Domestic student demand for rental guarantor services up 12%, reports Housing Hand

It’s been an interesting couple of years for the UK in terms of its international student numbers. The government’s International Education Strategy has a target of hosting 600,000 international students by 2030, despite the current complexities of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit. Hitting the target would mean the industry’s economic impact reaching £35bn annually, making it an attractive aim.

The 2019/20 academic year was certainly a good one for non-EU student numbers, with enrolments shooting up by 59,000 students, taking non-EU total enrolments to 556,625.

So, what does this mean for pressure on student accommodation? UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has been working with both domestic and international students since 2013, helping them to secure accommodation in their university town or city by acting as their guarantor. The market has changed a great deal since then, with a major boom in Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA), although figures from Glenigan show that planning consents for such properties have dropped every year since 2017.

Nor are PBSA homes suited to all students. Many prefer to live in halls, while figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that around 30% of students opt for private rented accommodation.

Affordability is a key concern for many students and especially so for those without a rental guarantor. At a time when many parents and guardians have been furloughed, have lost their jobs or face the prospect of losing their jobs, signing up to guarantee a child’s rent becomes a far more daunting prospect.

This is one of the reasons that Housing Hand has seen such a sharp rise in the number of domestic students using its services. Between November 2019 and November 2020, demand from UK students increased by 12%. While international student numbers dropped over the same period, in line with trends across the sector as a whole, the long-term prospects remain bright.

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