Property firm JLL released the prediction in September this year with the headline 'London student population to double by 2025'. Immediately it sounded optimistic. Where would all these extra students live in an already overcrowded/expensive city? And where would all these extra classrooms and teachers come from?
The first line of the JLL report calmly cut the prediction in half like a hot knife through butter. 'London's full-time student population is expected to rise by 50% in the next 10 years' it stated, adding that 'capital flows into student housing is expected to triple reaching £5.7bn by end of 2015.'
OK, despite the rather glaring 'typo', even growth of 50% would mean another 180,000+ students in London by 2025, as there were 366,000 full-time students in London in the 2013/14 academic year, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).
JLL justify the claim by reporting: 'Direct investment in the UK Student Housing market has surged over the past two years, rising from under £500m in 2010 to £3.8bn over the first half of 2015 (£1.5bn in London). Non-EU students have been the fastest growing segment, with numbers increasing by 50% over ten years. A recent study by London First shows that international students bring a net benefit of £2.3bn per annum to London's economy supporting 60,000 jobs in the capital.
'More students are also renting; 28% of London's student population are living in Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs). The provision of university managed accommodation has not kept pace with the growth in student numbers and the increasing quality and quantity of PBSA (Purpose Built Student Accommodation) stock has provided students with a welcome alternative to the rising rental costs of HMOs. Additionally, two of the fastest growing segments of London's student population are overseas and postgraduate students, who have occupied much of the PBSA.'