Economic uncertainty in China could spill over to cause problems for the student letting sector in the UK, an agent is warning.
Ajay Jagota of sales and lettings firm KIS believes the recent fallback in Chinese economic growth - down last year to its lowest growth rate since 1991, causing a 23 per cent slump in the value of the Chinese stock market - may have implications for the scale of investment and number of students in the UK.
In his area of north east England, Jagota says one in 17 homes in Newcastle city centre are now occupied by students with 11,000 new students homes created since 2008.
“There are now tens of thousands of student bedrooms in our city centres which are relying on overseas students for their financial sustainability and that sustainability could come under huge pressure if there is economic turmoil in the countries those students are coming from” he says.
“If the Year of the Monkey is one where the Chinese economy starts to suffer, sending offspring overseas for education is likely to be one of the areas families are going to economise on first. That could mean huge numbers of empty bedrooms and it’s easy to envisage empty buildings following that.
“It might even sound glib, but even the end of China’s one child policy could have an impact, with families having less money to spend on individual children” he warns.