Octopus student survey: PBSA is best for student wellbeing

The Octopus Real Estate research highlights the higher levels of well-being experienced among students in PBSA. A recent study into the UK academic experience by the Higher Education Policy Institute reported low levels of satisfaction. By students’ own reckoning, whether starting their degree or being close to finals, accommodation affects happiness levels.

This finding is corroborated by the recent survey commissioned by Octopus. Students in their first year are more likely to be ‘very satisfied’ with their mental health (34%), compared to those living in halls (23%). Further, those living in PBSA in their first year are almost twice as likely to be ‘very satisfied’ with their physical health (60%), than those living in halls of residence (32%).

Similarly, 44% of students are ‘very satisfied’ in ‘achieving the personal goals set at the beginning of the year’ – 18% more than those living in halls. Given the importance of this issue, developers of PBSA have an important role in delivering accommodation that aids wellbeing and gives a rounded student experience.

Andrew Jamieson, EREC Estates, explains:

“Providers have to respond to the desires of students for not just much better facilities and amenities, but what I’d call life support services to support the whole student experience.”

The research, conducted by FTI Consulting’s strategy & research team surveyed 1,105 UK-based students, aged between 18 to 25 years old during 30 April to 9 May 2019, identified five key priorities for students, the often-overlooked end customer in sector estimated to be valued at more than £50 billion by year-end.

Throughout their stay, university students continue to be more satisfied with their physical health when living in PBSA than other accommodation options. Students are increasingly focusing on their physical health, suggesting more opportunities for gyms in PBSA.

Elsewhere, research from Save the Student found that one in two students say they struggle to pay rent, and that more than a third believe that money worries affect their studies. At the same time, there continues to be a significant number of students whowould pay for extra facilities in their accommodation.

The appetite for these facilities gives room for developers to expand plans and deliver better, affordable PBSA to more students.

MCR Property’s Nick Lake says:

“Providing something that isn’t en-suite is becoming harder and harder to get away with. We are always staggered by what students are able to pay, getting really, really nice student accommodation for an extra £25 a week. They want something functional but good quality.

james.wallace@realassetmedia.com