Knight Frank: Majority of students satisfied with their PBSA

Michael Lloyd

January 2, 2020


The majority (78%) of students living in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) are satisfied with their accommodation, the UK Student Accommodation Survey has found.

The survey from Knight Frank and UCAS showed 75% of students living in private PBSA would recommend their accommodation to new students, up from 69% last year.

However, the most commonly cited reason for dissatisfaction among students living in privately operated PBSA related to it not being value for money.

On average students living in private PBSA are paying £7,990 per annum for their accommodation.

This is a premium of 6% on the £7,550 average for those living in university-operated accommodation and 30% on the £6,130 for students living in privately rented house shares.

James Pullan, global head of student property at Knight Frank, said: “Overall, it is encouraging to see that the survey shows high levels of student satisfaction within the PBSA market, more so in fact than the alternatives available in the private rental sector.

“Affordability is, once again, the number one issue facing students, whilst value for money is the most important factor influencing decisions on where to live.

“For investors and operators of PBSA this means delivering the highest quality accommodation possible within the constraints of viability.

“Operators must be quick to identify and prioritise the elements in accommodation that are most important to students.

“The role that student accommodation plays in supporting well-being, is also reinforced, with the survey highlighting the importance that students place on the quality and usability of the social and amenity space provided.

“This must be an essential feature of all new PBSA.”

Across the UK, around 30% of full-time first-year students live in private purpose-built PBSA up from 22% five years ago.

The most important factor influencing the choice students make about where they live is value for money, with 98% rating this as being important to them.

For student property providers, brand recognition again featured as a key influencer with 40% of new first years living in private PBSA saying it was a factor in their decision of where to live.

Looking specifically at private PBSA, efforts to create a community were also highlighted as being important.

The atmosphere and social scene provided within their accommodation was rated positively by 48% and 30% of students respectively.

Regardless of the type of accommodation they were living in, most students (82%) indicated that their accommodation costs were either affordable or just about affordable.

Some 68% of students identified affordable living costs as being ‘very important’ with regards to their overall well-being.

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