How students are transforming our cities

How students are transforming our cities

In 2015 record numbers of students headed off to university and this has had a massive impact on the shape of our university towns and cities across the UK. 2016 is set to be even more prolific.

Around 70% of all students in England and Wales are based in urban areas and 21% of that figure are based in London. It’s now a recorded fact that students are now making up a significant proportion of our city centre populations. In fact, over 43% of the population growth we have seen in our city centres across England and Wales has been because of students. It is now estimated that students make up approximately 25% of our entire city centre populations and within major cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool, it’s even higher than that.

As a direct result of this, city centre planners have had to get their heads together and determine the kind of infrastructure our cities are going to need to support them. This, in turn, affects the transport links, public services and housing that is required. It also has a strong effect on the volume of bars, restaurants and leisure facilities needed to keep the students entertained.

In cities such as Birmingham, Newcastle, Leicester, Cardiff, Leeds and Liverpool, the share of the city centre population that are students ranges from 41% to 49%. This clearly has a huge impact on the accommodation that is required to house these students. In light of this, property developers are honing in on Britain’s university towns and cities to introduce new purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) and for investors, student property represents a virtually guaranteed income with strong financial returns.