Bamboo, oil, diamonds and even parking spaces have all been lucrative investments for traders, but none has been as stable or as popular as the private student accommodation sector.
The past couple of years have witnessed the Higher Education sector becoming increasingly globalised, with students from around the world competing for places at UK universities. This desire for a British education, coupled with an increase in UK tuition fees, forced a rise in the quality of accommodation available to students and, as the institutions were increasingly unable to provide the higher standard required, specialist providers like Knight Knox International entered the market in their place.
While the rise in popularity for UK degrees has not abated, the introduction of higher tuition fees in 2011 saw a drop in applications, causing concern that the bubble would burst and there would be an oversupply in some areas, leaving empty properties that could not be filled.
"This concern however has proven to be quite unfounded," said Martin Copeland, Knight Knox International’s Sales Director.
"The majority of university-owned accommodation is no longer adequate for today’s students and is being replaced by the new, boutique residences that companies like Knight Knox are delivering. As such, the demand for higher quality accommodation is set to continue, allowing investors the opportunity to enter a sector that has lower void periods and higher rental yields than the more traditional forms of property investment."
Reinforcing this sentiment is research published by property market analysts CBRE, which states that "student housing is outperforming other asset classes…and has delivered 9.6% total returns in 2012. This compares to 4.4% for all offices and 2.2% for all retail over the same period".
The report also revealed that investment into the sector soared by 125% in 2012 to reach a staggering £2.7bn; further proof of the confidence that both developers and investors have in the market.
Knight Knox International has been selling student property for many years now, working on an exclusive basis with established developers who are experienced at delivering boutique student accommodation to the UK market.
"We enjoy strong partnerships with our developers," Copeland said, "which allows us to deliver projects in targeted cities which have been identified as having a chronic undersupply of high quality student accommodation".
With the majority of student accommodation projects delivered by Knight Knox International assuring returns of up to 10% in the first year and future returns of 8-10% projected for subsequent years, the firm has firmly established itself as one of the main providers in the country.
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