Students shun London over property prices

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A Yorkshire-based property group is expecting a strong intake of its new luxury student accommodation development to come from international students, as many of them shun London due to high prices.

Managing director Naveen Ahmed told The Yorkshire Post: “What you find is that international students aren’t all going to London.

“The housing market is so expensive in London. If you’re a student, the starting price is £300 a week to stay there. Outside of London you’ve got top universities. Most Russell Group universities are outside of London.”

He said he expected a large number of international students to choose Yorkshire’s universities.

His son, Shaan Ahmed, who is group business development manager at the company, added: “That’s largely due to the prestige of these universities in the region. Our local universities are regarded highly across the world.”

Mr Ahmed, whose father Nazir Ahmed founded the group in 1977, after moving from Malawi, East Africa in 1976, said that the development was also about attracting national students, but they expect a larger intake of international students.

He added that the Parklane Group has been in the student accommodation market for the past 30 years, which has enabled them to see the market evolve.

“We saw an opportunity for high end student accommodation, there’s a demand from international students – who are used to staying in luxury hotels around the world, as well as British students,” said Mr Ahmed.

But the Parklane Group is also looking beyond Yorkshire.

Mr Ahmed said: “We are looking to expand IconInc nationally, we’re in talks for sites in Liverpool and other cities to open IconInc. Wherever Russell Group universities are we plan to be there.”

There is competition for luxury student accommodation within the city and beyond, Mr Ahmed concedes. But he believes that there is no strong brand and hopes to build one in the form of IconInc.

The IconInc development is worth an estimated £15m and will be located in Leeds city centre. The apartments include en-suite bathrooms, flat screen TVs, and wi-fi.

There will also be an on-site gym with personal trainers available, a cinema room and complimentary daily breakfast. There are plans for student work hubs as well to help tenants study.

Mr Ahmed doesn’t think higher tuition fees will affect the intake at IconInc. He said: “IconInc will cater for the more affluent student or more discerning student who is looking for accommodation.”

The group expects the development to be fully let by the end of summer, when a lot of international students will have gained their places at university.

They said they had already seen a surge in bookings, despite only launching two weeks ago, from a mix of national and international students.

Nazir Ahmed is Parklane Group’s chairman and was joined by his sons Naveen, Nadeem and Sameer at the family run business in 1994.

Immigrant success story

The parkLane Group was established in 1977, after Nazir Ahmed moved from Malawi in East Africa in 1976.

He bought his first property with his savings and from there Parklane Group was formed.

The family-run business has several property developments across the region. In 2011 it acquired the Leeds Golf Centre.

Under its Roomzzz Aparthotel brand it has three developments in Leeds offering over 150 apartments and one each in Manchester and Newcastle respectively. It also has Roomzzz developments planned in London, Chester and Nottingham.