Student property investors, along with investors looking into the student property market, have been delighted by news that university applications have risen to record levels. UCAS has reported an increase of 4% in applications received by the deadline on the 15th of January this year. This indicates that more people than ever are considering university after leaving college, and it looks set to increase demand for student accommodation.
The number of applications to UCAS this year rose by 4% compared to last year, in spite of the fact there were 1% fewer 18 year olds in the UK population. In total, around 580,000 people applied for a higher education course, which represents 35% of 18 year olds in the UK.
Student numbers took a significant hit a few years ago, when tuition fees were nearly tripled after a large and very public controversy. However, student numbers have since recovered and are continuing to rise despite the higher cost of tuition. According to UCAS Chief Executive Mary Curnock Cook, an analysis of the figures "shows a remarkably persistent growth in demand for higher education."
Indeed, financial constraints seem to now be doing little to put a damper on university applications. Cook went on to say that the increased demand came "from all demographic backgrounds and for institutions across the spectrum in the UK." This year’s statistics also show that applications to every type of higher education institution are on the rise, regardless of tuition fee levels.
Demand for student property is already high in many student towns, and often outstrips supply in the most popular student markets. This record number of applications looks set to push demand even higher. This means that student property investors and landlords, especially in major cities with multiple universities, stand to benefit substantially as students rush to find a place to live.
With the current figures not only reaching a record but continuing a trend of rising applications, demand also looks set to continue in the future. This has reassured many, whether active in the student property market or considering investments in the area, that this market provides a safe and secure investment for their funds. The student property market already has a strong reputation as a secure investment opportunity, and the growing number of UK applications combined with increasing interest from overseas students has done much to cement the idea.
A few other interesting facts have been raised by the latest university application statistics. For example, there is increasing demand from both mature students and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Cook described these patterns as "encouraging." There is also an increasingly large gender divide, with around 87,000 more women applying for a place than men. Cook said that the gender gap "could eclipse the gap between rich and poor within a decade" if current trends continue.