2018 has been 'toughest' year for PBSA occupancy

The purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) sector has experienced a tough year in terms of occupancy, according to one industry professional.

Brian Welsh, CEO at the Nido Collection (pictured above, middle), made the comment during the Beaufort Capital Breakfast Seminar on unlocking investment opportunities in the regions.

The event – which was held at Home House, central London, in association with Development Finance Today – featured a panel discussion chaired by Mark Quigley, managing director at Beaufort Capital (right), with panellists Melanie Leech, chief executive at British Property Federation (second right), Clive Wilding, development director at Artisan Real Estate Investors (second left), Richard Eames, head of valuations of national business at CBRE (left) and Brian.

“I think this year has been the toughest year to date for purpose-built student accommodation occupancy because of the additional supply coming online and the live effect of people investing in purpose-built student accommodation,” said Brian.

“But, actually, this year we are in a perfect storm of [a smaller number of 18-year-olds], [a] real demographic dip, which will continue throughout another 18 months or so… ”

Brian also explained that some areas for PBSA were more popular than others.

“So … you think: let’s invest in student accommodation in Oxford and Cambridge, and when you get there and start trying to let rooms, you realise that everybody at Oxford and Cambridge wants to live in a college and not in purpose-built student accommodation.

“So, what you are in fact doing is you’re investing into secondary universities…”

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