Purpose-built student accommodation boosts happiness & grades

SOURCE: Collegiate
Bedroom at St Peter's Hall, a PBSA at Bournemouth University.

By U2B Staff 

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Students in purpose-built student accommodation are not only much happier than their student hall-dwelling counterparts, but they are also 26 percent more likely to achieve top grades, according to a new report from UK-based real estate provider, Octopus Property.

The company took an in-depth look at how students’ accommodation can affect their mental and physical wellbeing, as well as their educational performance. They surveyed over 1,000 students who are currently attending or who have recently left a British university. And the results were surprising.

Those in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) were found to be 15 percent more likely to score top grades (as defined as over 70 percent) than those living at home – a living arrangement often considered a more stable option when studying.

Living area in St Peter’s Hall, a PBSA at Bournemouth University. Source: Collegiate

Students’ physical health also seemed to be significantly affected by their choice of accommodation. Those living in PBSA in their first year of study were almost twice as likely to be “very satisfied” with their physical health than those living in student halls.

“PBSA accounts for under a third of the market, but the sector is growing strongly and offers a huge opportunity for developers,” Gavin Eustace, Head of Residential Development at Octopus Real Estate said in a statement.


“We’re proud to champion this sector, as demand for specialised student accommodation continues to rise. At a time when the job market and financial pressures for students are so high, developers are making a positive impact with PBSA on student academic performance and health.”

As higher education currently battles with a mental health crisis, the report also found students’ in PBSA are generally happier, with 34 percent saying they were “very satisfied” with their mental health in comparison to just 23 percent of those in halls.

Cinema in St Peter’s Hall, a PBSA at Bournemouth University. Source: Collegiate

Octopus Real Estate believes the dramatic difference in grades can be attributed in part to the superior technology available in PBSA. Some four in 10 first-year students living in PBSA rated the technology services as “excellent”, compared to less than a quarter in halls of residence.

Technology access has been clearly linked to educational attainment, with students who achieved top grades being almost twice as likely to prioritise technology when choosing accommodation.

Investment in student accommodation has boomed in recent year, hitting an all-time high in the United States and global investment into student housing totaling US$17.1 billion in 2018, according to a recent report from real estate provider Savills.

The PBSA market is still a thriving one with international students especially making the style their living arrangement of choice. With such clear benefits, it’s hard to imagine the popularity of this accommodation waning any time soon.