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Tuesday 30 September 2014

€250m to be spent on student housing by 2019

Published 27/06/2014 | 02:30

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The new Montrose development for UCD students
The new Montrose development for UCD students

UP to a quarter of a billion euro is likely to pumped into constructing student accommodation in Ireland over the next five years, as overseas and domestic developers look to build centres for undergraduates.

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Experts at real estate firm Knight Frank believe foreign and Irish investors will spend as much as €250m on student-focused property here between now and 2019 as they seek to take advantage of an underdeveloped market.

The cash will mainly flow into Dublin.

The capital is home to just over 80,000 full-time students in higher education, but there are fewer than 3,000 purpose-built student bed spaces in the city.

There has traditionally been little purpose-built student accommodation in Ireland outside of on-campus apartments. Instead, students have usually shared houses near universities.

However, surging rents and house prices, especially in Dublin, mean some landlords are less willing to accept students when they believe they can extract higher rents from professionals.

That change, combined with government efforts to make the country more attractive to overseas students, means there is now a huge demand for student living quarters.

Knight Frank estimates there is a 90pc shortfall in Dublin alone, with the number of student beds likely to double to more than 5,000 over the next five years.

Sam Ball, senior surveyor with Knight Frank's student housing team, told 'Estates Gazette' there had been "no new significant schemes in 2013 and 2012".

"With the British student accommodation market maturing, investors are increasingly looking to expand into the more undeveloped European markets, such as in Dublin," he said.

Dublin is already seeing the first wave of new investment. British firm Knightsbridge is planning a €40m, 500-bed project in the Liberties area, designed by O'Mahony Pike Architects.

Ziggurat is spending close to €10m redeveloping the former Montrose Hotel beside UCD into a student accommodation centre with more than 250 beds.

British firm Alumno Developments, which specialises in student space, said the Government's commitment to education has made Dublin more attractive and that it would now consider sites here.

Irish Independent

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