New research conducted by the Stripe Property Group has found that there are now approximately 3.1 student beds for every student in the UK.
Stripe Property Group, which deals in housing development across the UK, has conducted a new study into student housing. Findings show that there are now just under 2.2 million full-time university students living in the UK – a number which has increased by 8% since prior to the pandemic, in the 2019/20 session. By contrast, there are just under 700,000 beds available for students, a number which has increased just 6% post-pandemic. These numbers put the shortfall of student beds in the UK at 1.5 million.
The percentage of student rental properties occupied in Glasgow was higher than the average, standing at 32%. The research found that across 15 of the UK’s major university towns and cities, close to one in five student rental properties are occupied. The number was also higher than this in Bristol, at 29%, and 28% in Edinburgh.
This crisis in student housing has been felt acutely in Glasgow, where the University withdrew the guarantee of accommodation to incoming first-year students in March of this year and later advised students who couldn’t secure accommodation not to begin their studies. The crisis has also seen students living long distances from campus and the University housing students in hotels, for which they are now being asked to pay £640 per month.
James Forrester, Managing Director of Stripe Property Group, made a statement in which he said: “Purpose-built student accommodation plays a vital role in the lives of many young tenants and for the majority it will be their first experience of living away from home…It’s easy to see why the nation’s students feel their voice isn’t being heard on this issue as there is a real lack of initiative from the government to cultivate a thriving PBSA [purpose-built student accommodation] sector.”
A spokesperson for the University of Glasgow has previously stated: “We understand the concern students have about finding accommodation for the new semester, and we are taking a number of actions to support our students and ensure continuity of learning wherever possible. In some cases, our advice may include pausing studies for this academic year while ensuring students continue to have access to University systems and services. Comprehensive advice is available from students’ advisers of study and the Students’ Representative Council Advice Centre.”
The University has assured students that they are “working with any student placed in emergency hotel accommodation to help them find a permanent solution”.