university operated accommodation it was a lack of value for money that was one of the most important factors.
We spoke to Emma Farrell, Residence Manager at Vita Student, one of the UK’s largest purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) suppliers about how she maintains the quality of so many student properties, and how she has been able to deliver improved value for money.
‘Two years ago, we solved the problem – The solution was Hanford + Green!’
‘Looking after a very large student block has many inherent problems!
None more so than keeping the place looking presentable when you have hundreds of students moving around.
When we opened we have had constant problems with the original paint used.
We found we couldn’t clean any marks off without damaging the surfaces. Touching up was never possible, because of the flashing marks that were left, which then led to having to paint entire large areas at great expense, not to mention the disruptive effects this had on our students, including the long lingering smell from even the smallest touch up.
Two years ago, we solved the problem – The solution was Hanford + Green!
The paint has simply eradicated ALL those problems! No smell! No flashing! Dry, and more incredibly re coat-able, in some cases, in as little as 20 minutes!
All our brand colours are matched perfectly, and deliveries are next day.
It has greatly improved our productivity as, instead of painting, we can direct our resources (and more importantly budget) elsewhere.’