The rise of luxury student accommodation – at a price

An email notification just popped up on my screen from our Directors office. Subject: “Important – Please read”. It was a link to a Tripadvisor rating of a student accommodation and a scandalous, business-harming report on the standards of trading and accommodation offered.

The post was actually written by a new user but just the negativity of the report shone a dark light on the operations of said agency.

There is a plethora of options available to university and language students in terms of living in London – some of which will be as dire as described by the student rating their experience online. Others will be in a different league, as we know from experience.

Private landlords, estate agents, private residences, homestay (accommodation with families), house shares and university halls all have something to offer to suit any budget.

There is however a new deluxe standard of accommodation emerging in London – “luxury student halls”. The rise of this ultra-modern, ultra chic accommodation has caused the cost of studying in London to increase exponentially over the last few years. The introduction of foreign developers, investors and property management companies has allowed the industry to flourish and offer their wares in a competitive market.

I recently went to see a new building in Aldgate that is being built. For a weekly cost of £225.00 a student will get a bed, desk, bathroom and cupboard in an area that is a little bigger than the cells in Alcatraz. Not to say the quality is bad, but the price per square metre is definitely on the increase.

Prices for quality accommodation in London can go from £15,000.00 per year upwards, and with  university fees increasing, students might be facing a cost of over £20,000 per year for their education. Without support from the government to increase jobs and future employment potentials, I do not see many wanting to come out of university with a £60,000.00 debt! Will they end up choosing other UK cities or will the luxury accommodation providers be forced to lower their exorbitant rates? One this is for sure, agencies offering variety rather than single accommodation options will definitely benefit with superstar cross-sellers in their team!

Nikesh Ashar is Groups Coordinator for Britannia Student Services in the UK.