Home to over 63,000 students and growing, Sheffield poses an exceptional city for investors of student property, attracting those striving for higher education to the double university city of the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University. Interestingly, there has been a 30{32a70e766e49c95f504e78d863f700cc0bc860776959e311316a05ffc4828dc8} increase in the number of overseas students to the two universities in the last 5 years.

This rise in demand is outweighing the current low stock of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) across the city, meaning a young population searching for attractive new build places to live whilst studying. Students are particularly attracted to amenities on their doorstep such as food stores, shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, all in very close proximity.

The Statistics of Sheffield’s Student Market


A huge seven out of ten students in Sheffield have admitted that they have not been able to secure university provided accommodation, with this figure set to increase further as the student population grows. To put this into perspective, the international student population has been predicted to grow by 15-20{32a70e766e49c95f504e78d863f700cc0bc860776959e311316a05ffc4828dc8} over the next five years, meaning up to 12,000 more students becoming enrolled across the two Sheffield universities.

Due to this lack of PBSA, in 2017, around half of the student population are living in unsatisfactory HMO (house of multiple occupancy) property in areas such as Broomhall, Crookes and Walkley, all situated in the west of Sheffield city centre and positioned a significant distance from amenities and a longer walk to both universities. However, the demand lies in city centre living from students, following the trend seen across much of the UK’s major cities.

The traditional path that students took was securing halls of residence in their first year of study, followed by shared housing in the form of an HMO property in the second and third years. This can also extend further into fourth year, if students undertake a placement year or start a post-graduate master’s degree. This traditional process however is quickly becoming outdated, with HMOs in areas such as Broomhill, Crookes and Walkley no longer offering students the facilities and convenience they are looking for, whilst often being run-down and poor quality.

Gaining the right type of accommodation in which a student feels happy and comfortable living in makes up a huge part of their university life and adds a great amount of reassurance to students, particularly those arriving from overseas, potentially for their first time in the UK. New build purpose-built student accommodation offers high specification living with the ease of having all bills included in the student’s tenancy, eliminating any disagreements amongst ‘housemates’ or strangers as some students may regard them, in terms of settling utility bills and household chores.

Sheffield City Centre Map


Studio apartments have therefore become the type in highest demand across the UK and particularly Sheffield, having an en-suite bathroom, personal kitchen area for cooking, dining area for two and sofa for guests, alongside a double bed, large desk and sufficient under bed and wardrobe storage. Studios are the new and innovative apartment type, offering the ability to have your own living space, coupled with the space and facilities to host guests to your studio apartment without negotiating ‘flatmates’. To investors, the popularity of studio apartments provide the ability to achieve higher yield returns.

Overall, students are changing Sheffield city centre for the better, with investment reviving old buildings or derelict land in terms of attractions such as bars, restaurants, cinemas and gyms and leisure centres, deliberately targeting students through discounts and incentives. City centre living takes the priority with students and their families willing to pay more for the ease, high specification and personal reassurance to provide a memorable and positive university experience.

With a rising student population attracted to the city, Sheffield is experiencing significant investment, with a demand for student accommodation close to local amenities in the city centre.