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What Will Happen to Student Accommodation

The post pandemic opening of the lettings market hasn’t shown to be too promising as people were expecting. Knight Frank recorded a 0.9% drop in the prime central London rental market in the past month alone.  

As supply remains constant, and demand is falling short compared to previous years, it seems that student demand has a big implication on the lettings market in the current timeframe. 


The pandemic and its impact

Normally, as universities and colleges start in September, the lettings market sees its sharpest increase in demand for the year, but as most universities have announced a transition to online education, students might be looking to postpone their moving plans until the second university term in January. 

We spoke to Ben at Citian Wharf, who told us that he had seen a decrease in demand from September of last year, but the amount of inquiries for January had been much more than those of 2019. 

Despite not knowing what will happen in September, UCAS published some data last month regarding undergraduate applicants for the forthcoming 2020/21 year.

The data showed a 2% increase in applicants overall including a 10% increase in applicants from Non-EU countries


  • Non-EU applicants are the highest they have ever been
  • 89,000 applicants this year, 58% increase in ten years
  • Chinese applicants made up nearly 25,000 of those
  • Indian applicants made up 7,600.

Are students changing where they want to live?

Citian Wharf saw that graduate students are reorienting towards university halls instead of private accommodation, due to the fact that it is more budget friendly, and that roommates aren’t all back meaning they’re looking more for one bed studios instead of flat shares.

Local students, ie UK nationals seem to be choosing to stay home for the time being, as university life takes a virtual turn. The economic uncertainty is also a factor that plays into this, as it is much easier to stay home in order to save money. 

International students don’t see things that way though. With applications still rolling in, the international community of students still value London as a hub of education, and hence will still need accommodation. 


Appetite from overseas students remains

As the student lettings market takes a sharp turn due to all the unforeseen circumstances, it seems the best thing to do is to reorient your efforts towards where the demand is. 

In this case, it means captivating demand from the east, where it is the most constant and reliable. 

At XChange, we’ve seen an inflow of students that are moving from Asia and will be moving in the end of September, and a larger influx by the start of the new year in January. 

Our expertise in the London market as well as our strong ties with the east has put us in a good position facing this student accommodation problem, and here’s how you can profit from it too. 

Find us in London

868 Salisbury House

London Wall, London 


United Kingdom

020 8064 1431