Much of the growth in demand has been fuelled by a huge increase in the number of overseas students. Thanks to their reputation of educational excellence, students have been flocking to British universities from around the world. The development of the Chinese middle class has particularly contributed to the increase in numbers with families willing to pay the hefty fees associated with studying abroad.
This new trend means that student demands in the sector are evolving and this as a result has resulted in a greater focus on the student experience, which includes accommodation. The fact that it's often very expensive for overseas students to come and study in the UK means that those that do are more than likely from wealthy families. Not only are they willing to pay the higher tuition fees but they are also more willing to pay for flashier accommodation.
Traditional student accommodation consisting of a basic room and enough space for a bed and a desk simply doesn't cut it in the world of luxury. The new high-end accommodation is much more like a self contained apartment with separate bedroom, study and living areas and en suite facilities. This doesn't just stop in the room though with the majority of developments also featuring luxury additions including swimming pools/sauna & steam rooms, fitness suites with the option to have a personal trainer!
Though still relatively small in number there are more such developments in the pipeline which provides a great opportunity to deliver additional connectivity services to the residents. Most student accommodation is usually provided with a shared wi-fi service, providing a good but fairly basic solution. Thanks to residents who are willing to pay a significant premium, suddenly full fibre to the room solutions complete with a range of smart building and convenience solutions including TV distribution look more viable. Students living in this type of accommodation will benefit from the very fastest connectivity with speeds of 1Gbps and beyond and services befitting such high-end accommodation.
For developers building new apartments it's also a great opportunity to help make a new development stand out by being the best connected and smartest building in town.