In the first year, students who achieved top grades are twice more likely to have prioritised the use of technology when choosing accommodation (19%), than those who achieved 69% in their grades or lower (9%), according to the research. This trend continues in the second year.
Similarly, in the third year, those who achieved top grades were significantly more likely (24%) to prioritise technology in their accommodation than those who achieved 69% or lower (15%).
Technology in PBSA was rated as ‘excellent’ by 39% of students living in PBSA in their first year, compared to less than a quarter (23%) in halls of residence. In the second year, as more students face the decision of whether to move into PBSA or an HMO / shared house, the gap between alternative accommodation widens to almost double (33% compared to 20% in an HMO/shared house), and increases for third year students (43% compared with 25%).
MCR Property’s Nick Lake says:
“What hasn’t changed is that students want faster internet, a double bed and a high quality of service. They have an expectation of accommodation on a par with a hotel, as opposed to hostels that were available 20 years ago.”
International students are more likely to prioritise technology (20%), than British students (14%). This includes being more likely to ensure accommodation has speedy and dependable WiFi/internet (23% compared to 15%). With technology being imperative for students, developers should make it part of project plans.
There are notable different priorities between domestic and overseas students in UK universities. British students choose accommodation based on the ability to socialise: international students prioritise practicalities, the online survey showed. With extra pressures and additional costs, international students take their studies seriously, reflected in their attitude to accommodation, suggests Octopus. With international students representing a significant proportion of the market, it pays for developers to heed their concerns and provide PBSA supporting academic goals.
Gavin Eustace, head of residential development at Octopus Real Estate added:
“Purpose-Built Student Accommodation accounts for under a third of the market, but the sector is growing strongly and offers a huge opportunity for developers. We’re proud to champion this sector, as demand for specialised student accommodation continues to rise. At a time when the job market and financial pressures for students are so high, developers are making a positive impact with PBSA on student academic performance and health.”