Make no bones about it, we are in the midst of a student housing crisis.
The undersupply of accommodation has been building for many years and has reached a critical juncture.
There is a shortfall of more than 283,000 beds in 2023 and new analysis predicts a deficit of 620,000 student beds by 2026.
Student accommodation is squeezed, and not just in London, Manchester, Bristol and Glasgow.
Few cities and towns seem to escape the evolving crisis.
The UK attracts a plethora of students from around the world and the population of young British people reaching university age is set to rocket in the coming years.
Take stock-squeezed Durham University, one of our many key regional institutions offering world class higher education.
Three-bed listings are down by 41.8 per cent while four-beds are 32.4 per cent down, according to Savills.
The UK average of 2.9 students for every bed isn’t the case in London. There are 3.8 students for every bed in the capital. Alarming doesn’t cut it.
Rents are also rising, and in some parts of the country outstripping students’ maintenance loans.
Young people deserve better
While there is no magic wand to ease the escalating crisis, there is more that can be done to begin levelling up supply with demand.
Coventry is a strong case. According to StuRents, the university city received an admissions boom a few years ago which led to a surge in property development. Between 2017 and 2023 bed demand grew by almost 8,000 while supply rocketed to more than 14,500.
This has given students studying in Coventry the excitement they deserve as A-Levels wrap-up and preparation for university life beds in.
At Housemates, we want to see and feel this more.
Building more purpose-built student accommodation in high priority areas is going to be key as the battle with rising construction costs and financing goes on.
But other issues connected with undersupply can be progressed and solved in the interim.
Housemates was founded with one simple mission. Help students and accommodation providers to transact without long wait times and high costs.
For over a decade traditional people powered platforms have increased costs in the sector, charging 3.5 to 11 per cent for student introductions.
Those costs have been caused by non-technical businesses with large sales teams that convert less than 10 per cent of leads.
Lowering costs in the student accommodation supply chain
Businesses don’t need or want numerous expensive acquisition channels, particularly when demand outweighs supply.
A low cost reliable partner that has access to funnels and demographics others don’t is what they need and want.
Two months ago we launched Housemates Connect API, a product that is revolutionising the student solutions sector and enabling students to book accommodation in advance.
We are now powering some of the world’s fastest growing student admissions and travel platforms.
Housemates charge 20 per cent of the first month's rent, with an annual contract working out at 1.67 per cent for a full integrated sale.
All this, while increasing exposure and conversion for all student accommodation providers within its network.
Whether you’re a new to market accommodation provider or established multinational chain, every healthy business wants to save money.
Our business model works with Airbnb Management, PBSA, HMO Management and Co-Living - acting as a low cost, scalable way for providers to fill occupancy.
To ease the student crisis and give students what they want - excitement about attending and being at university - different facets of the sector must come together.
With a decade’s worth of growth in the university-aged population projected the time to act is now.