Student Accommodation Achieves Healthy Returns in 2021

The Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) Index, produced by global real estate advisor CBRE, has reported total returns of 7.7% in the year to September 2021.

PBSA was outperformed by the all-property average for the first time since 2017, which saw returns of 12.5% in the year to September 2021, as the commercial property market rebounded from negative returns in the wake of Covid-19.

The performance gap between London and Regional narrowed, with assets in the capital achieving total returns that were 0.3% higher than those in the regions, a fall from the 2-4% outperformance seen over the last four years. This was due to falling net income return on London assets.

Tim Pankhurst, Executive Director, CBRE Student Accommodation Valuation & Advisory commented:

“From the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, returns and capital growth for PBSA have outperformed Office and Retail, coming second only to Industrial. We anticipate that demand will remain strong in 2022 as increasing participation rates are coupled with an increase in the UK student age demographic. Since September we have seen already seen very strong yield compression in most PBSA markets.

“Supply can’t keep up, with the delivery of new PBSA supply, hindered by increasing build costs and land availability. These dynamics have contributed to strong investor sentiment and we expect that the appetite for good quality PBSA assets will continue into next year.”