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New visa rules for foreigners 'not damaging student housing market'

unite foreign student visas

Unite Students is poised to report rental income growth of at least 6% due to sustained demand, despite new visa rules affecting international students.

The UK’s leading student accommodation owner is bullish about the continued strength of the student accommodation market and says 86% of rooms for the 2024/25 academic year are already taken - slightly below the record 90% reservation rates last year.

It reports that demand from international students remains robust despite recent changes to UK visa rules which mean they can no longer bring their dependant partner or children to the UK, unless they are enrolled in a PhD or postgraduate research programme. International direct-lets for 2024/25 currently account for 13% of rooms, broadly in-line with the 15% let at the same stage last year.


Unite Students provides homes to 70,000 students across 157 properties and has recently received planning approval for 1,450 new beds in London and Bristol. It also plans to demolish existing buildings at Castle Leazes in Newcastle and build a 2,000-bed development.

The firm is tracking further opportunities for development, university partnerships and acquisitions in London and strong regional markets at attractive returns and expects to add to its pipeline in the first half of this year.

Student demand is strong for the 2024/25 sales cycle, according to CEO Joe Lister, (main picture, inset) reflecting the continued appeal of its fixed-priced, all-inclusive offer and a growing shortage of high-quality student homes.

He adds: “We continue to progress the delivery of our record £1.3 billion development pipeline, securing planning approvals on two schemes in London and Bristol. These projects will deliver much needed new student homes in two of the UK's strongest university cities.”

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Student landlords
Student accommodation
International students