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The Student Market Across The Pond

Rental returns can be much higher at college campuses in the US.

Some property investors are now buying units in college towns in the US that offer low voids and high yields. In this article we will look at some of the student markets that offer some of the best rental returns.

First, in its 'Spotlight World Student Housing 2014' report, Savills gives the following overview of the US student property market and how it has changed in recent years: 'The US has led the way in the private, purpose-built, student housing market since its emergence in the early 1990s. The expansion of the private student accommodation sector has seen an increase in higher-quality, single student rooms in purpose-built residences, both on and off campus. Although targeted at all students, these schemes rent at a price premium to their earlier university-provided counterparts. The premium is justified by higher quality accommodation and a wide range of amenities that can include fitness centres, games rooms and 'resort style' swimming pools.

'(In the US) 12% of students live in college housing or other purpose built accommodation, according to the American Community Survey. Of the remainder, 25% live in other private accommodation (rented houses of multiple occupation, for example), and 63% live with parents or relatives. The latter reflects the high propensity for the domestic student to study at a 'home' university.'

However, while only 25% of students rent privately, there are 21m higher education students in the US, according to a report earlier this year by University World News. The report also estimated that 900,000 of those students are foreign, up from less than 600,000 a decade ago, so there is a large private rental market of more than 5m students to let to in the US.

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