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Student property sector 'resilient'.

Byline: Tony McDonough

LIVERPOOL'S student accommodation market remains "robust", according to a new report.

In its third-quarter student accommodation report, CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) says it remains optimistic for the prospects of the market across the UK.

However, it adds that government austerity measures may have an impact.

Investments in student property have out-performed other property sectors over the last five years, the report claims.

It added: "The student accommodation sector has proven resilient during the recession years, although the post-election age of austerity is likely to create some challenges.

"The ongoing uncertainty, along with more restrictive planning regimes in some cities, may potentially affect the development pipeline, although the volume of students in the key university towns in the North West, including Liverpool, Manchester, Preston and Lancaster, remains robust.

"As such, solid opportunities remain where there is a clear demand and supply imbalance." The report states that overall supply of good quality stock has remained largely muted in the North West over the last two years, with relative inactivity due to the economic environment and high land prices.

However, it says developers are once again seeking opportunities, particularly in areas considered low-risk where the supply and demand mismatch is considered to be overt.

"Demand from investors has also been restricted, particularly in cases where there is no arrangement with a university and therefore no rental security," the report said.

"Variety remains a key factor going forward. The provision of a range of accommodation within a single scheme is generally considered to help reduce investment risk by ensuring higher occupancy."

Nick Mullins, director of valuation advisory and investment consulting at CBRE North West, said: "The opportunity to develop new accommodation in the North West is now certainly trickier.

"With pressure on the universities to manage costs but with a continued need to improve existing accommodation to help maintain student numbers, there must be a role for the private sector to play in helping to deliver modern, highquality accommodation."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 22, 2010
Words:328
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