Prospects good for PBSA sector’s return to full strength

The student housing sector remained resilient to the pandemic in 2020 albeit not completely unaffected. However, prospects look good for a return to near normal when the 2021-2022 academic year starts according to Round Hill Capital’s head of student Brian Welsh.

“In 15 years in the sector it is probably the most intense period I’ve experienced as we had to rethink everything that we did to make residences safe for people to live in and for our staff to operate,” Welsh said. Procedures around touch points, hygiene, social distancing and protecting staff were examined along with what to do if a covid case occurred in a residence.

However, investors and banks saw through the issue regarding it as a profit-and-loss and short-term cash issue and the underlying investments have remained resilient.

Bookings for autumn 2021 are broadly in line with a more normal more stable year. There is a question-mark against international students, however.

“But international students tend to apply later in the cycle anyway so we feel reasonable conviction around strong occupancy for september 2021.”

Click on the video above to watch the full interview or listen to the podcast below.