Case Studies Uncategorized

CBRE inform student accommodation recommendations using Jisc’s tailored datasets

As a Director within CBRE’s Valuation & Advisory department specialising in the student accommodation sector, I lead a team delivering analytical insight for our teams and clients. We advise on the ongoing requirement for student accommodation across the UK and provide the intelligence needed to understand demand. We have been using bespoke higher education data since 2004 through the Jisc data analytics tailored datasets team and use it to inform those decisions and provide the best possible recommendations.  


Over the years, the student accommodation market has gone from an alternative to mainstream property investment opportunity. To provide the highest quality commentary on the student accommodation sector for our clients, it is vital that we understand the macro and micro-dynamics of the market – from rental information and local student population sizes – to understanding successful UCAS applications and the term-time accommodation requirements in any given area. To get this full picture, it is essential that we use robust, reliable data sources to inform our analyses. It’s our job to know the supply and demand for student accommodation across the UK, so we need evidence that informs us to even a town level so that we capture the nuances of that area properly.

“It’s essential that we understand the student market comprehensively which the data provided through Jisc tailored datasets helps us to do. This in turn helps us to provide the best service for our clients.”


Every year, we use Jisc’s tailored datasets service to get the bespoke HESA data we need to inform our student and accommodation market intelligence. The data file we receive comprises of more than 25 million rows and contains invaluable information on student characteristics, where they study, as well as their accommodation status whilst at university.

Jisc’s analysts help us to select the exact data we need so we know it’s going to fit our requirements. An example of this is that we can look at the trends of international students who have different accommodation needs to domestic students and are impacted by evolving visa requirements. A further example is that we can exclude those living at home from our analyses and build an accommodation demand pipeline by seeing how many students are entering university in an area each year.

We use this data alongside our own inventory of student accommodation data to give us the big picture. We blend the data sources in Tableau so that we can visualise everything at a local level to inform our client recommendations.

“Local councils typically require development applications to prove the need for student accommodation. It is therefore fundamental we prove this rationale through reliable and trusted higher education data such as that provided by Jisc’s tailored datasets.”


Through the data received, we have built dashboards detailing student accommodation trends and demand for every town in the UK as shown in the examples below.

The distance travelled data from place of accommodation to place of study contributes to proof that a catchment area exists and informs our proposals on developments of new accommodation.

Image showing a CBRE distance travelled dashboard using data from the Jisc tailored datasets service.
A CBRE distance travelled dashboard using data from the Jisc tailored datasets service.

Our CBRE teams are involved in all aspects of student accommodation and clients subscribe to these in-built dashboards finding them very useful for understanding demand and supply dynamics and supporting decision making processes. An example of this is that they have been used to inform commentary supporting client planning applications for student accommodation developments.

Image showing a CBRE student accommodation trends dashboard using data from the Jisc tailored datasets service.
A CBRE student accommodation trends dashboard using data from the Jisc tailored datasets service.

The outputs also help us to identify potential risk areas through historical student trend analysis when it comes to topics such as Brexit. The data informs us about the proportion of EU students studying in the UK and we can also see from it that EU students are distributed unevenly across the UK’s study destinations. Such evidence allows us to advise on areas to monitor and potentially mitigate.

“The data provided is a single source of truth meaning we can compare town by town consistently and effectively.”

Next steps

We are already supporting economic and local resilience through the analysis of higher education data to understand local student populations and accommodation demand. Going forward, we are planning to expand our analyses to include more student diversity data to gain greater understanding of widening access to student accommodation with respect to affordability. The HESA data provided through Jisc tailored datasets will be vital in informing that work.

About the customer:   
CBRE Group, Inc. is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, with 2020 revenues of $23.8 billion and more than 100,000 employees (excluding affiliate offices).

CBRE’s teams across the UK are perfectly positioned to deliver expert advice on each property sector, combining CBRE’s global network with regional expertise to deliver the best commercial outcomes for our clients. Our range of experience, capabilities and suite of services enables decision-makers from all business sectors to make the best choices. Our connections with local government and local business leaders grants us market leading depth of insight.

Author: Kirsten Dyer, Director, Student Accommodation – Valuation & Advisory, CBRE
T +44 (0) 20 7182 0000

Contact Jisc data analytics to discuss your higher education tailored dataset needs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *