The future is bright for the Living Markets

2020 saw residential investment emerging as the leading real estate sector, with Student Accommodation, Purpose Built Rented (PRS)/Built to Rent (BTR) accommodation and Senior Living seeing rapid growth in the UK over the last five years.

The recent Knight Frank Survey suggests that forward investment in the sector is strong. They forecast the combined value of the Student, PRS/BTR and Senior Living sectors to be in excess of £146 billion by 2025.

The Detail:


Student Accommodation is a mature market with over 600,000 beds in operation and rapid expansion in the pipeline. Demand growth has continued to outstrip supply at a national level, driven by the strength of investor demand. The sector has been attractive to global investors for a number of years, with the UK proudly boasting four of the top ten global institutions which continue to attract international students every year. The success of the Student Accommodation market has lent itself to valuable knowledge sharing with more emerging, PRS and Senior Living, due to a number of similarities in these sectors.

On a societal level, the UK population has is a pressing need for quality housing with demand in every major city, whilst the growth in the Senior market is underpinned by an aging population and the heightened profile raise by the pandemic. Both PRS and Senior Living are connected by sense of community created within these types of properties.

There’s a lot of transferable knowledge around construction, operations and marketing in these three sectors. We have seen a significant number of senior professionals who have made career moves into Student Accommodation, PRS/BTR and Senior Living sectors from more traditional property markets, and many organisations look to examples in growing sectors such as Student Accommodation as a good framework for efficient operational cost and development of living communities. This pooling and sharing of knowledge will see these emerging sectors quickly expand.

A recent Knight Frank report suggests that London and Bristol are key investment spots across all three sectors, with Birmingham City providing huge opportunity for Build to Rent.


2021 will see the PRS sector overtaking Student Accommodation slightly in terms of growth, with many providers looking to capture the undergraduate and postgraduate market in a hybrid model targeting students and young professionals moving away from the traditional HMO offering. We will continue to see the value in community living and the importance of offering more than just a building.

Hayley Mintern – Business Sector Director Living Assets

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