Research by Cushman & Wakefield’s recorded 22,843 purpose-built student accommodation bed spaces in Leeds for the 2020/21 academic year. This is a 2,000 bed increase on the 2019/20 figures. The growth is the largest ever annual increase in Leeds. The demand for student accommodation continues to grow whilst the supply has lagged. The private sector has identified the gap in demand and supply with over 6,700 beds in the pipeline.

In Leeds, over two thirds of beds are now provided by the private sector. This supply will increase as all student accommodation in the pipeline will be provided by private developers. Only 8,000 beds are operated on a direct-let basis and this is far smaller than similar student markets. The research highlights that institutions in Leeds are showing a greater commitment to engage with private sector partners.

Areas surrounding the Merrion Centre are the most popular for student development with nearly 3,000 planned beds. Currently, the area has 4,578 beds and the price of an average studio in the area is £255 per week.

The regional breakdown for the provision of new student beds shows that Coventry led the way with 3,700 new beds. This is followed by London, Leeds and then Exeter. Sheffield had the lowest average rent of £124 per week and London had the most expensive rent of £238 per week.

David Feeney, UK Student Accommodation Advisory Lead at Cushman & Wakefield, commented: “Student numbers show no sign of slowing down with HESA data showing just over two million full-time students studying in the UK at the current time. Students studying at post-graduate level have been a key driver of this growth, with this cohort increasing at an average of 5.1% per annum since 2016/17. Although it might be expected that the Covid-19 pandemic would deter international applications, the UK’s global reputation for academic excellence is helping to shore up the number of applications from non-EU undergraduate students. UCAS data again showed an increase in the number of accepted applicants from non-EU undergraduate students for the 2020/21 academic year.”