Knight Knox International, the market-leading student accommodation specialist in the UK has launched its latest project, Dunfields, in the city of Sheffield. Recent reports show the city as being ripe for investment in student accommodation.
Sheffield has a student population of more than 60,000 and is prime destination for both undergraduate and postgraduate applicants. The University of Sheffield recently commissioned a study of approximately 8,000 overseas students, and found these foreign students were worth £125 million annually to the local economy. The figures are something of a boon to private student accommodation developers who are looking to build residences that are of a much higher quality than those provided by the universities. Knight Knox international is based in Manchester, but is choosing to focus its attention on Sheffield due to the shortage of private, high-quality accommodation for students. Its latest student development is in the trendy Kelham Island district and has been identified as a prime investment opportunity. The development was designed by award-winning architects, Coda Studios.
During the past 12 to 18 months the company has experienced major successes in the student property market, with a number of sellout developments contributing to the exclusive status it enjoys with its partner developers. The company recently launched Minerva House, a 151 room student development in Nottingham and just one month on 75% of units have already been sold to investors. Another recent development, Bard House, took just three months to sell out. This made it the fastest selling property marketed to date.
Martin Copeland, sales director at Knight Knox international said “As an investment, student accommodation is relatively low risk and provides a strong profit. Occupancy levels continue to be high and most universities are in need of more private accommodation. Average yields for regional cities currently stand at 6-6.5% across the UK, but by choosing to invest with Knight Knox international, investors can expect to receive between 8%-10% assured NET yields for the first year.”
Last year student property delivered 9.6% total returns outstripping every other property sector as a retail returned 2.2% and offices returned a 4.4%. Last year also saw investment in the sector increased by 125% to reach £2.7 billion. Although there were fears that tuition fees would lead to a reduction in applications to UK universities these have proved to be largely unfounded. Latest figures show there are at least 14 applicants for every 10 places and the number of overseas students is growing, accounting for approximately one sixth of the university population. Overseas students have a higher tendency to choose private accommodation, and with five out of the top 20 universities in the world being located in the UK, the influx of foreign students is predicted to continue increasing.
Individual units at Dunfields start from just £44,000 with rental returns of 10% assured for the first year. The development consists of 18 townhouses, each of which will have either four, or five en suite bedrooms and a communal floor containing kitchen, dining and lounge facilities.