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International Demand Drives Sheffield’s New Five-Year Student Accommodation Strategy

With a student population of over 60,000, Sheffield City Council has just approved a Student Accommodation Strategy to ensure quality housing provision.  New build development, Spectrum Apartments, will add to the quality ‘pool’.

Between Russell Group member and world top 100 ranking University of Sheffield and the progressive Sheffield Hallam which gained university status in 1992, there are currently 48,630 fulltime students in Sheffield, but only 23.4% of them can be housed in university-owned accommodation.  The rest either live with their parents or rent from the private sector, often in Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO).  The Council’s Student Accommodation Strategy will shape planning policy for the future.    

Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods, Councillor Harry Harpham, said, “Students are an important part of Sheffield’s make up.  It is vital that we plan for the future.  Our universities are growing and our student population is changing.”

Indeed the main change is the number of international students.  According to its website, 24% of the University of Sheffield’s total student population is from overseas, over 4,000 of them from China.  A further 3,000 international students are found at Sheffield Hallam, almost half of them from Malaysia.  These students are attracted by many features of dedicated student accommodation, such as a central location and 24 hour security.  The City is keen to provide it as the University of Sheffield has calculated that its international students are responsible for pumping over £120 million into Sheffield’s economy over a single year – a vast contribution.

Joining the high quality accommodation pool is Spectrum Apartments, a development of 152 units built over seven storeys.  Peter McDermott, Director of UK-based Go Global Investments promoting the project, says, “Similar to most of the top UK university towns, even if all the housing projects undergoing development or awaiting planning consent in Sheffield were built out, it would still leave almost 60% of its students living at home or in HMOs.  Therefore there is a clear need for projects such as Spectrum Apartments to provide quality housing the City lacks.”

Peter continues, “Furthermore, international student demand is currently driven by the increase in the middle class in countries such as China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nigeria. The British Council estimates that the global number of higher education students will grow by over 11% from the 178m in 2011, to 199m in 2020. This will push demand for quality housing even higher – in Sheffield and across the UK’s high ranking university cities.”

Newly released on the market, Spectrum Apartments is a ten minute walk from both the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam, with the city centre on its doorstep.  Comprising 147 en-suite bedroom units arranged in apartments sharing a kitchen, lounge and dining area, four self-contained studios and one premier penthouse, the project also benefits from a bright reception, central courtyard with landscaped gardens, a gymnasium, laundry and bicycle store.

Fully furnished student bedrooms are priced from £55,995, studios from £69,995 and the penthouse from £79,995.  A minimum assured net yield of 8% (£4,500 to £7,533 depending on unit price) is payable for five years but anticipated returns could be higher from the outset - the investor will receive any excess income produced by their unit.  Yields are paid quarterly in arrears from completion, slated for July 2015.  The development will be managed by Urban Student Life.

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Having never purchased a student investment property

"Having never purchased a student investment property we were a little curious as to how it worked, the risks involved and total costs involved.... 

I looked at 5 or 6 student accommodation schemes

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Investing in any property is always a cause of some anxiety

"Investing in any property is always a cause of some anxiety.....

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