A BOOM in student housing and the rise of co-living will change the face of towns and cities along the south coast over the next 10 years, says property consultancy JLL.

The student housing market is booming and JLL predicts that it will account for £1 in every £10 invested in UK commercial property 2017.

JLL says the trend is being replicated in Southampton as a result of the University of Southampton’s ambitious growth plans.

The firm outlined its predictions at its annual Metropole event at the President’s Suite, St Marys Stadium, Britannia Road, which looked at what’s in store for the region’s property market and reviews how it has performed over the last 12 months.

Emma Eaglestone, JLL’s head of office in Southampton, said: “The decision by central government to lift the restrictions on student numbers within the university sector, coupled with the huge increase in revenue from student fees and increasing numbers of foreign students has fuelled a major investment across the sector in capital projects. We have witnessed this in all of the five universities across the south, two in Southampton, Bournemouth, Portsmouth and Chichester.”

Southampton is also expected to see a big rise in the number of private rented sector (PRS) and co-living housing schemes - where investors buy up blocks of property for the purposes of buy-to-let, benefitting from both rises in value and rent.

Co-living spaces are designed as a stepping stone for people who may have left university but don’t want to live on their own. Their collaborative living spaces appeal to small groups who enjoy the vibrancy of communal living.

The sector has grown substantially in major cities such as London and Bristol but is now spreading to the smaller regional cities, including Southampton, which already has one PRS scheme at Bow Square, the former fruit and vegetable market and several others in the pipeline.

JLL also predicts a big change in how buildings along the South Coast will be constructed over the next 10 years, with new homes being pre-fabricated like cars, in a process known as ‘modular building’.

Off-site construction of modular housing is the modern-day equivalent of the prefabs of the 1960s which could alleviate pressure on the housing market.

The region’s workplaces are also set to change as businesses become more focused on providing an environment that puts employee wellbeing at its heart. JLL has carried out some research which shows that helping people feel good at work is more than a ‘box-ticking’ exercise.

The lack of supply is replicated in the region’s industrial market with 0.5 million sq ft less space transacted so far this year than in 2016.

David McGougan, director at JLL Southampton, said: “Occupiers don’t have the choice they need when considering their property options.

“In particular, there is a dearth of smaller units (under 50,000 sq ft) which is the bedrock of much of the region’s industrial activity so it’s crucial that more sites are unlocked for development.

“There are a number of speculative industrial schemes in the pipeline which will increase stock by 13 per cent by the end of 2018, but more is needed.

“We are seeing particularly high demand from the online retail sector, manufacturing and logistics.”