UAE students return to London universities and drive local property market

Universities in British capital have had particularly high demand from international students

The Canary Wharf financial district in London. Reuters
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More than half a million students have been placed into universities or colleges in the UK, representing an increase of 1.4 per cent on the same period in pre-pandemic 2019, global property consultancy Knight Frank says.

Universities and Colleges Admissions Service figures show non-EU students total 51,300 — 10.2 per cent of all new students in the academic year of 2022-2023.

This represents a 9.5 per cent increase from the last academic year.

Placed applicants from China, Singapore and the UAE recorded strong growth of 23 per cent, 19 per cent and 7 per cent respectively, compared to last year.

Knight Frank found that placed applicants from outside the EU have reached a 10-year record high.

Universities in London have had particularly high levels of demand from international students.

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Applications from overseas students have grown by 44 per cent since 2016-2017, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

More than 140,000 international students now live in the city, representing 38 per cent of the total student population.

As the international student population returns in force after the pandemic, convenient homes with easy access to universities and a good study-life balance are hugely popular, says Knight Frank.

It says nearly a quarter of the demand from Chinese buyers comes from the student population.

East, North and West London continue to lead as the top destinations for international buyers looking to purchase a property to live in during their studies," said Seb Warner, head of London international project sales at Knight Frank.

"Canary Wharf, with its 15-minute city appeal, is seeing huge demand from international students both from a sales and rental perspective.

"Capella in King’s Cross and The Verdean in Acton are two notable international student hotspots, benefitting from close travel connections.

"Newly opened Crossrail makes the latest phase of Verdean, launched two weeks ago, only a stop away from two of London’s top universities — Imperial College and University of Arts.’’

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The growth in demand from international students is due to the high quality and diverse offering that London’s 40 institutions provide, the lifestyle the city offers and the thriving graduate jobs market, the company said.

Graduate retention in the city is estimated at 67 per cent, according to the latest Student Accommodation Survey by Knight Frank and the Ucas.

Updated: October 25, 2022, 6:09 AM