8 Amenities Every PBSA Should Offer
For many young adults, the experience of being a student is one that is treasured. It’s an exciting time for domestic students when they enter the next phase of education at a university campus. The journey towards preparing for a future career and gaining independence sets the course for an exciting journey where students can pursue paths they have always aspired to follow.
At the centre of it all is the student accommodation experience. Forging friendships in common rooms, having a laugh in kitchens, or enjoying time outside in BBQ areas on terraces all add to the joy of the student experience.
As property developers or PBSA investors, we know all too well how bespoke accommodation can transform every moment of student living – and that living areas have become more than just a means to an end for students.
Whereas they have likely studied from home previously or attended boarding school, they now can look forward to more student accommodation options that provide residential freedom.
Over and above proximity to universities and local authorities, students can choose on-campus accommodation, university halls, or even flats near their tertiary institutions.
Purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) demand however continues to grow year on year, with new PBSA stock not being able to keep up with the excess demand.
What are PBSA properties, and how popular are they in the UK?
The demand for PBSA stock has arisen from the abundance of on-site amenities catering to students’ practical and recreational needs.
Simply put, these spaces have been exclusively created for students by private property developers.
PBSA properties can be divided into two categories: cluster flats (also called self-contained studios) that feature shared living spaces and private kitchens, and residences with en-suite bedrooms with shared amenities such as kitchens, dining rooms and communal living rooms.
They are conveniently located close to universities in main cities and provide easy access to tertiary institutions in university towns.
In the UK, purpose-built student accommodation has undoubtedly seen significant investment in the past few years, with the market valued at about £85.8 billion in 2023. Also, around 30% of full-time UK students resided in PBSA accommodation, adding some relief to the already constrained supply of student accommodation.
This investment in the PBSA market is set to continue its strong rental growth, with PBSA attracting both local UK university students and international students.
The increasing demand for accommodation during the UK academic year keeps growing, and PBSA development options remain attractive in the educational landscape.
Why are amenities necessary for purpose-built student accommodation?
The PBSA sector is dedicated to providing bespoke student living options.
Private developers know that these purpose-built student accommodation properties are defined not only by their convenience and proximity to universities but also by the amenities they offer.
This truly sets these spaces apart by providing custom experiences for high-end student housing.
PBSA amenities are now not just a given but are expected as part of luxury student accommodation. This is why premium facilities are of the utmost importance in your development plan.
Below, we’ll discuss some of the most important purpose-built student accommodation amenities.
8 Top PBSA amenities for student housing
1. Spacious private bedrooms
PBSA accommodation often provides more extensive private room options, which can be ideal when students need personal study time after socialising or want to relax in their own space.
Additionally, developments with en-suite bathrooms can provide most students with an extra layer of comfort and privacy, which can be extra appealing when you prefer your own space to the many shared spaces.
Some student bedrooms in PBSA developments feature beautifully crafted study areas, allowing students to focus on essential tasks and projects when needed.
Having these personal spaces available can immensely add to student satisfaction, which enhances the benefits of PBSA living.
2. Social spaces
Communal spaces in purpose-built student accommodation facilitate essential friendships and assist with the transition to higher education.
The common areas in purpose-built student accommodation units often feature more spacious lounges and games rooms. These additions are popular within PBSA developments, where students can socialise and enjoy each other’s company.
Some private PBSA Developers also consider additions such as cinema rooms, which can add extra luxury and enjoyment for students within their residences.
Adding social spaces such as the above can create a more desirable residence for students, making the development more sought after than those without such amenities.
3. Fitness areas
A growing and now essential element of PBSA for private developers is the creation of fitness areas for students.
Some students may prefer not to use public gym facilities for various reasons.
Purpose-built Student accommodation (PBSA) developments can provide them with alternative ways to maintain their fitness and overall well-being. These developments can offer access to gym spaces and areas for yoga and meditation, allowing students to focus on their health in a safe and convenient environment.
Some PBSA developments may even have attached leisure facilities such as swimming pools, further enhancing the residents’ experience.
Having these fitness areas can also assist with overall student well-being and help students deal with the demands of daily life.
