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First study conducted on university student accommodation occupancy

20 February 2020

Rates of occupancy in university-owned purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) have been studied following a joint effort by two organisations.

Conducted by the College & University Business Officers (CUBO) and JLL, the study is claimed to be the first of its kind, with no previously example of data collected on a national basis.

Information was received from 20 universities and will provide a valuable first step in understanding trends and the factors that affect occupancy rates, said CUBO chief executive officer Jan Capper.

The research began in December 2017 and showed that 5 universities had 100% occupancy and the rates of two-thirds of those surveyed exceeded 97%.

Rates of occupancy for those at the highest and lowest levels of rental charges showed the lowest initial rates.

Up to the beginning of May 2018, 73% of universities experienced drops in occupancy levels, with the largest fall of 35% seen in a residence with no communal facilities.

Older buildings and those that were less well maintained could also be seen to have the lowest level of occupancy.

The report said that some facilities had seen significant investment in refurbishment, but had still seen occupancy levels fall, leading to the assumption that outward appearance had played a part in this.

Although buildings with shared bathroom facilities were shown to be less popular, the survey showed no correlation between occupancy and numbers of additional on-site facilities for off-campus residences.

However, the survey showed that residence facilities further away from the main campus and library were among the lowest performing.

This remained a factor even when they offered the lowest rent prices, said the survey.

The UK Student Housing Report 2019 survey details can be found here.


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