Unite Group attains record earnings on full occupancy levels

  • Unite Group reported adjusted earnings increased by 13% to £184.3m in 2023
  • The Bristol-based company noted rental income expanded by 9% to £369.5m

Unite Group achieved its highest-ever earnings last year, thanks to higher rents and a record occupancy rate across its portfolio.

Britain’s biggest student accommodation provider, which operates around 70,000 beds nationwide, reported adjusted earnings rose by 13 per cent to a record £184.3million in 2023. 

The Bristol-based firm’s rental income expanded by 9 per cent to £369.5million as a student housing shortage, combined with strong demand for university places, helped it score full occupancy rates for the 2023/24 academic year.

Cosy results: Unite Group, which operates around 70,000 beds nationwide, reported adjusted earnings rose by 13 per cent to £184.3million in 2023

Revenue was further bolstered by like-for-like annual rent growth of 7.7 per cent and a greater ownership share of the Unite UK Student Accommodation Fund.

Unite said demand remained solid for the current academic year, with 80 per cent of rooms already sold as many students seek to gain places earlier during the sales cycle. 

The group is propelled by a significant under-supply of student properties unable to meet the spike in domestic and international students attending higher education institutions over the past few decades, as well as a broader housing shortage.  

According to Unite, the supply of new purpose-built student accommodation is 60 per cent below pre-pandemic levels, while multiple-occupancy homes have fallen by 8 per cent, equivalent to between 100,000 and 150,000 fewer beds.

Consequently, the FTSE 100 company anticipates rental income will grow by at least 6 per cent in 2024, having previously guided for a minimum of 5 per cent.

Joe Lister, chief executive of Unite Students, said: ‘The supply-demand imbalance of student accommodation is acute and continues to intensify.

‘We play a leading role in tackling this shortage, easing pressure on the wider housing market and freeing up homes for families.’

Unite has a record £1.3billion pipeline of developments, with a particular focus on building homes across supply-constrained markets and Britain’s top universities.

Last week, it agreed to a £250million joint venture deal with Newcastle University to provide about 2,000 new beds for delivery in 2027 and 2028.

The business also has £569million of schemes in other major UK cities, including London, Bristol, Edinburgh and Nottingham.

Neil Shah, executive director of content at Edison Group, said: ‘As Unite Group continues to enhance its portfolio, invest in technology upgrades, and strengthen its balance sheet, it remains well-equipped to navigate evolving market dynamics and sustain its growth trajectory in the years ahead.’

Unite Group shares were 0.25 per cent lower at £9.84 on late Tuesday afternoon and remain below their pre-pandemic levels.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk