Buying PBSA (Purpose Built Student Accommodation): A Guide

What Exactly is PBSA?

PBSA is short for purpose-built student accommodation. As the name suggests it is residential accommodation that is specially built for occupation by students.

PBSA is a relatively new property asset class. Traditionally students going to university would live either in university-owned halls or student house shares. In recent years private developers and investors have entered this market by building and running student accommodation.

PBSA is usually provided in modern apartment blocks of cluster flats or study bedrooms with ensuite facilities. These are sometimes known as student pods. PBSA blocks often have communal amenities such as residents’ lounges, gyms, cinemas and media rooms. PBSA rooms usually include all amenities and utilities in the rent.

PBSA is only found in cities and towns which have universities. It tends to be focused around the UK’s largest student towns and cities. Cities like London, Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield have seen extensive PBSA development.

Knight Frank says that there has been a record investment into the UK student market of late, despite economic uncertainty. They say that in the first three quarters of 2022, almost £3.1 billion was invested in UK PBSA.

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