The UK student accommodation industry is constantly evolving as the demands of its students change and evolve. Over the last five years the UK student population has increased by 9.7% as more and more young people are opting to attend University. It’s no surprise that we have then seen a rapid increase of investment into the sector. Last year alone £3.1 billion was poured into the industry by overseas investors.
With so much being invested into the market we must now take note of what the demands are so that that student accommodation stays at the forefront at delivering exceptional living.
We understand the need to be aware of today’s trends in order to create bespoke environments for work, rest and play. Below we have highlighted the key student living trends that are developing within the industry.
Promoting a positive mental health is a top priority within student accommodation. As a study carried out by the BBC at the end of 2018, showed that the number of students seeking mental health support whilst at University has increased by more than 50% in the past five years. A growing concern in the UK we have seen developers taking on a bigger role in delivering environments that can support this.
The time spend in student accommodation, for anyone attending university, forms part of their overall university experience. Where a student lives becomes their place to eat, sleep, work and have fun. For many young people leaving home and moving away to study signifies the start of life as an adult, a concept which can be quite daunting. Universities and accommodation providers will look to provide more support for this big step in a student’s life.
As a place where many make lifelong friendships, find partners and have their fondest memories, attending University can also be quite a hard place to be when you have just moved away from home. Therefore, encouraging the concept of community becomes instrumental in helping students have the best experience, to give them a home from home environment. We will see this become more apparent as student accommodations look to provide more communal spaces offering social activities tailored to their students.
What’s more it will be not just in Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) that we will see this increase. As many second and third year students move into student housing they will look to find housing that offers multiple bedrooms (HMO) up to four and with additional space so that they entertain friends. As more and more students turn to technology, and our communities grow in size, the concept of face-to-face interaction is undoubtedly falling by the wayside.
With more students coming to the UK to study, from all over the world, student accommodation must look grow and diversify to cater for a variety of students.
“Students from around the world want to be in the right place, with the right people, in good quality accommodation with facilities that add value to that experience.” Matthew Bowen, Head of Student Property Research, Knight Frank
This is where we will see the link between building better communities in student accommodation through design come together. By creating high-quality, safe spaces to live, where students can both study and socialise.
it’s not just about how the interior design of property looks these days, it’s more about how the design it makes you feel. We are seeing a greater focus on the appearance of student accommodation. Students are expecting high quality and are willing to pay for a premium. Beyond their rooms students who live in PBSA developments can expect to have a variety of social spaces on offer. From quiet study rooms to gyms and cinema rooms, the concept allows for students to have everything they need to create the best university experience.
However, amenities such as these over the past few years have become less of an added luxury and more of now a necessity. Outside of North America the UK is the second largest market for PBSA and we can see in the UK the competition between Universities to have the best PBSA. Providers are looking to Interior Design companies like LOFT to create innovative concepts for them. Bringing in industry trends combined with the needs of the market we can create inspired interiors.
In connection to the greater emphasis on supporting mental health, within student living, we will see design playing a big part in influencing this. A buildings design will now consider small things such as allowing for more light to flow through and spaces being more open plan, colours on the walls will be chosen to inspire positivity and creativity and fabrics will be chosen to compliment surroundings. Also having moveable/adaptable furniture will allow students to make spaces their own and bring different groups of students together.
At LOFT our in-house Interior Design Team have already begun to take on the latest trends and initiatives. From studios to amenity spaces, they have used their knowledge and skills to use design cleverly to improve mental health and build on communities.