When the recession (or credit crunch) started to hit families, no one thought that so many businesses would be affected globally, with an important impact on the economy and reducing turnover growth.
The consequence provoked an important change and real chaos for some employers whatever the size.
Employees were made redundant – companies reduced their productivity and eventually entire office blocks closed down. We then saw a lot of “to let” and “for sale” signs blossoming on buildings' facades.
Some developers decided to go forward and transform things around. This is when we started to see empty office space becoming luxury student accommodation with all “mod con”.
Some cities like Exeter have spread this type of investment throughout the town as the campus seems to have reached full capacity. So, why so many flats and mainly with the emphasis on “luxury”. Can students actually afford such places? Having looked around the city, the average price to pay for the year is around £10,000 and that's without the essentials (food, clothes and other expenses such as the inevitable night out).
Thankfully, parents are here to help and support their children; knowing that the University fee is around £9,000 per year, it is a few expensive years to get (potentially) a well paid job after graduation. Are students naive about professional careers? Do they think that entrepreneurs are waiting for them with open doors? This is possible in a dream life. Even with the best diplomas and high marks, it is a battle field to get that executive position with high salary. It can also happen that students' flats are bought by private investors then rented. A kind of property ladder strategy.
Some residents are worried that the housing market will prioritize students and a struggle to find the adequate place for people living and working in and around the city could create a kind of tension. It is definitely and already difficult to find something decent (price, size, location and overall state). Has Exeter University gone too far? So many offices refurbished into housing for students coming from wealthy families and consequently bringing a guaranteed income, is certainly seen as safety net.
Luxury students accommodations Exeter[/caption] What do retailers & Deven County Council think about this? In other words, is this healthy for the town's economy? It certainly is positive for restaurants, pubs, Princesshay shopping centre and other High Street stores such as John Lewis or Urban Outfitters who have invested a lot of money to have prime locations and spacious shop windows.
Will we then see a town made for students such as some seaside towns almost purposely built for tourists?