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PBSA update – top hotspots and ‘revolutionary’ solution revealed

Sheffield has been revealed as the top regeneration hotspot of the Yorkshire region, with projects set to drive investment to the surrounding area due to demand for student rental properties.

The metropolitan city in South Yorkshire has already seen a substantial level of redevelopment in recent times with the completion of its ‘Heart of the City’ masterplan and £130 million worth of regeneration.

However, there’s more to come with phase two bringing a further £470 million of investment to the Sheffield area, with focus on social and professional improvements thought to create as many as 7,000 new jobs to the area.


The research from Sheffield-based student accommodation provider UniHomes shows that such investment works places the city as a frontrunner in the region where key regeneration projects and investment are concerned.

At an estimated £2.1 billion, Sheffield sits ahead of Nottingham (£2 billion), Leeds (£990 million) and Bradford (£17.9 million) and is fast becoming the driving force behind the changing face of Yorkshire.

One such example of significant changes to Sheffield’s landscape is New Era Square, with the 430,000 square foot development presenting a wealth of retail and social outlets, as well as commercial space and a student apartment complex ready to house 650 students.

With such a heavy concentration of students, it comes as no surprise that the UniHomes has also chosen to call New Era Square home, having moved its headquarters at the end of May, spread over a full floor of one of the area's commercial developments.

According to the provider, the average rental yield in the area currently sits at 6.07%, 2.06% higher than the wider area of Sheffield and higher still than the average seen across Yorkshire and the Humber.

UniHomes predicts that the combination of the area's regeneration, the relative affordability for students and the strong returns on buy-to-let investments should bring yet more investment to New Era Square and the surrounding area.

Phil Greaves, co-founder and director of UniHomes, comments: “Sheffield is fast becoming the driving force behind the extensive regeneration of the Yorkshire region and these ongoing improvements are going to draw more people to live, work and learn in the city which will only help strengthen the local economy even further.”

“Regeneration projects such as New Era Square are helping to lead this change and we’re extremely excited to get settled in and explore what the area has to offer. However, our decision to move there has been very much a strategic one as the area is already a hub for student life in Sheffield.”

He adds: “Above and beyond the already existing student accommodations, we expect to see an influx of investment in the surrounding areas from those keen to take advantage of consistent demand and above-average rental yields.”

Further research from the provider has revealed the UK’s rental demand on student properties has remained unchanged by the pandemic.

The research has uncovered which UK universities have seen consistent student demand, helping maintain rental yields in the surrounding areas.

UniHomes analysed rental yields in postcodes surrounding main campuses of the top 100 UK universities and considered how they’d changed since the start of 2020.

The University of St Andrews has seen the average rental yield increase from 3.4% to 5% since the start of the pandemic. Additionally, Aberystwyth University has also seen a notable increase, up from 4.6% to 5.9% - an uplift of 1.3%.

Lancaster University has also seen the average rental yield increase by 1% since the start of last year, with Loughborough University, Falmouth University and Queen’s University Belfast seeing yields climb by 0.9%.

Edinburgh Napier University (0.8%), University of Leeds (0.8%), Manchester Metropolitan University (0.7%) and University of Edinburgh (0.7%) also make the top 10.

Greaves says: “Despite the pandemic and the restrictions imposed around face-to-face teaching for much of the last university year, we’ve seen a consistent demand from students looking for properties.”

“We understand that living away from home to attend university is a massive part of the student experience. Even now, most will have secured a property for the next academic year, however, we are still witnessing a high demand in key areas.”

“This demonstrates the strength of the sector and with the appetite for student rentals only set to grow, we should see this positive trend continue as we approach the new university year.”

New partnership to provide ‘revolutionary’ solution for PBSA sector

Student accommodation provider, Student Roost and innovative hybrid agency, Accommodation.co.uk have teamed up to create a ‘revolutionary’ booking process for university students.

The exclusive partnership aims to transform the way students can enquire, view and book a room at one of over 50 Student Roost properties across the UK.

As an ever-growing letting agency, Accommodation.co.uk will help to market Student Roost properties on housing market search sites such as Zoopla and Rightmove.

Typically, students will scour property websites for shared housing owned by local landlords or university-owned housing. Many will opt for larger properties that has higher bills, potentially long waiting times on essential house maintenance and, sometimes, a lack of communication between landlords and tenants.

Student Roost hopes to eliminate these occurrences, offering ‘all the best parts of living in student accommodation with extra benefits’, from private en-suite bathrooms in every room, social spaces such as cinema rooms, gyms and hosting kitchens, to social events and a 24/7 team on site.

Properties include the brand-new Brewers’ Court in Edinburgh and York House in Nottingham, which are both due to open this year.

With support from Accommodation.co.uk, students can choose to book a single studio if they prefer to live alone or with a partner, a room in a shared flat if they want to make new friends, or a group of friends can book a full house and experience the university life together in the city they are studying in. 

Student Roost provides over 8,000 student houses across over 50 properties in 20 different university cities across the UK. In total, 20,000 residents make a Student Roost house their home during their studies. 

Jason Andrews, director of operations at Student Roost, comments: “We’re excited about this partnership with Accommodation.co.uk, which will allow more students to find out about purpose-built student accommodation and make it their first choice when it comes to finding somewhere to live while at university.”

“Our priority is providing a house, but better, which students will remember as part of their university life for years to come. With this partnership, many more students will find their home away from home at Student Roost.”

Howard Russell, lettings director at Accommodation.co.uk, adds: “We are delighted to be partnering with such a forward-thinking and fast-growing student accommodation brand. Combining their fantastic quality student homes with our industry-leading technology, we are focused on making Student Roost the first choice whilst studying at university.”

“As a company, we have experienced outstanding growth over the past 12 months, despite the challenges presented by COVID, and this partnership will accelerate our expansion across the UK.”


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