Higher education plays an important part in the UK economy. As more people are enrolling to UK universities now than ever before, there hasn’t been a better time for student housing developers to scour for cities worth investing in. With that in mind, we’ve decided to take a look at some of the fastest-growing and most popular student markets in the country, while Internet traffic begins to overwhelm UCAS servers.
The ‘Best University Destination in the UK’, as dubbed by the Independent, boasts four universities. One of them is University of Leeds, an establishment that receives more student applicants annually than any other UK university. It’s no surprise that the city has the fourth-biggest population of students and urban economy in the nation. In other words, there’s no shortage of the student market here.
Having remained at a standstill for 10 years preceding the millennium, Leeds’ population has since picked up its pace. Starting from 2012, the city has seen its number of residents increase by an average of 7,410 per year – and it shows no signs of slowing.
These days, the population of Leeds is estimated to reach between 930,000 and a million in 15 years, providing plenty of scope for investment possibilities.
Considered one of the UK’s fastest-developing cities, Coventry’s population is rising at a rate much higher than most cities outside the capital.
The growing universities are huge drivers of the population increase. Situated at the central residents’ doorstep is the namesake university, which has been ranked amongst the top 15 universities nationwide by the Guardian University Guide. The University of Warwick is further away from the centre, but is another institution with a long history of topping UK league tables nonetheless.
Coventry makes an appealing choice for both local and international students. This is reflected in the recently recorded rise in population, which was just a little shy of 10,000 new residents. The city’s student population means a consistently large number of residents aged between 18 and 24 in this city, earning Coventry the well-deserved branding of a ‘young city’. This is an ideal location for property developers looking to make a profitable investment in a city that is on the rise amongst the next generation.
Norwich was once the capital of the most populated English county, Norfolk, until the Industrial Revolution. Fast-forward to modern days, and Norfolk’s population is now forecasted to push close to a million in the not-too-distant future.
In fact, the population of Norwich has been on the up since 2012, adopting more than a couple thousand new residents every year, many of whom are students.
Norwich is also served by two universities: the University of East Anglia (UEA), and Norwich University of the Arts. While the former is a world top 1% leading research institution, the latter is a higher-education provider specialising in art, design and media. Collectively, these universities contribute almost 20,000 temporary term-time locals to the population, hence why the biggest age group in Norwich ranges from 20 to 24. This makes Norwich another great location for any property developer to consider for their potential future projects.
Greater Manchester is the second most populous urban area in the UK with a population of more than 2.55 million, including the estimated 530,300 in Manchester itself.
Manchester has continually proved popular with students from around the globe, who account for almost a fifth of the city’s general population as of 2016. This part of North West is home to over 105,000 students from four universities scattered across the region.
The two main universities in Manchester city centre have a combined total of roughly 70,000 students enrolled in recent academic years. On top of that, many students studying in neighbouring districts – e.g. Salford and Bolton – also choose to live in Manchester for its vibrant city life, meaning an ever-rising demand for student accommodation. Music to any developer’s ears.
With over a million residents, Birmingham is reported to be one of the youngest cities in Europe, with under-30s making up almost half of the city’s population.
The most recent census suggests that Birmingham has pulled in over 65,000 students to study at the city’s two top-50 UK universities (and a handful of other universities and colleges), making it the second-largest student city in the UK, producing over 40,000 graduates (and counting) every year.
The booming education sector is not the only attraction though. The rent here (among other expenses) is 63% cheaper than London, which, in the world of rapidly rising tuition fees, is very hard to resist. With the proposed HS2 seemingly going ahead, as well as the airport expansion that is currently in talks, Birmingham will only become more attractive in the coming years, not only to prospective students but also to developers hunting for investment opportunities.
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