Two students in bed

Ranked: The university cities where it’s going to be hardest to secure a bed

According to new research, London has a shortage of over 106,000 student beds


The university housing crisis is real. We’ve had students being sent to halls an hour away from their university cities, students living in common rooms, students given temporary accommodation in hotels, insane competition for private houses and mass pest problems.

There just aren’t enough beds available in university cities for the rising number of students that universities keep letting in. According to new research by Real Estate Company CBRE, more than 350,000 new purpose-built student beds are needed to meet the demand for expected students.

The research looks at the number of students who need a bed in the city, versus the number of beds available across uni-owned halls, private accommodation (like second-year houses and private flats and halls) plus planned new development in each uni city. And honestly, the stats are depressing.

So, as the issue only seems to be getting worse, here is a ranking of the university cities with the fewest amount of beds available to students.

27. Portsmouth

The city with the most amount of beds available is Portsmouth where there are currently 7,868 beds available to students. But research suggests that there is a demand of 11,500. This leaves a gap of 3,632 beds. This is the lowest of all UK uni cities.

26. Bath

In Bath, there is a predicted demand for 17,050 student beds across the city. But adding up university owned, private and planned accommodation only leaves 8,670 beds available to students. There is therefore only half the current demand in Bath with a supply gap of 8,380.

25. Sheffield

In Sheffield, there are 37,870 beds needed for students. But there are only 33,199 currently available and being developed. So, this means there could be a shortage of 4,671 beds across Sheffield.

24. Cambridge

In Cambridge, there are 24,470 students needing beds. But there are only 19,484 beds open and being made open to students. Therefore, there could be a gap of 4,986 without beds in Cambridge.

23. Lancaster

There are 9,416 beds in Lancaster for students. But research suggests there is a current need for 14,540. This leaves a gap of 5,124 students that may be needing accommodation.

22. Loughborough

There are 9,416 beds in Lancaster for students. But research suggests there is a current need for 14,540. This leaves a gap of 5,124 students that may be needing accommodation.

22. Loughborough

In the city of Plymouth, there are currently 7,322 available student beds. But research suggests that there is a demand for 12,930. This leaves a gap of over 5,608 students possibly without beds.

20. York

In York there is a calculated need for 18,970 beds for students across the city. However, there are currently only 13,078 beds on offer to students. Therefore there is a supply gap of 5,892 students that could be without accommodation.

19. Oxford

The city of Oxford currently has 24,105 beds available for students. But there is an expected demand of 30,020 in Oxford. This leaves a gap of 5,915 beds and means there could be this many students without accommodation in Oxford.

18. Exeter

In Exeter, there are currently 13,546 beds offered for students. But CBRE calculated that Exeter needs 20,070. This leaves an accommodation shortage of of 6,524 beds.

17. Coventry

In Coventry, there are 29,523 beds currently available and being made available to students across the university-owned and private sector. But CBRE predicted that there is a demand of 36,200. This leaves a gap of 6,677 needed beds in Coventry.

16. Durham

Across County Durham, there are 11,915 beds available to students. But currently, there is a predicted need for 18,640 beds. This leaves a shortage of 6,725 beds for students.

15. Canterbury

Across the city of Canterbury, there are 10,805 beds available to students. But CBRE predicted that there is a need for 17,830. This suggests there is a current gap of 7,025 beds in Canterbury.

14. Bournemouth

There is an expected demand for 14,630 beds across Bournemouth for students. But looking at current available accommodation, there are only 7,028 beds on offer. This means there is a bigger supply gap (7,602) than there are beds currently available in the city.

13. Southampton

Southampton is up next with a demand of 23,210 beds. But of these, only 14,596 are available to students. This means 8,614 students in Southampton could be without accommodation.

12. Liverpool

There are an expected 39,860 students needing beds in Liverpool. But only 30,814 are actually available. This could leave 9,046 students without beds according to CBRE.

11. Brighton

Brighton has a demand for 22,320 beds for students across the city. But currently, there are only 12,684 beds for students in Brighton. This leaves a need for 9,363 extra beds.

10. Birmingham

Birmingham has a need for 43,570 beds for students across the city. But between private, uni-owned and planned accommodation, there are only currently 31,376 available to students. Just below Leeds, this could leave an expected 12,194 students without a place to stay in Birmingham.

9. Leeds

In Leeds, there is a demand for 48,690 beds across the city. But there is only currently 36,417 available. This means Leeds has a supply gap of 12, 219. Although, Leeds does have one of the highest amount of accommodation currently being planned and developed.

8. Cardiff

There are an expected 31,740 students needing beds across the city of Cardiff. But CBRE has calculated that there are only 18,639 beds available. This means that there is a supply gap of 13,101 student beds.

7. Glasgow

Next up is Glasgow which has a demand for 37,220 student beds with only 22,787 actually available. This means 14,433 Glasgow students could be without beds for the upcoming year.

6. Newcastle

Newcastle needs an expected 36,570 student beds across the city. But it currently only has 21,980 available. So, this means there could be a shortage of 14,590 student beds across the city.

5. Bristol

In Bristol, there is a demand for 39,990 beds for university students. But it has been calculated that there are only 23,350 actually available. This leaves a shortage of 16,640 for Bristol students.

4. Nottingham

The City of Nottingham has a demand for 57,550 beds but only 37,551 actually available to students. This includes consented and planned development in the city. This leaves an expected 19,999 Notts students without accommodation.

3. Edinburgh

This issue is also prevalent across Scotland. In Edinburgh, there is a need for 41,230 student beds across the city. But CBRE calculated that there are only 24,530 available. This leaves a gap of 16,700 between required and available beds.

2. Manchester

According to CBRE, Manchester is the uni city where it is second hardest to find a bed. Only 4,475 new beds have been available to students since 2018. But the need for purpose-built student accommodation has grown by 8,100 students in that time.

The total demand for student accommodation in Manchester is 56,220. But the total number of beds available is 33,034. So according to the research, 23,186 students could be without accommodation.

1. London

Universities in London have the least amount of accommodation available to students and the biggest gap between supply and demand of beds. In Greater London alone, there is a gap of 106,000 beds. This is equivalent of half of the total expected demand meaning that half of London based students could be without accommodation. This number has also grown by 45 per cent since 2017/18.

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