The past three years, and particularly this year, have been very strong for the student property market in the UK, with investment levels, demand and returns all soaring, providing investors in the market with the perfect set of conditions for making a good amount of money from an initial spend.
It is the strength of the university market in the UK, and the fact that so many people are now choosing to go to university, that has made for such a strong asset class, with student property having moved away from the realm of niche purchases and into the world of the mainstream asset classes. For the three years prior to 2015, we saw investment levels that were very impressive, with £2 billion plus being invested in each of the three years - a figure that had never previously been reached.
But it was 2015 where this market really came into its own, and as we approach the end of the year, we've seen almost £6 billion put into the sector by investors who are keen to see their properties work for them. And with returns averaging between six and nine per cent for the last few years, it's not difficult to see why so many people are spending big in student accommodation.
It's not all straightforward, though, and while it can be easy to make strong returns, just how much you make is entirely dependent on where you choose to invest. A number of cities offer good returns for this asset type. Here, we look at just a few of the best.
It'll come as little surprise that the country's capital and largest city is also the one where student property is among the most lucrative. You'll need to have a sizeable budget to invest in London, but with the sheer number of institutions and students on the lookout for impressive and comfortable accommodation, there's some serious money to be made in London.
From a city with many universities to one with many students; Manchester has the largest student population you'll find anywhere in Europe, and that means constant demand for homes to house them in. And with prices for buying stock so low in the north-west, this is a great place to buy.
The second largest city in the UK is also one of the very best for student investment, mostly because it is becoming increasingly popular among students compared to a few years ago. With less of a crowded marketplace than the other two, Birmingham can be a great place for newcomers to the market to cut their teeth among a sector that just keeps growing and growing.
The main selling point of Bristol is how trendy it is, and certain areas are now attracting students in droves thanks to the boutiques, fancy eateries and great places to drink. Areas such as Clifton are wonderful places to invest as more and more students migrate there, giving you a large target audience in a setting that seems to have more students looking to let in it every single day.
Far removed from the rest of the more popular student hotspots, Brighton is better known for its pier and rock, but it's this that gives it its charm. Here, you can invest in really beautiful little properties down by the beach or in the centre of the city, both of which are very popular indeed with London students who move down to the coast to study.