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Student application figures fuel South West property sector

Admissions body Ucas said there was an 8% year-on-year increase in applications to UK universities as more people looked to sharpen their academic skills to cope with the economic downturn.

Conal Newland, Partner in the Higher Education Team at King Sturge said the region was well-placed to capitalise on the latest figures.

"So many sectors are suffering at the moment, but student accommodation – currently the South West’s best performing property sector – is booming," he said.

"Year on year student numbers have been steadily climbing and now the economic downturn seems to have made even more people choose further and higher education as a way of improving their long-term chances of landing a job."

Mr Newland pointed out that student satisfaction surveys often ranked the quality of accommodation and high-quality facilities in the top two or three most important aspects when deciding on a university alongside teaching quality and the reputation of the institution.

"This means the wealth of excellent new student accommodation facilities being built right now in the South West – in Bristol, Bath, Exeter and Falmouth – will undoubtedly encourage students to choose this region for their studies, fuelling the sector and boosting the local economy," he said.

The South West student accommodation developments are:

* University of Exeter’s £150million student accommodation development project at the Streatham Campus;
* University of Bristol’s strategic residences review which is currently underway;
* Developments at the University of the West of England’s Frenchay campus including their recent acquisition from Hewlett Packard;
* University of Bath’s proposed expansion plans;
* New residential  accommodation at University College Falmouth’s Tremough Campus.

Mr Newland said: "The latest Ucas figures reinforce how strong the student accommodation sector is nationally and, with the major projects currently taking place in the South West, they underline the sector’s regional strength and stability."

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