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'. Print Edition | Subscribe