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Asian tiger hones in on student accommodation in Liverpool

March 26, 2012Article by Ray Withers

As mentioned in Chancellor George Osborne’s speech last week, Chinese investment is currently pouring into Liverpool. Earlier in the year, Osborne explained that the Government is committed to vigorously encouraging the Chinese to invest in the Liverpool city area, where there are “exciting opportunities” for the “Asian tiger” to invest and as the best asset class around, what better than student accommodation?

Ray Withers, Chief Executive of leading property investment agency, Property Frontiers which has successfully marketed nine student accommodation projects in the North West city of Liverpool, comments,

“While Chinese investor interest is currently growing in major regeneration projects in the North West of England such as the Liverpool and Wirral Waters projects, the Liverpool student accommodation sector is attracting particular interest due to its affordable price point and double digit returns.

“At present, Chinese students make up the largest overseas student group in the UK, contributing around £2 billion to the economy. Indeed, British universities are aiming to bring student numbers up to around 900,000 over the next 15 years; a quarter coming from China’s growing middle classes with the hope of generating £11 billion a year in revenue. And, with education being of high importance in Chinese culture and with Britain hosting some of the world’s best universities, Chinese investors are starting to make their mark.”

To further highlight the value the Chinese place on a British education, a Hong Kong businessman made a £20 million donation to King’s College London last week, in the latest wave of contributions by Chinese philanthropists to UK universities.

Withers further explains,

“It is clear that the Chinese place great value on our education system. With the government actively promoting the Liverpool region to China it is only a matter of time before the Chinese make the lucrative link between Liverpool and the student accommodation sector. Liverpool is home to three top universities and with the constant revamp in the city with planned improvements at St John’s shopping centre as well as the recent launch of the £30 million ‘Chrysalis Fund’ to encourage investment in regeneration projects and commercial property across Merseyside, Chinese investors will be flocking in. We have already had interest in our student developments from the Chinese and will be showing a group of investors from Singapore around our Liverpool student projects next month.”

Indeed, Liverpool presents the optimum buy-to-let environment for any investor, reaping significant returns from strong demand. In fact, the Knight Frank Student Property report 2012 identifies that average rents for apartments and en-suite rooms in regions such as Liverpool rose by 4% with total returns of around 10.5% last year.

For global investors looking for the perfect opportunity, new high quality private student housing developments such as The Paper Mill, Liverpool could provide the answer.

As the latest student accommodation development, The Paper Mill offers en-suite student rooms set within a well located refurbished building in central Liverpool from just £48,000.

Comprising 104 en-suite student rooms, The Paper Mill sits within a superior location; situated in the heart of Liverpool, adjacent to Liverpool One shopping centre and offers investors a 10% NET yield assured in year 1.

For more information contact Property Frontiers on +44 1865 202700.


Ray Withers

Ray has over 17 years’ experience in the international property market and bought his own first international property investment back in 2002. Aside from running Property Frontiers, Ray has been involved in residential, hotel, student and commercial property investment and development in both the UK and overseas and co-wrote "Where to Buy Property Abroad - An Investor's Guide". As Founder and Trustee of the Frontiers Foundation, Ray is directly involved with many of its projects to ensure they have a direct and tangible impact in individual communities across the globe. He is passionate about property, travelling, scouting out new opportunities and finding time to spend with his young family.
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