A dynamic beacon of modern Wales, Cardiff is one of the UK’s fastest-growing cities, offering a growing business community, an active and innovative media sector, world-leading sporting facilities and a vibrant lifestyle that ranks amongst the best in Europe.
Extensive regeneration and development projects in the city have seen both public and private sector money invested in Cardiff, driving the city forward to reach its goals of being one of the world’s best.
Home to a range of exceptional universities, Cardiff has become a hotspot for students, with a student population of more than 43,850 making up 12% of the city’s entire population.
As the city undergoes rapid expansion and considerable investment, Cardiff is attracting more attention than ever before for students from across the UK and the world. Here are just 5 reasons to consider Cardiff and its student accommodation property market as the location for your next property investment:
Image: Cardiff University
1 – Cardiff: The Student City
With four major educational institutions located in the city, higher education is one of Cardiff’s main revenue generators, with an increasing number of students moving to the Welsh capital to complete their studies.
Located in the heart of the city, Cardiff University is a part of the prestigious Russell Group and stands among Britain’s leading teaching and research institutions - ranked 5th for quality of research and 2nd for impact of research in the UK.
The university has seen substantial investment in refurbishment and estate, with recent developments including £14 million Learning and Teaching Centre and a £18 million new Medical Education Centre.
Cardiff Metropolitan University is home to nearly 14,000 students enrolled and has been named the number one institution in the UK for overall international support 6 times since 2007. Divided into five specialist academic schools, offering focused research and study opportunities, the university attracts international students from more than 120 countries around the world.
Producing successful alumni such as Sir Anthony Hopkins, The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama is a renowned institute of the liberal arts. In 2011, it opened a brand new £22.5 million facility offering state-of-the-art rehearsal spaces and gallery for its students.
The University of South Wales has one of its 4 campuses located within the city, with more than 30,000 students enrolled on its courses across Wales. Focused on offering world class education opportunities in the city, the university has invested more than £170m on its Cardiff campus over the course of the past 7 years.
2 – First Class Investment Potential
The reputation of Cardiff as one of the UK’s leading student cities is not only attracting a large student population, but also property investors.
Cardiff places in the first tier of Savills’ Development League Table, where locations across the UK are assessed and then ranked according to their investment potential.
The Welsh capital has been consistently placed within the highest bracket for the last two years, standing alongside other high profile student accommodation locations such as London, Oxford and Manchester.
With almost 44,000 students enrolled in institutions across the city, the popularity of the city amongst students has seen the demand for accommodation grow rapidly, whilst the supply of new purpose built student accommodation has remained slow.
According to Knight Frank, more than two thirds of the student accommodation available in the city is Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs), with less than 10% of student stock being purpose built student accommodation.
With tastes changing, particularly amongst international students, the demand for high quality student apartments is rising, creating a wealth of opportunities within areas such as Cardiff which are currently dominated by the HMO market.
As demand grows for higher quality and a greater quantity of accommodation opportunities across the city, Knight Frank has also found that students in Cardiff are willing to pay rental rates that are up to 56% higher than HMOs, just to ensure that they have the standard of accommodation that they want.
With a shortage in the market, property investors are looking to capitalise on Cardiff’s expanding student population, with unique student accommodation investments in excellent locations.
Image: Cardiff Central Square © Rightacres Property
3 – A European Powerhouse
In addition to becoming one the UK’s student powerhouses, Cardiff has undergone radical transformation over the last 10 years, in line with its ambition to become one of Europe’s most successful cities and a top business, cultural and leisure destination.
The regeneration programmes that have been put into action include world-class venues such as the Millennium Stadium and Millennium Centre, the ultra-modern St. David’s Shopping Centre and Cardiff Bay, now the centre of Welsh politics with the Welsh Parliament building.
The high-quality retail developments and modern urban design that are now part of Cardiff’s skyline are a reflection of the city’s rapid economic growth, with a five-phased masterplan scheduled for completion in 2018 set to reshape Cardiff’s city centre.
The scheme is one of the most ambitious regeneration projects ever seen in Wales. The plans include the construction of what would be the tallest building in Wales, a new transport hub in the city centre and the creation of nearly 1 million sq. ft. of new offices, retail and residential space.
Beginning in September 2013, the Central Square scheme has already completed its first phase of development – a 134,000 sq. ft. multi-storey office building with spectacular views of the city.
Phase 2 of the programme is now under way and will see the construction of a new £120 million headquarters for the BBC. The Central Square development is set to boost the local economy of more than £1.1 billion over the next 10 years with the creation of more than 1,900 full time jobs in the city.
With more opportunities being created within the city, the population is expected to continue to grow, boosted in part by the students graduating from the city’s institutions and capitalising on Cardiff’s new found reputation as one of the UK’s leading cities.
4 – Leading the Way in Wales
The success of Cardiff’s ongoing regeneration and development programmes has resulted in the scope of the city’s plans being broadened to create a new economic powerhouse within Wales.
The formation of the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR), comprised of the city council and 9 other Welsh local authorities, seeks to create opportunities within the economy, infrastructure and transport within the region.
Within the Cardiff Capital Region, home to more than 1.5 million people, there are three different Enterprise Zones, where the Welsh Government is prioritising investment in business infrastructure.
Leaders of Cardiff Capital Region have requested a £1.2 billion City Deal to drive growth across the region. It includes a £580 million contribution of support from the Welsh Government towards improving transport infrastructure in the region.
The City Deal has a target to increase the gross value of the economy in the Cardiff Capital Region by 5%, creating up to 33,000 new jobs and bring an additional £4 billion of private sector investment.
Among the proposed projects that will benefit from the City Deal there is plans for an integrated subway network across the region that will increase connectivity in Wales.
Image: Cardiff Bay
5 – Innovation and Creation
The physical transformation of Cardiff over the last decade has been mirrored by the increasing growth of new creative industries within the city, with Cardiff standing alongside London and Salford as the largest media centres in the UK.
Utilising its new opportunities, the city has styled itself as a hub for creative industries from innovative start-ups to national institutions.
Located throughout the city, BBC Wales is based in Cardiff, where famous television series and international brands, such as Doctor Who and Casualty are produced in state-of-the-art media facilities.
Elsewhere in the city, the Creative Quarter, a development area originally known as the Morgan Arcade Chambers, has recently been transformed into beautifully furnished office spaces - a hub to a range of creative firms. The £3.5m development is already home to a range of creative businesses and with an influx of more creative industries expected in the sector, attracted to Cardiff’s vibrant community and culture of innovation.
As city establishes its credentials as one of the UK’s leading creative cities, its unique opportunities are offering students more reasons than ever before to consider Cardiff as the location for them to study in.
The growth of the student accommodation market in the UK over the last decade has generated exceptional interest from property investors. The student accommodation sector saw a record £6 billion worth of investment in 2015 and with Cardiff’s student population continuing to grow with the city, it is set to become one of the UK’s most desirable locations for property investors looking to capitalise on the city’s popularity.
Looking to invest in a purpose built student accommodation investment, now is an excellent time to capitalise on one of the UK’s most vibrant and sought after cities.
Visit our Cardiff page to view our current projects in the city.