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Student accommodation projects set to rise further
- November 26, 2019

The construction subsector that specifies in the delivery of student accommodation is forecast to receive a healthy uplift in the coming months following the £1.4Bn acquisition of the student accommodation company Liberty Living by its rival Unite.

Unite’s acquisition of Liberty Living has been approved by the Competition and Markets Authority who will not intervene in the deal which is now scheduled to be passed through next month, creating a mega-client, and therefore a valuable client, within the construction sector which is expected to dominate the student accommodation market.

The Chief Executive of Unite Students, Richard Smith stated: “The enlarged group will be well positioned to meet the growing need for affordable, high quality student accommodation in university towns and cities where demand is strong.”

Under Unite’s current targets, the accommodation provider will deliver 6,000 new student beds over the course of the next three years in cities such as Bristol, Manchester, and London, with some notable projects being the construction of a £5M extension to a student block in Manchester as well as the £200M City Fringe Student Tower in London.

Meanwhile, in the Welsh market, Unite’s equivalent Watkin Jones has possessed an extremely healthy project pipeline in the past year after completing six student accommodation schemes, containing 2,723 beds, between 1st October 2018 and 30th September 2019, with predictions showing that the company expects to deliver 3,500 beds per year up until 2024.

However, where United and Watkins Jones handle the larger scale projects, some smaller scale accommodation providers, such as Torsion, have been equally as successfully within their respective scales.

In particular, Torsion, which is a Leeds-based company, recently commenced construction of an £11.3M project to deliver a 210-bed student accommodation development in Coventry and likewise plan to begin the construction of 403 student units in Lincoln in the spring of 2020.

Other similar accommodation projects include Danehurst’s £11.9M Harvest Road development which will accommodate 166 students and Maven Capital’s £12M Portsmouth Road Development in Southampton which will house 199 students.

According to recent market analysis by Glenigan, student accommodation construction project starts are expected to have increased by a proportion of 6 per cent in 2019.

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