4. Laundry facilities
Most PBSA developments now feature on-site washing machines and dryer rooms.
These are usually top-of-the-range equipment that is newly installed and often serviced, and can cope with the demand of large number of residents within the new development.
These facilities offer additional convenience to students, allowing them to take care of household tasks within the comfort of their own living space.
5. On-site security
On-site security with PBSA developments provides peace of mind not only for students but also for their parents.
This facility includes highly trained security guards and security cameras, providing an additional layer of safety to university students.
With on-site security, students can feel confident in their living areas, knowing that their safety needs are being taken care of.
In summary, student accommodations built for the purpose of accommodating students provide a much safer environment for them to grow and thrive in.
6. Eco-friendly additions
Sustainable living is becoming a more important feature to consider across student accommodation.
Many young adults prioritise a “greener” lifestyle and might prefer their accommodation to reflect their preferences.
This is where incorporating eco-friendly features into a PBSA development can significantly enhance student living experiences.
Items such as energy-saving light bulbs, solar panels that generate off-the-grid energy, and recycling facilities can help students in PBSA accommodations live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
7. Access to essential technology
Providing reliable and high-speed internet access in student residences can ensure that students have the necessary tools to complete their academic tasks.
In our modern digital world, this amenity is more a presumed inclusion as opposed to a luxury and is a critical factor for any design looking to build a top-class PBSA development.
Students need to be connected, and when they have the suitable facilities for leisure and academic purposes, their living arrangements become even more rewarding.
8. Professional Facilities Management
Getting in touch with a landlord to solve plumbing issues or any electrical faults can add additional costs and strain to a student’s already stressful lifestyle.
Many PBSA developments offer facilities management services with a dedicated point of contact to report and resolve issues.
Sometimes, these management teams can perform frequent and unobtrusive inspections to ensure that pressing issues are dealt with promptly, without compromising the comfort of the students.
How amenities impact student experiences
Having on-site conveniences such as the above can significantly benefit students within a PBSA development.
Living in these types of residences can be very beneficial for young residents, having access to their own kitchen to cook in, attached leisure facilities like gyms and swimming pools, and socialising with other students in areas such as games rooms. These facilities can help them thrive and reach their potential.
Facilities can undoubtedly play a vital part in students’ academic achievements too.
Having a convenient home base can help students focus on their studies and be better prepared for their educational challenges ahead.
Furthermore, PBSA amenities can significantly influence student accommodation choices.
Those properties that provide appealing facilities will make them prime decisions when it comes to choosing between on-campus accommodation or more rentals in the private sector.
The quality of amenities is a key factor in attracting both local and international students to your student housing.
How private developers are improving the UK student housing experience with PBSA amenities
The rising student demand for accommodation options in the UK necessitates continued innovation across the PBSA sector. Private developers and PBSA investors alike can address the shortage of student housing by creating high-end living spaces that cater to student needs.
Whether you are designing private studios or cluster flats, incorporating some of the amenities mentioned can help create a safe and secure environment that offers a perfect blend of functionality and entertainment. This will give both students and their parents peace of mind during their stay.
Why choose PBSA and its amenities
The demand for purpose-built student accommodation in the UK continues to reach record levels.
Student-tailored amenities have made PBSA developments more appealing than other rental options, especially for first-year students and international students who are living away from home for the first time.
As student numbers increase, the PBSA sector remains an essential business for investors, especially considering the variety of unique amenities that purpose-built student accommodation offers.
The combination of social spaces, security, and overall camaraderie make PBSA developments appealing settings private developers and international investors cannot ignore.
Based on the solid investment that the Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) sector received in 2023, new PBSA stocks certainly have growth potential, especially as they are more likely to comply with all legal building requirements.
And, with the added appeal of contemporary amenities, PBSA can undoubtedly continue to enhance student accommodation options.
Private developers of Purpose-Built Student Accommodation should consider the challenges students face in finding suitable housing and create customised developments with amenities that enhance student living.
With millions of students attending higher education institutions in the UK, private PBSA providers play a vital role in ensuring that those with residences not linked to on-campus accommodation, get the best possible solutions.