SPH reports robust bookings for student dorms in UK

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) yesterday reported robust bookings for its purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) properties in the United Kingdom for the next academic year.

Bookings to date for the 2020/2021 academic year (AY20/21) are around 60 per cent, which is higher than this time last year for AY19/20, said the media and property group, which publishes The Straits Times and The Business Times.

Moreover, 65 per cent of the target revenue for AY20/21 has been achieved as a result of better-than-expected rental growth compared with last year.

SPH said the reduction in revenue from offering students the option of refunds if they left their tenancies early amid the Covid-19 crisis was about £4.5 million (S$8 million). This was at the lower end of the £4 million to £8 million range previously expected. Of the £4.5 million, over 20 per cent is in credits to students planning to return to their housing for AY20/21.

Also, the Covid-19 disruption may see more students enrolling in higher education to improve their job prospects amid heightened economic uncertainty.

"We remain positive on the long-term fundamentals of the UK student accommodation sector," said Mr David Mathewson, director at Straits Capitol - the SPH subsidiary managing the PBSA assets.

SPH has 25 assets under the brand's Student Castle and Capitol Students across 15 UK cities.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 22, 2020, with the headline 'SPH reports robust bookings for student dorms in UK'. Subscribe