Empiric Student Property, which owns and operates student accommodation, has seen rentals rise despite the impacts of the pandemic on students, while applications from Chinese students have spiked.
Applications for the upcoming academic year show encouraging growth, the company said this morning, as Chinese applications grew by 21 per cent, despite the ongoing tension between China and the UK.
Domestic applications grew a sturdy 11 per cent, while the international market outside of the EU saw a 17 per cent lift in interest.
Shares dipped slightly by 0.34 per cent in the company’s afternoon trading, taking its share price to 87.7p per share.
University students have been dealt a poor hand throughout the pandemic, but despite the no-contact learning and minimal social events, Empiric has enjoyed revenue occupancy of 65 per cent on top of the sturdy application rises.
Whilst lower than in pre-pandemic cycles, the company still has 40 per cent of its current bookings for the academic year ending in 2022.
Empiric also expects sales to be ‘significantly back ended’, the company said, as the easing of restrictions makes student accommodation more appealing to those studying.
The student accommodation provider sold off an asset in Exeter for £11.05m, ahead of its book value in December last year, which bolstered the company’s finances for slightly reduced occupancy.
“The successful vaccination programme, the ongoing lifting of restrictions and the encouraging recent UCAS applications for the 2021/22 academic year, leave us cautiously optimistic about a return to more usual occupancy levels,” CEO Duncan Garrood said.