How does Sheffield balance student and local housing?

May 26, 2017

With a population of over half a million and 1.6 million in the greater area, this makes Sheffield the third biggest metropolitan area in England. A warm and welcoming city, home to 60,000 students who mill about the city doing their business and generating wealth for the local economy.

Sheffield city_University of SheffieldWith two Universities, almost 1 in 10 people in Sheffield are students, so the city is geared towards student life, from the nightclubs and bars to the shops. There are 55,000 businesses in the city area creating 700,000 jobs.

The rising cost of University education has heightened student expectations, including the quality of accommodation they require. Unabated international student demand – and here we are talking mostly international and not European demand – has buoyed the purpose built student accommodation sector.

University-owned halls of residence accounts for about 20% of student housing needs, whereas the private rented sector amounts to more than double this. Sheffield Hallam University works closely with the Student Union providers of student housing and the private sector which plays such a pivotal role in housing provision. In fact about 50% of the student accommodation supply is through the private sector.

Sheffield Hallam – is the third largest University in the UK – accounts for the more sizable share of the 60,000+ student numbers in Sheffield city, at about 37,000 students (of whom over 4,000 are international students). These students are served by over 4,000 staff and over 700 courses. There are over 7,000 postgraduate students from over 80 different countries studying at Hallam.

It has close links with organisations like the Olympics, Nestlé, Sony PlayStation, the NHS and Rolls-Royce. Their reputation for excellent teaching and facilities is demonstrated by the number of major contracts they win.

Sheffield city council has historically tried to restrain over-build of HMOs in certain area so that the city’s population have areas of traditional housing freed up for their needs, exercising a type of cap system so as to ensure smoother integration in the local population.

As purpose built student accommodation supply has increased, this has enabled the council to free up more traditional housing stock for the local housing needs. PBSA appeals particularly to international students who often may only be able to view the property particulars from a distance, go for good city-locations and for the known-brand operators with the professionally run set-ups. These tend to have the facilities to enable remote, online viewings, unlike the smaller independent landlord.

Its economics proving remarkably resilient to economic blips. The National Union of Students (NUS) shows that rents for PBSA have risen above inflation, up 53% since 2004. Student property has been named the UK’s best performing asset class for the 2nd year running.

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